Roll Through the Ages

I’m trying very hard to not be a part of the cult of the new as far as games are concerned, especially considering the amount of unplayed games that I own. However, I just ordered a copy of Roll Through the Ages, a game I had the opportunity to play this weekend.

Roll Through the Ages is a dice game, so if you are opposed to such games, stop reading now. I enjoy dice games occasionally, but they’re not my favorites. This particular game has quite a bit to offer though, and I think it will see a great deal of play at home with my family as well as with my local gaming group.

The game was designed by Matt Leacock, who some may recognize as the designer of Pandemic. One of the first things you notice about Roll Through the Ages is that the publisher, Gryphon Games, used a huge amount of wood. I swear the box might as well be solid wood. The dice are wood. The scoreboards are wood with holes for wooden pegs. The scorepad is a huge tablet of paper… uh… well, that’s wood too if you really think about it.

The goal of the game is to be the first to build up your civilization by developing your infrastructure with new technologies while you create monuments to your glory. You do this by rolling your dice, not by building towers with them. Look at my great wall of dice! 🙂 Your possibilities for each die are:

  1. people
  2. food
  3. people or food
  4. money
  5. goods
  6. skulls and goods

Skulls aren’t good, they just come with a couple of goods so you don’t feel so bad. You can reroll any die or group of dice up to two times, but you may not reroll skulls.

The number of dice rolled is determined by the number of cities you control. You build more cities by accumulating people, then you roll more dice. However, the more cities you control, the more you have to feed the people in the cities, so you have to keep rolling for food as well, or your people starve! Starving your people is bad. Money allows you to buy developments which protect you from the effects of skulls or give you bonuses on rolls. Accumulating goods allow you to sell them for more money. Skulls are generally bad, and will create problems for your civilization, like plagues, invasions, and reality television. Just kidding. Skulls may also affect your opponents civilizations.

A game typically takes about half an hour, and you get enough chunks of wood to play with up to four players. There are also rules for solo play, so that you can have something to do while your friends and family watch reality television. Do not raise your arms in solo victory after building the great wall or you may will look like a doofus.

Roll Through the Ages is available from Funagain Games, your local game store (if you are lucky enough to have a good one), and other reputable online retailers. It may seem a little pricey, but good grief, the thing weighs a ton. Happy gaming!

4 thoughts on “Roll Through the Ages”

  1. Nice review – I KNOW that “doofus” line was put in there just for me, right?!

    Anyhoo, still giggling about “that’s wood too, if you really think about it.”

  2. @Mark: Yes, you did inspire the “doofus” line, but not because you are one. You just play one on youtube.

    Also, thank you for hosting such a fabulous gaming weekend. It was entirely awesome with extra helpings of awesome gravy! (nod to Scott Nicholson’s 18xx intro) It was my first gaming event and led me to the realization that yes, I could play games all day for days and days and never get tired of it. You totally rock, Mark!

  3. I got my copy yesterday and played it again last night. Still loving it, although I now realize that the pegs are plastic, so there’s a little less wood than I thought.

  4. The pegs are wood. I was right the first time. I’ve also had the opportunity to play the solo game, and it’s pretty fun. You play for ten turns and you CAN reroll the skull dice if you wish. It’s much more about min/maxing your developments than the regular game.

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