Skip to main content

Board Game Review: Rolling Realms

At every company, there’s some guy trying desperately to figure out a way to harness a current wave of consumer demand and somehow direct it right onto the doorstep of the company. “Even better…”, that guy explains to rest of management, “If we can deliver something on *that* demand that our customers will gobble up and that will drive their demand up for our *other* established products, we’ve gone above and beyond! A cross-promotional windfall!”  Well, it looks like someone at Stonemaier put that guy in charge of roll and write game development and Rolling Realms was the result. It’s meta game of sorts that mostly serves as an advertisement for the rest of the Stonemaier product line, as each card in this roll and write game is named after a different Stonemaier game title. 

 

On the plus side, Rolling Realms is a pandemic friendly, easy to learn, and quick to play roll and write that plays as easily over zoom with 20 people as it plays in person with a few people around a table. Every card presents a different way to earn victory points as it’s filled in, and in a standard game, 9 cards from the supply of 11 varieties are chosen and used (3 cards per round x 3 rounds).

Environment sparing bonus: the cards are all laminated and dry erase markers are provided, so you can play unlimited games without killing endless trees. The Tapestry card gives me a headache with its Tetris like spatial relations exercise, but otherwise I enjoyed all the cards and their creative use of point collection.

   Despite its positives, Rolling Realms does not make the cut for my recommendations list. I played many, many games of Rolling Realms to give it a fair shake, and here’s the thing – it’s a perfectly adequate roll and write game. But in this modern era of board gaming, there are a ton of roll and write games on the market or in development and adequate just doesn’t cut it. Add on the creepiness factor of the cross-promotional marketing gimmick (BTW, can anyone tell me why the card for Red Rising is named “The Society” instead of RR?) and yeah…just no. Keep the game if someone gives it to you I suppose (I’m probably keeping mine), but don’t go out and spend your own money on Rolling Realms when there are so many other better roll and write games out there you could buy instead. I’m talking Cartographers. I’m talking Hex Roller. I’m talking Qwixx and Quinto. I’m talking Railroad Ink. I’m talking Noch Mal. And for the ultimate challenge, I’m talking Fleet or Hadrian’s Wall.    

As a final note, I want to let you know that I’m very sad I finally met a Stonemaier game that didn’t bring me joy. I mean, it was inevitable that it would happen someday, but it’s still sad. I've been reviewing games from Stonemaier for a few years now. I got drawn in by Scythe initially (amazing area control game) and then, with each new game the company released, I crossed my fingers and hoped that it would be awesome. I really respect Jamey Stegmaier as a designer and a business owner and I'm rooting for his continued success. And so far, it's all worked out, because I've fallen in love with each Stonemaier game that's come my way, outside of Rolling Realms. For example, Tapestry and Between Two Castles are amazing, as are their expansions, and I urge you to give them a try. Also, I hope Jamey doesn’t listen to any more bad ideas originating from the guy with the marketing gimmick idea that was behind Rolling Realms, whether he was one of the voices in Jamey’s creative imagination or an actual employee at the company.  

-------------------------------------------------

Publisher: Stonemaier Games
Players: 1 - many
Actual Playing Time (vs the guideline on the box): about 20 minutes per game
Game type: roll & write, dice rolling

Rating:

Rating scale:
OUI: I would play this game again; this game is ok. I probably would not buy this game myself but I would play it with those who own it and if someone gave it to me I would keep it.
OUI OUI: I would play this game again; this game is good. I would buy this game.
OUI OUI OUI: I LOVE THIS GAME. I MUST HAVE THIS GAME.
NON: I would not play this game again. I would return this game or give it away if it was given to me.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Board Game Review: Lost Cities Roll & Write (A Comparison to the Original Lost Cities)

I really love the card game Lost Cities , designed by Reiner Knizia. When my husband Christopher and I were first getting to know each other, we used to meet up at Starbucks sometimes and play games. Lost Cities was one of our frequent picks. It’s a head to head, two player game in which both players are trying to outscore each other by laying down ascending runs of card suits on a small board between the two of them. There’s a theme laid over the mechanism (completing expeditions in the lost world) but it’s basically pasted on and so that is the last we will speak of it. So there we were, newly in love, eyeing each other across the table, smiling and flirting, and doing our best to beat one another at Lost Cities . It was awesome. And now, with the roll & write genre having made an impressive rebound a few years ago (let’s not forget the mechanism has actually been around since the 50s with Yatzee ), Knizia has ported his award winning game Lost Cities   into this format, releasi

Board Game Review: Hues and Cues

Last week we received Hues and Cues from The Op Games. We recently finished playing through Scooby-Doo Escape from the Haunted Mansion (a fantastic game in The Op Games catalogue designed by Jay Cormier, Sen-Foong Lim, and Kami Mandell that you should absolutely pick up to play with your family) and wanted to give another game from the same publisher a go. I picked Hues and Cues because I’ve been pleasantly surprised by other “test whether our minds think the same way” games such as The Mind   and Wavelength. In Hues and Cues , players gather around a large central board comprised of 480 graduating colors of the rainbow surrounded by an x-y axis and scoring table. White and black (which are technically not colors) are conspicuously absent as are shades (mixtures of color + black; e.g., grey) and tints (mixtures of color + white; e.g., cream).  On each player’s turn, they draw a card with four colors and the x-y axis codes of those colors depicted and they select one. They are in the

Board Game Review: Brass Birmingham

Here’s a story of a lovely lady (spoiler: it’s me) and her pride and how it has led to the discovery of the single greatest board game I have ever played. It’s probably also a good primer for other reviewers on increasing your reach. At GenCon this year, I was perusing the wares of the various booths and my eyes caught a glimpse of two beautiful game boxes. Each had crisp metallic lettering with an old world feel and artwork that radiated European class. I made my way to the booth and waited patiently to speak to to the team manning it as there were many buyers lined up to purchase the games. I didn’t know anything about the games (Brass Birmingham and Brass Lancashire), or the publisher – Roxley Game Laboratory – but I knew I wanted to review one or both of the games. Almost every board game love story I star in in can be summed up this way: I am seduced by the artwork or theme and then I stay for the right mechanics. When the lead rep spoke with me, he gently rejected my request. He