Designer: Garrett Herdter
Publisher: Arcane Wonders
Artist: Damien Mammoliti
Playtime: 30-45 Minutes
It’s time to put on your interior design hat, make smart bids, and create the most creative home at the table. Dice Manor offers players a chance to showcase their savvy. architectural prowess and advertising skills, all while vying for prestige. Who will design the ultimate dream house?
A Brief How To Play
In Dice Manor, the large project board is placed at the center of the play area with the round marker set to round 1. The inspiration tokens and prestige tokens are placed near the board, and the room tiles are built into decks, going into their 6 respective stacks and locations. The top tile is flipped from each stack. Each player gets nine dice but will put two of them on the advertising track of the project board. Those dice will need to be unlocked via advertising. Every player places their colored cube on the prestige track, gets two inspiration tokens, and then the game begins.
Dice Manor unfolds over four rounds, with each round comprising four phases: Bid, Collect, Build, and Reset. During the Bid phase, players take turns rolling and placing dice to compete for room Blueprints, the Advertising space, while also collecting inspiration tokens, and Prestige earned from tours of their Manor. In the Collect phase, rewards are distributed based on bids. In the Build phase, players simultaneously add room tiles to their Manors, adhering to building restrictions. The Reset phase advances the Round marker, passes the First Player marker, and refreshes Blueprint spaces.
The rooms each come with a number and room type, and collecting sets of rooms can yield extra points while matching numbers makes tours more productive. The advertising space offers points and the opportunity to unlock more dice, but this only rewards two players in a significant way, so it’s competitive. Giving tours involves placing dice that are all of the same kind, making the construction and placement of the rooms important.
Pacing & Interactivity
Dice Manor maintains a comfortable and brisk pace, ensuring that the game neither drags on nor rushes its players. The short turns that consist of players rolling their dice just once and determining where they want to place them ensure that there isn’t any downtime. The lack of long waits between turns ensures that every player can easily stay engaged with the game, especially since the bids of a player affect everyone else. It’s a great choice for those looking for an appetizer game before diving into more complex tabletop adventures. The simultaneous final phase adds an enjoyable twist to the pacing, adding an element of unpredictability to the game.
Dice Manor doesn’t offer a highly interactive experience, but for some that will be a positive. While there’s some room for cutthroat play, such as overbidding on properties to outmaneuver opponents, it remains a relatively solitary endeavor. Players will constantly be reacting to each other, but there aren’t too many opportunities to stick it to other players without potentially setting yourself back.
Dice Manor boasts decent replayability due to the different rooms that come into play each time and the inherent randomness of the dice rolls. It falls in line with what you’d typically expect from a roll-and-write game, but players aren’t rolling for long-term success in the same way as something Yahtzee. Sure, players want a coherent theme in their home for walkthroughs, but poorly bidding during one round doesn’t prevent players from scoring well during others like it would in Yahtzee. It’s a little closer to our recently reviewed Lucky Dog. While the core mechanics remain the same from game to game, the variability in room combinations keeps the game fresh across multiple playthroughs.
The game does change a decent amount based on player counts. One would think that this wouldn’t be enjoyable for just two, but tweaked rules made especially for two actually keep the experience engaging for two players. At 4 players, every bid is critical, and while players get consolation prizes for losing out on an auction, it can still be devastating to invest heavily into something only to lose the auction by one die.
For those who hate games that rely on tons of luck like dice games typically do, there are inspiration tokens, which can be acquired by losing bids at the end of each round. These tokens allow the player to manipulate their dice, either by adding or subtracting the value by one or just rerolling. This is a welcome mechanic that gives the player a little more control, injecting just a little more depth into the game.
Theme & Components
The components of Dice Manor are serviceable but not particularly remarkable. The dice themselves are functional but lack any standout features. However, the three layers of cardboard provide sturdiness to the components, enhancing the overall quality of the game. The notches in the dice track are a thoughtful addition that many players will appreciate when keeping everything in place. The presentation of the art is visually pleasing, exuding personality with its distinct variations for different rooms. The blueprint-like appearance of the central components adds to the game’s aesthetic charm. Dice Manor maintains a clean and uncluttered look, favoring functionality over excess embellishments.
Dice Manor Is Great For Fans Of
While it isn’t a pure roll and write, fans of the mechanism will find plenty to enjoy while playing Dice Manor. The bidding mechanism gives Dice Manor something different that isn’t common, giving it a spot on the shelf for those who have many roll and writes in their collection.
Dice Manor creatively combines auction, roll and write, and tile placement mechanisms to make a fun and engaging little board game.
Pacing and Interaction
Theme and Components