Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Joshua DeBonis, Nikola Risteski

Atlas Games

No. of Players:



G@mebox author Dorian Feuerbaum writes about the game:

An underestimated mechanic in board games for me is dice drafting. Perhaps the best example of this mechanic is the fantastic eurogame “Grand Austria Hotel”. However, these are normal six-sided dice, and the actual dice-rolling takes a back seat. The situation is a little different with "Dice Miner" by the so far rather unknown author duo Joshua DeBonis and Nikola Risteski. Here the focus is on the dice themself. Whether this can carry a complete, albeit rather small and short, game you will find out in our review.

Published by Atlas Games in 2021, the game works with a player count of 1 to 4, goes between 20 and 30 minutes per game and belongs to the medium-light category. The solid artwork comes from Lil Chan and Grzegorz Pedrycz. Since the generic fantasy theme with dwarves and dragons doesn’t really grab me, we'll take a closer look at the gameplay first.

Over three rounds, we draft custom dice clockwise from a mountain made of cardboard in the standard version. These are filled up randomly every round. The front side of the dice facing us is crucial here, as this is what determines the score potential. We can only take dice whose left and right sides are visible, or in other words, the tops of the mountain. If we already have dice with a beer mug symbol on them, we can give one to a fellow player to take two dice instead of one. These two dice may now also have only one visible side, or to stay on theme again, consist of the edges of the mountain.

[Dice Miner]

Click on image to enlarge!

As soon as all dice have been drafted, they are scored for each player and then rerolled. Thus, a new round begins. Of course, the dice variety play an important role in this process.

White dice must be placed in the order of their number of points - and without interruption. As an example, with 8 white dice: 1+2+3+4+5 and 1+2+3. This would score 21 points. A chain must always start with 1. Blue dice contain magic symbols, so we can re-roll exactly this number of dice before scoring. This does not apply to black dice and the die used for this purpose.

Yellow dice give the indicated number of gems as points. If we have the most gems, we can double our gem points. Black dice bring minus points according to their danger symbol.

However, with the matching symbols of the green dice, these are converted into positive scores. If we have several dice with the matching symbol, they will be multiplied by the respective black dice. Furthermore, green dice can indicate chests, with which dice are saved from the soon to follow re-roll.

After scoring, we roll the dice again and start the next round with the player who has the lowest score. Accordingly, we also have more and more dice for each round.

This covers almost everything on the rules side. Whoever has the most points after three rounds wins Dice Miner.

[Dice Miner]

Click on image to enlarge!

From the rules you can see the small push-your-luck element, which makes the pure drafting not too predictable and creates more tension. In our three and four person games, we liked Dice Miner quite a bit. It's quick to play, yet not too undemanding. Of course, bad luck can screw up the results we're aiming for, but there hasn't been any real frustration so far. The games are played too snappy for that. It offers enough variety for many games. The beautiful custom dice are simply fun. In general, the quality of the components is good and nice to look at on the table. Besides the 60 dice, six hero dwarf tiles for starting abilities, a dice bag and the assimilable cardboard mountain are included.

As mentioned at the beginning, the theme of the game is negligible, nothing special nor sprinkled with a twist. It is a necessary evil so that the game doesn't seem completely abstract. Personally, I wouldn't mind if there were more die types to play with it. Perhaps an expansion could “fix” this.

[Dice Miner]

Click on image to enlarge!

It is noticeable that the games with three players were more interesting than with four, because each player drafted more dice in the course of the game. We think the game is optimal for two and three players. The solo mode was not tested.

As a conclusion we can recommend Dice Miner for all who…:

  • ...like the genre and would like to have a whole game around this mechanic
  • ...love custom dice
  • ...want to offer the family an exciting alternative to the classics

The dice mountain should better remain untouched if you…:

  • avoid moderate luck elements in your games
  • are looking for a more complex, extensive drafting game
  • want to buy Dice Miner primary for four-player evenings

[Gamebox Index]

Google Custom Search

Impressum / Contact Info / Disclaimer

Copyright © 2023 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany