We have our first game review of the year for you today, and we are really happy to be working with the Asmodee UK Blogger Board Game Club for another three months. Asmodee UK is an established distributor of toys and games, and the Board Game Club works with bloggers by providing a free game for each month in return for an honest review. We received our game at the end of January, and the first one we are reviewing is Dice Academy, from Blue Orange.
Dice Academy is a really fun game that is super simple to learn, and to set up and play. It comes in a little box, with ten dice in five different colours, and a set of rules.
Five of the dice – one in each colour – have letters on each side, and the other five have symbols. The letter dice have some repetitions of letters, but the symbol dice all have completely different symbols so there are 30 different symbols in total (5 dice x 6 symbols). But the set of rules contain an overview of all the symbols for you to refer to, so you don’t need to learn all their meanings off by heart.
The aim of the game is to be the player with the most points. How many points you play for, is up to you. The rules suggest 10 points for a fast game, 20 points for a small challenge, and 30 points for a competitive game. Or you can just play for as long as you like (a.k.a. as long a your children’s attention span lasts) and then add up who has the most points. The fact you can determine the length of the game to suit you is one of the things I love about it.
So, how do you play and how do you score points? First of all, you roll the five symbol dice. Everyone then looks at the symbols that have come up together, to make sure all know and agree on what they represent. If necessary, you can consult the overview in the set of rules for this.
Once all the symbols have been clearly identified, you roll the five letter dice – then it’s fastest fingers first to pair up the symbol with the letters, finding words to fit the symbols that start with that letter. In the example below, Oskar has paired ‘male first name’ with the letter ‘R’ and declares ‘Ralf’ as the answer. Her gets to keep the dice and scores one point for his answer. There is one catch though, so that it doesn’t get too easy – the matched dice have to be different colours, so Oskar would not have been able to match the ‘T’ with a male first name, as the T is also yellow.
If a player makes a mistake – e.g. if the answer doesn’t match the theme, the answer does not start with the matched letter, or the player matches two dice of the same colour – then both dice are put back in the game and the player who made the mistake has to sit out the rest of that round. The round continue until all dice have been matched or until nobody can come up with another pair. You then note down the scores for that round, and throw the dice again to start a new round. The game continues until a player reaches or exceeds the agreed number of points (or until you want to stop playing, as suggested above). If there is a draw after adding up the final scores, you can have a final round between the players who are tied to determine the overall winner.
There are several things I love about this game. Firstly, that it is so easy to learn, and doesn’t involve any complex set ups. Just roll the dice and go! Secondly, that it is so small, so can be easily taken on holidays – and if you have a little pouch or draw string bag you could put the dice in to, they will take up even less space than in the box. Thirdly, I like that it’s not jut fun, but also educational because it challenges both my boys’ literacy and spelling, as well as their general knowledge.
The game is recommended for 2 to 6 players, aged 8+. Oskar is 9, so the perfect age. Mr Fox is only 5 but he still wanted to join in. His is in P1 and only just learning to read and write, but he held his own quite well. For example, when ‘Film’ came up he quickly grabbed the ‘H’ and shouted “Home Alone!” (which we had just watched the week before), and he very confidently paired ‘Country’ with ‘S’ for Spain, having played a character from Spain the the recent school nativity. I would say though, that since scoring points relies a lot of speed, the game works best with players who are evenly matched, so my husband and I did hold back a little to give the boys a chance. Some of the rounds though had themes and letters that had us all scratching our heads after the initial rush of the first few matches, and we even had rounds where none of us – including the grown ups – could think of a match for the last two dice.
All in all, Dice Academy is a game we all enjoyed and I would not hesitate to recommend. We will definitely be popping those dice in our suitcase for our next holiday! Dice Academy is available from Amazon.
If you enjoyed this review, check out all the other games we have tested and loved!
Disclosure: We are members of Asmodee UK Blogger Board Game Club and received a free sample game for the purposes of writing an honest review. However, all thoughts and opinions remain our own. This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. If you shop via this link I will receive a small percentage of the revenue, without any extra cost to you, which helps to keep this blog running. Thank you.