18 August 2021
Perhaps, too similar?
Worker placement dice game Rajas of the Ganges jumps on the latest trend of having a roll-and-write ‘sibling’ with its new instalment called The Dice Charmers. It is, quite literally, the original game re-imagined on a paper pad with a new set of action dice. Most of its elements – river, building provinces, fame and victory tracks (both tracks need to overlap to trigger end of game) – remain the same.
One of the key changes is that dice no longer serve as resources but represent actions that players can mark on their pads. The roll-and-write version does not sacrifice the gameplay depth and intricacy of the original, even if that makes every inch of the pad overcrowded with symbols and tracks to mark up. The game may start slow, with players earning just a couple of point on either fame or money track each round, but very quickly it picks up speed. Suddenly, every round leads to spectacular combos where a choice of one action cascades to become three, four, or even more, potentially earning players points with every move.
We do have to talk about the elephant in the room though. That is the cardboard elephant that comes with the game, whose entire purpose is to hold one dice. It is a bizarre choice of component because it isn’t needed (you can just set the extra dice aside), it constantly falls over and, to add the cherry on top, in its assembled form it doesn’t fit into the box. Presumably, one of the reasons behind the roll-and-write version of Rajas of the Ganges, a large and component heavy game, was to make it portable, which also contradicts the need for this extravagant elephant.
That aside, Rajas of the Ganges: The Dice Charmers is an excellent roll-and-write version of the original. Although, perhaps, too similar.
PLAY IT? MAYBE
Designer: Inka Brand, Markus Brand
Time: 30-45 minutes
This article originally appeared in issue 58 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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