Rolling Japan (2014) review
Rolling Japan is a small Roll-and-Write game published by Ozaku Brand and Japan Brand. This little game published in 2014 is playable from 1 to ... as many players as you want.
From the designer Hisashi Hayashi (Yokohama, Isabiri), this game presents itself as a "multiplayer solitaire" dice game.
What’s in the box? First, you’ll find the most important thing : a block pad of paper. These sheets represent a map of Japan divided into six colorized areas, themselves divided into forty-seven "Prefectures". You’ll also find the on there a round tracker, three squares for changing color, a box for reminder of the number of X you have placed and a space with the possibility of registering your name, for posterity. Then there is a small purse (maybe too small) with 7 wooden dice inside.
Finally, note the presence, rare in this type of games, several pencils. Yes! Pencils in the box!!! This is a very minimalist game.
Up till there, all seems like a classical style of game (apart from the presence of pencils). At the rule level, the game is very simple and can be explained in less than 5 minutes. In turn order, players will draw two dice from the bag. Each die has a specific color that corresponds to an area of the map of Japan. Six coloured areas so seven coloured dice ... oh wait ... Yes, there is an intruder. The seventh dice, purple in color, is a kind of joker. Players will announces aloud the result and the color of the dice. Everyone will have to insert these numbers on their map by respecting three important things:
This last obligation offers a small strategic dose, that requires quite bit of thinking. It forces you to make choices or take risks on the future. If you can not insert a number in the designated quarter, you’ll have to place a cross in one of the corresponding coloured boxes. You just can’t put anything in it. On the other hand, a space with a cross is like a void, giving the possibility of putting another number beside it.
To help you in your mission, you have the possibility to change the color (and not the number) of a die three times. Once done, you’ll check one of the boxes to indicate that you have used this ability (and they can go quickly!). You also have the purple dice. It serves as a wild color. You can enter the number in the neighborhood of your choice.
The end of the game comes at the end of the 8th round. A round ends when six dice have been drawn. These are then placed back in the bag and you start the next round. At the end of the 8th, everyone fills the gaps still present on their map with crosses. You’ll calculate the number of crosses present in all our Prefectures and … zap! you have your end score. The player with the least amount of cross wins.
Rolling Japan is a simple but not simplistic dice game. Quick to learn and fast to play. The material is not amazing, but very functional. The graphics of Ryo Nyamo are very austere, offering clear visibility. It will be noted with great pleasure the presence of pencils directly in the box. Chance is inevitably present and forces you to make sometimes difficult choices. But it can also offer you a chaotic path. The interaction between the players is zero. Everyone really plays in their corner, waiting for the results of the dice. It may not be the most original roll-and-write, but it stands out from the other games.
Pretty clever, this little game is easily transportable and wherever you go good times will be had with friends or family. To diversify the pleasure, several variants of maps are available on the internet for download.
Technical Score 6.5 / 10
Nothing extraordinary, everything is functional. However, the pencils are included! Bonus
My BGG Score 6/10
(Ok game, some fun or challenge at least, will play sporadically if in the right mood.)
Easy to play, easy to transport anywhere, for all types of players, smart and fast.
Combined Score 6.25 / 10
And now it's over to you ...