Fleet: The Dice Game
Let me be honest. I am not a fan of roll and writes. The idea of ticking boxes makes me think of work and school, and being a teacher that’s really not the kind of experience I want in my boardgames.
That said, I like engine building games and Fleet: The Dice Game by Eagle Gryphon Games is one to it’s core.
The game, for ten rounds, is split into two phases. In the boat phase, the starting player, rolls the boat dice and chooses one available die. Then in clockwise order the other players choose one die from the remaining dice. Whatever is left is used by all the players. The players then fill in the matching type on their sheets. In this phase, filling in the sheet can lead to a boat launching or a license being activated. All players will then take one coin as income. In even rounds, players also get to fish.
In the town phase, the same process of die selection takes place except players pick from the town dice pool. This allows players to visit the Wharf in order to get bonuses from completion of a building or they can go to the harbour where they can launch boats. In the Captain’s club, private fishing ensues and when the Market is visited players can get coins based on the number of fish they have caught.
Full Steam Ahead
Similar to a lot of engine building games I love, like Terraforming Mars or Grand Austria hotel, Fleet provides an array of waves to ride for players to succeed. But, players need to avoid going adrift and have to choose the right combination of boxes to tick. Each ticked box, which leads to a new license or boat launched creates a flood of strong, intertwined actions that rain resources and additional options.
Early on I focused on getting more licenses which led to getting more bonuses. Each bonus I acquired, led me to gain more income which then led to more bonuses. I’m sure you catch my drift. The good thing about the game is that although other players deprive you of options by selecting a die, there are ways to mitigate that by building up to certain bonuses. Some of these special actions are re-rolls, converting a die to income, or using a die as a star action. Mitigation is not as strong as in other dice-drafting games, say like Roll Player but this is short enough for me not to mind.
I certainly would recommend this to fans of roll and writes. It’s quick but deep. For those who are not fans, it has enough of a board game feel to it that you can use it as a filler game in between longer games. It’s a solid game for it’s price tag.
Fleet: The Dice Game is on kickstarter.