29 April 2021
Medici but more
As a roll-and-write game, Medici: The Dice Game feels a little late to the party. A dice-chucking take on Reiner Knizia’s 1995 auction game Medici, it casts players as the heads of rival mercantile houses attempting to amass profits by trading in dyes, spices and other valuable goods.
That, at least, is the theory. In practice, though, it seems a bit thin and thematically adrift. On each round a starting player rolls a handful of dice to determine which goods are up for grabs. They choose up to three to keep for themselves, recording the results on their personal scoring sheet. Everyone else gets to choose one of the dice left behind.
As the action progresses, you and your rivals score for acquiring the most valuable goods. But you’ll also aim to corner the market in different commodities, racking up bonuses for picking up more grain, furs and cloth than your opponents. The key decision becomes whether to chase the dice with the highest value, or gradually build monopolies on particular goods in pursuit of longer-term payoffs.
There’s also a smidgen of antagonism as you occasionally snatch dice that would benefit other players, and the whole contest is simple and fast-flowing. But it often feels like an attempt at mechanical minimalism taken a little too far, and after three rounds you’re likely to be left asking: “Wait, is that all?” If you’re into these kinds of games it’s likely you already have something on your shelf which serves a similar purpose.
PLAY IT? NO
Designer: Reiner Knizia
Publisher: Grail Games
Time: 20 minutes
This review originally appeared in Issue 50 of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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