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Mine resources, craft items, attract dwarves into your party!

Board Game Review: ‘Dwarven Miner’ from Rather Dashing

dwarvenminerboxDwarven Miner from Rather Dashing Games is among the most entertaining resource-management games out there. Everyone who loves building and seeing the pieces come together, whether as Legos or in Minecraft, will enjoy Dwarven Miner’s assembly of resources into fantastic items that attract all kinds of dwarves into one’s own party.

Many resource management games are “euro style,” meaning they eliminate as much luck as possible, becoming largely logic puzzles. Dwarven Miner breaks from the trope by introducing its Mining dice. Players take turns rolling the six dice in a “press your luck” manner, hoping to get the resources they need, like alchemist’s powder, crystals, special metals, or the wildcard artifacts. Players may re-roll as much as they like, but grim Orc sides freeze the die, limiting a player’s chances to keep going.

After players collect their resources, they may pass the round or use them to craft an Item using tiles on the board as their guides. Unspent resources may be kept so players may plot their move next turn. As players collect items, they may use them to entice a Patron dwarf laid out on the board to join their hall. Each patron comes with a special power and a varying amount of victory points. First player to 30 points wins.

The powers of the dwarf patrons are the real points of strategy in Dwarven Miner. While the dice-rolling and crafting is largely luck-based, the patrons give players the chance to have some control over their fates. Some players may strategize to go after the high-point patrons like Bardic War Chanter, gradually building up items and resources to cash in for 12 points even though the power grants bonuses to all players. Other players might go for fewer points, like Monks, Tale Smiths, or Brew Maidens who gain more points the more of them there, are or the Deep-Delver, who allows players to treat Orc rolls like a wild.

Dwarven_MinercontentsThe icons and art in Dwarven Miner are vivid, the components of each item clearly shown, and the items clearly delineated on each patron’s card. The patrons themselves are fantastic, each bearing hilarious facial expressions, like the seething Berserker, the mad Engineer, and the overly cheerful Monk. Touches of runes and great detail give each of the images a wealth of setting, making the theme come alive as players dig deep through the deck.

Dwarven Miner is a resource management game for two to four players aged 12 and up. It is an excellent family game thanks to the dice, balancing a little luck against the keener minds of older players. For friendly game nights, Dwarven Miner will bring together both the casual gamer and the hardcore fan, both of whom will thrill as they work to gather mighty patrons who will fill their dwarf hall with merry grunting and perhaps a brawling song.

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About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.

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