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 March 2019

Defy the Very Gods Themselves:- Dice Forge Rebellion

Game: Dice Forge: Rebellion

Publisher: Libellud

Designer:  Régis Bonnessée

Year: 2019

Dice Forge Rebellion is the first expansion to 2017's Dice building game Dice Forge. In Dice Forge you play as heroes who are fighting for the gods in a plot that will be ignored entirely by the gameplay and would be all but forgotten if the rulebook didn't reference it every other sentence. You know they are committed to their bit when they call a roll of the dice a "Divine Blessing". Aside from the tacked on theme the game is quite innovative, featuring dice that have removable faces that you can upgrade by spending gold during the game. The purpose of upgrading your dice is then to spend the advanced resources on cards that reward special powers and victory points. But It's also valid to throw a ton of victory point faces on your dice and roll your way to victory!

Rebellion is a modular expansion, though the modules are not mixable, so it might be easier to think of it as 2 mini expansions. One of which has you advancing golems through an ancient labyrinth recovering treasures and earning divine favour, while the other questions your loyalty to the gods as the Titans attempt to sway you with quick earthly rewards rather than the long-term rewards of faith and devotion. Both modules come with a full set of new cards, about a third of which are exclusive to that module and must be used if you are using it, and 2/3rds of which can be mixed with cards from the base game should you wish.

The Goddess module presents you with the labyrinth. In order to navigate this you will need die faces that grant your golem movement. Fortunately the gods were graceful enough to grant you some to start with, and further can be earned when you buy the right cards. Other cards may give you instant movement, or even allow you to reverse a little along the track. The labyrinth itself consists of multiple routes laden with rewards. The second your golem stand on a reward then you gain it, giving some very interesting combo potential. At some points you will have to select a direction to travel and choose between faster movement through the labyrinth (important as the biggest rewards are at the end) and more rewards along the way. Most notable of these rewards is the chance to roll the goddess die, a die with fixed, but highly rewarding, faces on it.

The titans module adds a loyalty track, pledging your allegiance can come with big rewards...

The Titan module challenges your loyalty, you start with 2 special faces, one on each die which grant you favour either with the titans or the gods. Buying cards will grant you more faces to further manipulate your loyalty. The more you advance on the titan path the larger your in-game rewards will get. The titans reward you with huge numbers of victory points when you buy cards, however at the end of the game if you still favour the titans you will lose victory points for your traitorous ways! Advancing on the gods side of the track grants you some minor victory point rewards during the game, but potentially grants a huge number of victory points at the end of the game. To further tempt you to the dark side this module introduces a new wild-card resource that you gain every-time you earn favour with the titans, giving you that little bit of extra freedom to get the biggest and best cards.

There are a plethora of new cards, though about a third are locked to their respective modules.
Of the two modules, for me, there is a clear winner. While the goddess module does add some more choices to the game the track simply isn't that exciting. You get a few rewards along the way, sure, but had you not had any golem movement on your dice you would have been getting rewards for whatever faces you had instead. While it does add something to the game it is hardly groundbreaking and I could take it or leave it. The Titan module however adds some real changes to the game. Choosing a side grants you very clear rewards from the get-go but also presents a longer term opportunity. Forsake the gods for quick rewards now, and then come back to them at the end to get their end of game rewards. It's not easy, but pull it off and you're in for a lot of points!

The new cards added to the game are nice enough and they certainly add more variety to the game if you are now bored with the base game cards. I particularly liked the one that let you store extra gold on it and then spend the stored gold to turn it into other resources (at a fairly bad exchange rate, but still very useful). The goddess dice might be a nice novelty to roll but it feels like a real shame to have a dice with fixed faces in Dice Forge. I would have vastly preferred a shiny golden dice with ~12 faces to randomly pick from at the start of a game, making it seem special, but not from a different game! Overall I'm quite split on Dice Forge Rebellion, having the modules be incompatible feels like a missed opportunity, and one of the modules was clearly more fun than the other. If you love Dice Forge then it's certainly worth getting, but for me there wasn't quite enough wow factor to have it bring Dice Forge back to the table for the long haul.


Dice Forge: Rebellion was a review copy provided by Asmodee UK. It is available at your friendly local game store for an RRP of £29.99 or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk/.

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