OctoDice (Alderac Entertainment Group, 2016)

Date played: October 20, 2019

Gist of the game: You’re a scientist on an underwater research station. Your data-gathering bots have stopped working, and you need to reactivate the bots while continuing your other work. The game is played over 6 rounds, with one turn/round. You take two actions per turn. You roll 6 dice, set aside 2, roll the remaining 4, set aside 2, and then roll the final two dice.  Using combinations of “research” dice (bot, submarine, lab) and “condition” dice (color, number), you take various actions. You also need to accumulate at least two octopods per turn lest you face a 2-point penalty. Each turn, your opponent also gets to take an action using the available dice. There are intermediate scoring rounds after every two turns, with a final scoring round after the sixth turn, including bonuses for the most crystals and fully built labs.  The player with the most points wins.

Color commentary: While a considerable amount of strategy probably lies in the way you use labs, M was the only one who used them, and only in one of the games we played. There’s a lot to keep track of, and balancing setting aside guaranteed actions (one role and one condition) per roll versus the most auspicious-seeming dice of any variety is challenging. There are also bonuses in case you roll a glut of octopods, which is kind of fun, since aside from preventing a penalty, they don’t really earn you any affirmative points. I’ve played this game once with my mom and now once with M. I always set aside discrete actions when I roll, and then decide which two options out of the three available seems best. It’s a fairly quick game, especially once you get the hang of how the different combinations of dice work out, which can take a few turns. Having your opponent be able to take an action during your turn is also an interesting dynamic, as they may have different priorities than you (I mean, obviously they want the most points, too, but may have a different strategy for getting there), which can have longer-term implications as the game goes on.

M’s thoughts on strategy: It’s mid November. I know why we didn’t post this on October 20, because we couldn’t upload photos to Word Press, but honestly. I remember we played. What more do you want from me?

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