Dice of Crowns is a push your luck dice game (duh) up on Kickstarter right now. Designed by Brander Roullett and produced by Thing 12 Games, it has-
Jess: Crowns, martians, zombies, we own a million of these games! And I love them because they are light and portable and quick, but how much fun is it to sit around and wait for you to finish rolling your dice?
…*ahem* Dice of Crowns is, well, it’s precisely what it may look like. In turns, everyone throws the dice, hoping to get the right combination of symbols before they bust, hoping to be the first player to acquire 3 claim tokens and thereby seize the crown from their hungry rivals. Each die has 4 types of symbols, and rolling them in combination has different effects:
- Crown: If you can collect 3 crowns on your turn, you get a Claim token and one step closer to victory. If you can amass a staggering 7 crowns, you get two claim tokens at once.
- Fate: 5 Fate symbols indicate the fickle tides are shifting in your favor, snagging you a claim token. If you manage to roll 7 skulls, this token is actually stolen from a rival!
- Betrayal: The bloody dagger locks dice and, should you amass 3, you bust and your turn is over. However, manage to somehow roll 7 and EVERY player starts their next turn with one dagger symbol showing.
- Scroll of Intrigue: Here’s where things get interesting…
Andrew: Because when you roll, any dice that come up as Scrolls are immediately passed to other players. Who gets those dice is up to the rolling player, but once she hands over the dice, those players get to roll them immediately and, depending on what face is shown, different effects are triggered.
- Crown: They keep that die in front of them for their next turn, making them one crown closer to getting a claim token, and depriving other players of a die on their turns.
- Fate: That die is returned, skull-side-up, to the active player, as though that Fate symbol had been rolled by them.
- Scroll: The die is given back to the active player to be re-rolled.
- Betrayal: The player can give that Dagger to ANY PLAYER THEY WANT. That dagger will now count toward that player’s next turn (or current turn, if it is given back to the active player), making it more likely they will bust.
Andrew: Right! Because obviously everyone is in it for themselves, so ideally you’d never give them anything. But when it comes time to hand those dice out, you need to be sure that the person you are giving them to isn’t going to turn around and stab you with them. And that means bargains, banter, and perhaps some begging.
One of the things I really enjoy about Dice of Crowns is how, given the quick format of the game, all these little micro-betrayals come and go so fast, it’s hard to get annoyed about any one of them. It lets everyone play with their fangs out, backstabbing all over the place, but always moving the game forward.
Our prototype dice are 3d printed and they are perfectly serviceable, but the Kickstarter campaign, which has about a week left, is so over-funded that backers can look forward to engraved 16mm dice, which I am seriously excited about (my mild obsession over nice custom dice is well-documented).
Dice of Crowns is a very light filler of a game, and it embraces that wholeheartedly in its design. The game comes in a metal tin that easily fits in a pocket or bag, and its total playtime is around 10 minutes (maybe a little more with the advanced variant that makes use of Fate tokens). It’s a game that knows precisely what it is, and it delivers just enough clever twists on the well-loved push your luck mechanisms to stand on its own.
You can check out the Dice of Crowns Kickstarter now, as it is *well* past funded. If a tin full of stabby dice sounds like your kinda fun, then definitely head on over and back it!
(Thanks to Thing 12 Games for providing us with a prototype for preview. Their generosity didn’t influence our opinions)