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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Saturday 24 August 2019

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Roll for Adventure

Game: Roll for Adventure

Publisher: Kosmos

Designer:   Matthew Dunstan, Brett J. Gilbert

Year: 2018

In Roll for Adventure your kingdom is in danger. Monsters are attacking from all four angles, crossing the different terrains. To save the kingdom, you must work together to collect power stones without allowing any territory to fall into the clutches of the Master of Shadows. Players take on the roles of various questing heroes, using dice to power their quest for power stones and to fight of the incoming hoards.

Roll for Adventure is a 2-4 player cooperative dice game from frequent designer duo Matthew Dunstan and Brett Gilbert. As designers they certainly have a good track record with us, and putting their heads together to design a style of game we tend to enjoy is a good combination. Whilst we typically like our cooperative dice games to be real-time, Roll for Adventure allows you to go at your own pace, but still includes plenty of challenges and tough decisions.


The objective in Roll for Adventure is to gain enough gems as a team in order to unlock the magical item that you are questing for. As such difficulty can be simply adjusted by questing for an item that requires more gems. You will earn the gems by completing tasks in 3 of the 4 main areas of the game board.

On your turn you will roll all of your dice, and then pick one number from those dice to assign to a task. You can assign any number of dice in one go, but all most have the same number showing. After placing dice you then re-roll all your remaining dice and repeat until you have no dice left. Dice remain on the board until the associated task is completed and if both players have no dice left to assign then you will lose the game. There are 3 tasks that gain you gems, and a final task that is used to gain temporary dice and other bonuses. All the tasks are double sided for variation.

At the end of each player's turn monsters will arrive. Simply draw the top card of the monster deck and place that monster in the associated area. They will then attack, removing a die from the area. In addition higher ranking monsters will trigger all lower ranking monsters to attack causing a lot of pain very quickly. Dice lost to monster attacks can be regained by assigning dice to the pool of resurrection later. If there is no dice to remove then instead they will advance the skull along its track, should any skull reach the end of its track then the game is lost.

Amy’s Final Thoughts

Roll for Adventure introduces a threat that I've not seen in many games before. As you assign your dice to tasks and they get taken away by monster tasks you find your pool of active dice dwindling. Over exerting yourself can easily lead to failure as you desperately try to reconcile the situation. Fighting monsters feels like a waste of a die at times, but if you ever lose control of the incoming hordes you are in for a world of hurt. This in turn can lead to a great feeling of cooperation when one of your actions ends up freeing other player's dice.

Variety truly is the spice of life with Roll for Adventure. There are so many different characters, each with a unique power, that each game feels a little different. But on top of that each section of the board is individually double-sided and there are boss monsters which can be added to the deck for extra trouble. The boss monsters themselves vary in difficulty, with the dragon feeling a bit like a wet sponge. It attacks once then goes away, so you don't have a lingering monster to fight, and when it attacks it defeats all dice showing a certain number. This can be potentially devastating, but also can be a complete miss. Honestly we often breathed a sight of relief when the dragon arrived!

While our first game we lost spectacularly, once we understood what was important we started to find the game noticeably easier as we played more. Now that we are used to the game it feels like we need to crank the difficulty up to max to get a proper challenge, but there's nothing wrong with that! Roll for Adventure is so adjustable that everyone can find the right level of difficulty for them! Overall Roll for Adventure is a great cooperative dice game. With the myriad of re-rolls it never feels too random (though luck certainly factors) and the feeling of cooperation as you help each other out of tight spots really helps this game come together. I'd highly recommend giving it a go!

Fi’s Final Thoughts

Roll for Adventure really is a game of managing risks - and there's a lot of them! Like most cooperative games, there's lots of ways to lose, and only one way to win. I think what feels different about Roll for Adventure is that the ways to lose are all indicators of neglecting different things, rather than neglecting the same thing. In our first game, we neglected the incoming monsters, being far too naive about how quickly they could whittle away the health of a zone. The risk of running out of dice is a real risk too and one that had to remain top priority every time. The one thing that never happened was running low with the monster deck. The fact that by adding difficulty, you grow this deck means that I'm not sure how much of a threat is really there.

Roll for Adventure is, of course, a dice game an so luck plays a factor. However, each segment of the board uses different dice results and if you really have no use for a dice, then the ice caves would typically be our first choice, to get some bonus items or dice, followed by the zone for resurrecting your lost dice, which is certainly not a waste of your time. I guess that 6's are slightly nicer because you can kill a monster with a one shot, but the dice results themselves should not dictate whether you win or lose at the game. Winning is all about focusing on the right number of quests at one time so that you don't spread too thin, and balancing taking care of monsters with taking care of quests. Neither can be let to get too out of hand. I particularly like how feeding a couple of dice to quests just to bait the monsters is a way to buy a little more time, without getting too focused on one thing.

After recently reviewing Pandemic:Rapid Response, I'm relieved to find a new cooperative dice game which I think does things a whole lot better, with loads more variety, a better mix of risks to manage and just more interesting actions to take throughout the game. My dice rolling cooperative game is complete with Flatline for real-time and Roll for Adventure for something more sedate. It's definitely a game I'd highly recommend to cooperative game fans that might offer something new in your collection.

You Might Like...
  • Dice rolling prevents one player from easily identifying optimal moves and as such you are less likely to get an alpha player.
  • You've really got to do things for other people in this game make sure everyone can have effective turns.
  • The variety and variance in difficulty is awesome!
You Might Not Like...
  • Luck will absolutely be a factor in your collective win or loss.
  • Even the final difficulty level might be a little too easy for us in the long run.

The Verdict
8/10 Roll for Adventure is one of the finest dice-rolling cooperative games out there! It's full of variety and variable difficulty that means it can be tuned for any group, or as you gain more experience. While it's not the most challenging cooperative game, it's one that really stands out for great team work and interesting push your luck aspects that keep us coming back for more.

Roll for Adventure was a review copy kindly provided to us by Kosmos Games.

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