Grow your fledgling civilization from scratch and outmaneuver opposing civilizations in Roll Through the Ages: the Bronze Age! Outsmart your opponents as you build cities and research developments. Complete great monuments before they do. Avoid disasters while sending pestilence and revolts to your opponents. Become the most powerful empire in the Bronze Age by winning the technology and construction race in this exciting dice game!
Roll Through the Ages is an empire-building dice game thematically in line with the Through the Ages board game which in turn is based on the hit video game Sid Meier’s Civilization (which is based on the initial Civilization board game!) This dice game – with each game lasting about 50 % an hour – is known as a quick and easy option to the Through the Ages board game which has somewhat more complex mechanics and may take upwards of 4-5 hours.
Roll Through the Ages includes a group of 7 dice unique to this game, 4 pegboards, colored pegs and a stack of score sheets, which is all you have to to play the game. The game mechanics are also pretty easy to pick up: a turn starts with a player rolling dice to see what resources they get. Goods and food are collected and workers are fed. The workers build cities and monuments, and you get to buy a development. That is the basis of the overall game, and players repeat these actions until the game ends, which happens when all the monuments have been built or any single player has 5 developments. The ball player with victory points wins the game.
The initial action in the turn is rolling the dice to see what resources you obtain. The number of dice you roll depends upon how many cities you have, and the dice produce either food, goods, workers, coins or skulls. Workers are used to build new cities and monuments, while food must feed the workers. Goods and coins are accustomed to buy developments. Skulls are bad, representing disasters that occur to either you or your opponents.
You get to roll each die around 3 times (except skulls which can’t be re-rolled). This allows you to influence the dice to create resources closer to the thing you need that turn. More workers will be handy if you were attempting to expand or build a monument, when you would want more food if your food stores are running low and your people are about to starve. Once all the dice are rolled, any food and goods collected are marked on a pegboard which records the stuff you have in storage. Depending on just how many goods you roll and just how much stock you have, various kinds of goods with differing coin values are added to your stock.
The next action is to feed your cities. Having more cities means you can roll more dice, but it also means you need to produce more food to keep them from starving. If you don’t produce enough food and you have insufficient food in storage, your workers will starve and you will be penalized with negative victory points. Disasters (based on skulls on the dice) are resolved now as well. Depending on just how many skulls arrive, either you or your opponents will incur negative points or even lose all the goods in storage.
The next phase involves assigning the workers you rolled this turn to building cities and/or monuments. Each available city or monument has tick boxes inside them on the score sheet, indicating how many workers are needed to perform them. Once all tick boxes in a city or monument are filled, they are completed. Completed Twitch Emotes give you yet another die to roll but cost a supplementary food each turn. Monuments haven’t any effect other than providing you with victory points. There’s urgency in building them though, because the first player to perform a monument will earn double the points of those who are slower. In addition, one of the endgame conditions is when all the monuments have been built.
Lastly, you can buy developments using the goods in your storage and with coins rolled this turn. These developments provide victory points but also convey beneficial effects. For instance, the Agriculture development gives an extra food for every food die you roll, as the Religion development causes the Revolt disaster to affect your opponents instead of yourself. The better developments will cost more, but also provide more victory points once the game ends. Another of the finish game conditions is when any player has 5 developments.
The strategies available are nearly limitless. Do you want to focus on growing your cities first and thereby get to roll more dice? Or would you like to sacrifice growth in order to rush-build monuments for double points before others have a chance to complete them? Or can you prefer to continue the offensive and make an effort to create disasters which will cripple your opponents? Or will you invest the first game in getting goods and coins for powerful developments? With the developments, you might also need a choice in concentrating on commerce-related developments, or ones focusing on food or disasters. As you can imagine, there are so many ways to play this game.
The only real drawback is that the game is really quick (around around 30 minutes) and doesn’t feel as epic as an empire-building game should. The developers have taken this on board, and also have released a free mini-expansion called The Late Bronze Age which contains adjustments to the overall game mechanics and objectives. This expansion can be downloaded from their website, possesses new mechanics such as shipping and trading goods with other players. This adds more complexity and player interaction to the overall game. The endgame conditions may also be adjusted, with games now lasting a more fulfilling one hour.
Roll Through the Ages is a simple and elegant game that captures the feel of an empire-building game, but with just a fraction of the time investment. And since its name contains the words ‘The Bronze Age’, it really is fair to assume that more expansions will undoubtedly be coming along to create you through the Medieval, Industrial and Modern ages for more empire-building fun. Roll Through the Ages is ideal for you if you like empire-building games like Through the Ages or Endeavor, but prefer something that is quick and simple.