Before I begin I was provided with a prototype copy in exchange for an honest review. This is not a paid preview. If you would rather watch a video of this review you can do that below, and if you want to get your own copy click this link.
In general abstract games, kind of get a raw deal from me. Because they lack a story I often find that I am not especially interested…I will often even go so far as to gravitate toward abstract games with a hint of story to them, something like Sagrada. Why? I don’t know. At the end of the day those moderately themed games are not necessarily, in my mind, made better by their hint of story. Rather it is their mechanics that make them fun…I mean its an abstract game, so why not enjoy them, or not, based on the gameplay?
It was in the middle of my self-reflection on abstract games that I got the chance to preview DiTiC. So I was happy to try it out, sadly, it did not arrive until a day or two before the campaign ended. So instead I committed to getting it down in time for January late pledges to be in full swing.
The core game play of DiTiC is relatively simple. You alternate turns between players, and you can either draw and place a tile, then roll the action die (which can allow you to move your dice, or an opponents, place another tile or alter the positioning of a tile), or you can move one of your dice. Different numbered dice can move differently. The goal is to be the first player to have a “6” on the board.
The game starts out by players growing the board, as groupings of 4 tiles are created dice appear on them, depending on what color has the majority of corners at the intersection. Once these dice start to appear you are able to try to join dice of the same number into a single die one number higher. You can also use your stronger dice to defeat your opponents dice. (There are rules about combining and defeating dice, but that is the gist of it)
So what do I think?
This game is delightfully complex in its simplicity. There are not a ton of things that you can do, but there are just enough that there are always options. This is a game that I cannot imagine mastering. I also love the action die. It adds just enough randomness to the game, but rolling the die always feels like a bonus of sorts, so you are not, or should not be, relying on the die as your turn and strategy.
I also am very pleased with how fast the game plays at two payers. It goes quick, and does not seem to outstay its welcome. Finally, I love its portability, though more on this later.
While I have already said how much I love the portability of the game, I do wonder if the tiles are not too small. (My copy is just a prototype so this may change) It is pretty easy to jostle the table and have them move about.
The game takes a little while to get cookin’. The first couple turns are just drawing and placing tiles. Now I know what you are thinking: “I could really go for a coffee and donut right about now”, but in addition to that you are thinking “why are listing this as a bad thing?” Both of these are very good thoughts. The first lies in you alone, but the second I can explain. I put it here because it has the effect of the first time you play making the game seem like it is dull, and nothing is happening. It picks up, but there is those first several turns where you can feel like “Is this all I get to do?”
Bringing it all together
I like this game. I think all abstract games should have this level of ease of learning and playing, while being incredibly hard to master. The game is wonderfully portable, though perhaps the tiles are too small as they can get jostled easily. The first few turns will feel like nothing is happening, but things to get crackin’ after a few rounds, as the board gets set up.
I would rather abstract my mind than read that drivel
* A very fun, simple, yet surprisingly strategic abstract game
* Plays quickly at the 2 player count (all I have gotten to play)
* Takes the game a little while to warm up
* Delightfully portable
* I have no idea what DiTiC means