A Game of Dice, Danger and Darkness
I recently had the opportunity to try out a nice little title by Thames and Kosmos: Roll for Adventure. It’s a cooperative, dice-rolling game for two to four players that plays in around 30 minutes. Plenty of time to save the world – or die trying.
How the Game Works
The four realms of the world are being threatened by an evil entity known as the “Master of Darkness,” and it’s up to the players to stop him. Each player takes the role of a different hero, complete with a unique special ability, and they must all work together to gather a certain number of power crystals before any one of the realms is plunged into darkness.
This is achieved by rolling dice during your turn. After rolling, you may place any number of dice with the same number on the board, attempting to fill combinations:
In the Desert, players need to stack three 1’s. After doing so, one of those dice is locked and the others return. After doing this three times, one of the locked dice is lost permanently, but a power crystal is gained.
In the Forest, players must stack 5’s and 6’s to reach the end of the path. After doing so, a power crystal is gained and the dice are returned – but the path extends by one more space for the next attempt.
In the Fortress, players must stack quadruples of 2’s, 3’s and 4’s to break the barriers below each set. Breaking all three barriers awards a power crystal.
The Ice Palace does not give crystals. Instead, players may stack dice from 1 to 6 (in any order) there to gain rewards, like bonus dice, auto-defeating monsters, or even resetting a realm’s skull track. The more dice, the greater the reward.
The above locations represent the challenges available on side A of each board. On the B side, each location offers completely different challenges, which help to adjust the difficulty of the game, as well as keep it fresh.
Players may also stack their dice in two other spots: on monsters (to defeat them) or in the Vortex of Resurrection.
You didn’t think it would be that easy, did you? Because it isn’t. After each turn, the players draw a monster from the deck, which then proceeds to wreak havoc on the board. All monsters are color coded, and when one is drawn it attacks its home realm. Attacks remove one or more dice, relegating them to the center of the board (called the Vortex of Oblivion). Dice in the center of the board are locked until released by players activating the Vortex of Resurrection. If there are no dice in a monster’s realm, they instead damage that realm (bringing the heroes one step closer to losing).
Even worse, if a level 2 or 3 enemy is drawn, then all enemies of lower levels attack as well. So it is important to control the number of enemies that are in play. Players can, on their turns, place dice on monster cards. Once a total of 6 is stacked on a monster, it is defeated and discarded from play, and all the dice on it return to their owners.
The worst monster, by far, is the Master of Shadows himself, who shows up about halfway through the deck. He attacks any one realm for two automatic damage, or all realms for one – and then he gets shuffled back into the deck. Players must be efficient and quick in order to win the game before he shows up too many times.
In the end, either dark or light will prevail. If any realm is ever completely damaged, the players lose the game immediately. However, if they can survive long enough to gather the required number of power crystals, then the Master of Shadows is banished and the players win.
With two different sides to each realm, 10 heroes to choose from, and a bunch of optional monsters that players can use as they desire, the game has a lot of replayability, as well as ways for players to adjust the difficulty as they see fit. In addition, players can define how many power gems they require to win.
Rolling dice, matching it up, strategizing with your neighbors and deciding priorities on a turn-by-turn basis – let’s face it, the game is fun without being too complicated. Each Hero ability feels natural, and helps a player get into their character. There are plenty of lucky moments where great rolls can help you get ahead, tempered with an equal number of moments when you will slap your head and yell, “Ack!”
All in all, it’s a fun little dice adventure in a box, and with a 30-45 minute play time, it’s easy to fit into a game night. Not to mention that the art is gorgeous.