While the card customization that Dice Forge offers is a nice feature, it can be a little intimidating right out of the box. Here’s my How to Play video that runs you through all of the options:
Hi! It’s Ryan from Nights Around a Table, and this is Dice Forge, a deck-building game with customizable dice instead of cards. Let me show you how to play.
You and your friends play Greek heroes trying to earn the favour of the Olympian gods by performing amazing feats and offering them bribes. You’ll travel to the different sky islands on Olympus, besting monsters and gaining mythical friends to aid you in your quest. By offering gold to the gods, you can buy new and more powerful faces for your two customizable dice so that each time you roll them, you stand to gain better loot. At the end of 9 or 10 rounds, whoever has racked up the most points wins the game.
Your player pawn begins here on this starting portal. You have a reserve board that tracks three different currencies: gold, sun shards, and moon shards.This fourth section is where you track your glory points.
You have two dice with some faces that earn you gold, one that earns you points, and one sun shard face on one die, and a moon shard face on the other.
There’s a lot of dice rolling in the game, naturally, which the game calls “divine blessing” (rolling both dice) and “minor blessing” (rolling a single die). On your turn, all players receive a divine blessing, which means everyone rolls both dice and reaps their reward. You store your dice here, and add the face-up benefit to your reserve.
Step two: you can call for reinforcements. We’ll see how that works in just a tick.
Next, you have two choices: you can either travel to a sky island and perform a heroic feat to gain one of these cards, or you can spend your gold as an offering to the gods to buy better dice faces and forge them onto your dice. The extra faces you can buy are listed here. You can buy as many faces as you want to, as long as you can afford them, and as long as each face you buy on this turn is unique. These faces are connected to certain cards, and because you can pick and choose which cards to include in your game session, you may or may not be able to forge them.
To forge a face, pick which of your two dice will get the new face, and use it to pop off the face you don’t want any more. Keep the old face nearby. With each new face you forge, you turn the die face-up on your board, with the new face showing.
If you decide instead to perform a heroic feat, you pick a sky island, pay the price for the card you want, either in moon shards or sun shards (or sometimes both), and launch your pawn to that island. If someone else happens to be there, you oust that player, bumping him or her back to the starting portal. The ousted player gets to roll both of his or her dice and reap the rewards. If you’re already on the island that has the card you want to buy, you can just stay there.
Then, you take the card you just paid for and place it face-down near your player board in one of two stacks. If the card has a little whirlwind on it, you perform that action immediately, just once.
Cards with this symbol give you a benefit every turn, if you want it, during the “call for reinforcements” phase i mentioned earlier. Cards with this symbol activate whenever a certain condition is met. And some cards just give you straight-up points.
Oh – the Rules Gremlin wants to point something out here: the number of cards in each pile equals the number of players, which might make you think you can only buy one of each card at a maximum. You can actually buy as many of the same card as you like! But supplies are limited, and if an island runs out of a certain card, it’s gone for good. Thanks, Rules Gremlin!
After each player has taken a turn, advance the round marker and pass the adorable starting player token clockwise.
Dice forge has a variable setup: there are a few spaces where you can set up the game with one type of card or another. Here’s a quick rundown on what each card does, starting with the sun shard side of the board:
The elder is a little buddy who lets you buy 4 points for 3 gold once on every turn, for every elder you own. The wild spirits get you 3 gold and 3 shards when you buy them.
The guardian’s owl is a buddy who gets you either gold or a shard on every turn when you call for reinforcements. OR, the celestial ship lets you forge this face which, when rolled, lets you buy and forge a face from the temple at a 2 gold discount.
When you buy the minotaur, you force everyone else to roll both of their dice. Whatever resources they roll, they lose! If they roll a celestial ship, it doesn’t count, and their reserves can’t fall below zero. Alternately, the guardian’s shield gets you one of these faces. When you roll both dice, and one die matches the coloured corner of the shield face – sun/moon/gold/points, you get the reward in that coloured corner. If there’s no match, you get the reward in the white corner.
The gorgon gets you 14 points. OR, Triton gets you a special token that you can spend on your turn to gain two shards of a single type, or 6 gold.
The Mirror of the Abyss lets you forge a face that allows you to copy the face on a die that one of your opponents has rolled.
The sphinx lets you pick one die and roll it four times in a row. Alternately, the cyclops does the same thing, but each time you roll gold, you can convert it to points.
Here are the cards from the moon shard side:
Grab the blacksmith’s hammer to get this extra card. Every time you earn gold, instead of storing it in your reserve, you can move the hammer along the track. If you reach the end, you get 10 points, send the hammer back to the beginning, and flip it over. If you reach the end again, you get another 15 points and discard the card.
The blacksmith’s chest extends your reserve. Normally, if you earn gold or shards and you’re already at max, you lose the surplus. The chest helps prevent that potential loss. These chests stack if you buy more than one.
When you call for reinforcements on your turn, the silver hind gives you a minor blessing, so you get to roll one of your two dice. OR, the great bear gets you 3 points any time you oust someone from an island, or whenever you get ousted by someone else.
When you buy the satyrs, you force everyone else to roll both dice, and instead of them getting stuff, you pick two of the rolled faces and reap their rewards. OR, the tenacious boar lets you pick an opponent who you can force to forge one of these matching die faces onto one of his or her dice. The forced player chooses where to forge the face. Every time that that player rolls your boar, you get a sun shard or a moon shard. Tenacious boars can’t be removed for the rest of the game. Oink oink!
The ferryman gets you 12 points. It’s also the coolest illustration in the game. Alternately, Cerberus gets you a little token that you can spend after you get a divine blessing or minor blessing to receive the benefit of that exact roll a second time.
The helmet of invisibility lets you forge a tripler face that multiplies the reward on your other die.
Cancer gets you two divine blessings in a row when you buy it. OR, the sentinel gets you the same thing, but you can convert any shards you roll into two points apiece, for those two rolls only.
Finally, there are two cards that can go at the top of the board that cost both sun AND moon shards to buy. The hydra gets you 26 points. When you buy Typhon, he gets you a point for every face you’ve forged. Just count up the discarded faces you’ve set aside since the start of the game.
Once per turn, you can also spend 2 sun shards to take an extra action – either forging faces or buying a card.
When the last player has taken his or her last turn during the final round, the game is over. Add up all the points your cards get you, and tack the total onto the glory points in your reserve. Whoever has the most points wins the favor of the gods, and multiple players can tie for victory!
To set up the game, everyone picks a hero and takes a reserve board and four tracking cubes in their colour, and starts everything off at zero. Everyone gets two dice. Your light die has single gold faces and one sun shard, while your dark die starts with one moon shard face, a 2-pointer, and single golds on all other faces.
Unfold the island board and snug it up next to the temple. Everyone places their pawn on the starting portal. The tiny round marker goes on round one. When you set out the cards, you get to choose which ones to play with; each of these slots have one of two different card types to choose from. For your first game, the rulebook recommends using the cards with the little blue gem on them. Make sure there are only as many cards in each stack as there are players.
The youngest player goes first, takes the start player token, and gets 3 gold to start with; every other player in turn order gets one less gold. That may seem backwards, but it’s because the last player in turn order gets a chance to rack up gold by rolling those dice every turn until he or she gets to play, so first player needs a bit of a head start.
In a 2-player game, remove two dice faces per pool in the temple to create scarcity. You also get to roll both dice twice on everyone’s turn in a 2-player game. 2 and 4 player games have 9 rounds, while a 3-player game has 10 rounds.
And now you’re ready to play Dice Forge! Get rolling!
Get Your Own Copy of Dice Forge
Does your collection have a deck-building game? Sure, it might. But does it have a dice-building game? And one that looks this pretty? Shop for your own copy of Dice Forge using the Amazon link below, and we’ll receive a small commission!
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