The sword. The bow. Arcane magic. These are the mighty weapons which heroes reach for when the land is blighted with darkness. However, no matter how great the hero, no matter how dangerous the weapon, time and again we have seen that they are ruled over by artifacts of titanic power, fueled by the fickle, relentless tide of fate itself!
Epic Roll from Summon Entertainment Corp is a push-your-luck dice game for 2-3 players. The slightly wonky player count comes from the fact that the game features 3 unique heroes, each trying to be the first to vanquish the dreaded Lich and save the kingdom!…or something. The theme is entirely pasted on, though we did think the artwork of the small board was quite good.
Each turn, a player will roll the monster die to see what kind of threat they will face. The only difference whatsoever between these foes is how many HP they start with. Then that player rolls their character die and the monster’s attack die, resolving the effects as they come up. Hits deplete HP from either the player or monster, shields negate hits, and blanks, well, do nothing.
Each hero die is slightly different, with the Wizard being the glass cannon, the Elf being a good balance of attack and defense, and the Warrior hitting hard but also protecting himself.
The goal of each turn is to whittle down the monster while taking as little damage as possible. Once victorious, the player will face the choice of either moving forward to face another monster or stopping to end their turn and rest. Resting resets your hero’s HP to maximum, whereas if you choose to move forward, you don’t regenerate any health automatically. Lose all your health and it’s back to the beginning with you!
After a hero’s 3rd successful battle, they will reach the ‘level up’ flag on the center of the map. This spot serves double duty, acting as a checkpoint (you come back here if you die in subsequent battles, rather than the beginning), as well as signalling that things have ‘gotten real’ – you will thereafter roll a meaner monster die, featuring more powerful foes to face. However, you will also gain access to your character’s special power, adding the star die to each future roll.
Jess: The Wizard uses the star die as a shield (finally), while the Elf treats stars as extra hits. The Warrior gets my favorite ability – stars heal him! It’s basically the only way to gain HP mid-battle!
But not the only way. Each time they defeat a foe, players will get a Treasure Card. These one-time-use cards are either a Sword (counts as a hit), Shield (counters a hit), a Heal (regains 1 HP, or a Counter (jerkishly stops another player’s treasure card from taking effect).
Eventually, the heroes will roll their way to the Lich, where they will face an enemy with more HP and its own self-healing ability (it’s a real jerk). Whosoever kills the Lich first is the winner!
Andrew: So, I think a lot of people are going to be split on Epic Roll. I liked it fine, but that’s probably because I was totally comfortable with what it was and what it wasn’t. This is a shallow game. There are extremely limited decisions to be made (do I roll or retreat? Do I keep going or stop?), and most of the time the best choice is obvious.
Epic Roll…sorta…isn’t. It’s actually a modest game in a small box, one which is portable and quick and good for a light bit of fun. It would have been great if there had been more to each monster than simply ‘how many times do I hit it to kill it’; we rarely crave increased complexity in our games, but we feel like this one could have benefited from just a bit more.
For its price ($25 ordered directly from Summon Entertainment), Epic Roll has perfectly adequate components – the dice are etched (not stickered, thank the powers) and the small game board is quite nice. However, you aren’t getting as much gameplay out of this small box as you might another press-your-luck game. There is still fun to be had here, though.
If anything, we are left feeling that Epic Roll gets plenty right, but didn’t go far enough. If you’re looking for a bit of uncomplicated fun, it can certainly fit the bill. However, we were left feeling Summon Entertainment could have gotten so much more out of what is already here – hopefully a sign of good things to come from them in the future.
Overall, we recommend Epic Roll as an extremely light filler – for any more than that, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
(Thanks to Summon Entertainment for providing us with our copy of Epic Roll for review. Their generosity didn’t influence our opinions)