Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Tuesday 19 December 2017

A quick roll in the mud:- Harvest Dice

Game: Harvest Dice

Publisher: Grey Fox Games

Designer: Danny Devine

Year: 2017

Harvest Dice is a 2-4 player dice drafting game in which you play as a farmer attempting to make the best field full of crops. It's not as simple as choosing the best vegetable to sow and filling your field, there is a market that changes the value of the crops depending on which dice are taken. Sometimes you won't have a use for any of the dice, in these cases you can always feed one of them to your trusty pig who will reward you with points at the end of the game because bacon reasons.

At the start of the game each player is handed a sheet of paper that depicts their land, their pig and the value of crops in the local market. Each turn one player will roll all the dice, then one at a time players will choose one of the dice to plant in their field. The position is determined by a grid reference along the top of the field, if you take a green die showing a 4 you must draw a cabbage in the 4 column on your playing sheet.At first this is the only restriction, but you must also keep all of your veggies of a type together, so our hypothetical player could now only take green dice if they were a 3,4 or 5. Players continue drafting dice until only 1 die is left, the colour of this die dictates which of the 3 markets (carrot, tomato and cabbage) increases in value this turn.

If you are unable to plant a dice you can still take it, but you must feed it to your pig. This is an important move to restrict your opponents ability to play, but also every 6 dice you feed to the pig grants you a pig power. These one use powers allow you to add or subtract 1 from a die as you take it (or change the die colour in advanced mode). The game ends when one player finishes all 3 rows of their field, or when any one market has reached 6 points. At this point you multiply each crop by it's market value to get your score. You then add bonuses for completed rows of your field, and bonuses for doing the best for each crop/pig in the advanced mode.

Harvest Dice set up, ready to play, in a 2 player game you don't use all the dice, each round the start player will draft 3 dice while the other will only get 2.
You can choose to play on the basic or advanced play sheet, the advanced mode only adds one new power that you pig can use, a few more end game bonuses and makes the game a little longer as all the markets start empty. For adults I'd recommend jumping straight into the advanced mode.

Harvest dice comes with 9 small dice, these are good quality with very distinct colours and easy to read pips, though I might have liked them to be a touch bigger to give a more tactile experience. The play sheets themselves are colourful and  well designed, giving clear purpous for the different areas, while still keeping an attractive art style.You get a good number of both basic and advanced game sheets so this should keep you gaming for a long time before you have to resort to the photocopier for more.

The advanced sheet (left) does have a few extra complications, but doesn't change anything dramatic, it's the best choice for most players.

Harvest Dice is definitely a filler game, but it knows what it is and does a great job as one. It's colourful and cheerful enough to attract the younger end of it's audience, while the dice drafting can be vicious enough to keep competitive adults entertained. Harvest Dice is a great choice for when you don't have much time but want to get a game it, or you are simply burnt out from heavier games.


Harvest Dice was kindly provided to us by Grey Fox Games.

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