One Board Family: Harvest Dice Review
Living off the land can be tough. What crops do you plant? What if the market doesn’t pay enough for your crop? How much is too much to feed your sweet pet pig? Thankfully, my family isn’t dependent on my ability to grow food. I think I’ll just stick to farming games like Harvest Dice from Grey Fox Games.
Harvest Dice was published in 2017 and is just one of the many roll-and-write games on the market. In this game you are a farmer choosing to plant three different crops in the garden. The dice are colored orange for carrots, red for tomatoes and green for lettuce. Since this is a roll-and-write game, pencils are in included in the box along with pads of illustrated farms for you to draw on.
Location, Location, Location
On your turn you roll all the dice and players choose a single die from the pool of dice one at a time. Location is everything in this game. If you choose a red die with 4 pips on it, you can only place that tomato crop in column #4 of your garden. The tough part is that any future tomatoes that are planted must be adjacent to another tomato. Players have to plan out the space as the game unfolds and leave themselves with enough flexibility to place new crops each turn.
At the end of the round, a single die will be left and that color will determine what crop goes up in price. If an orange die is left, the carrots go up in value by 1 point. Players have some control in what crop increases in value. The last player in the round often has a choice between two dice and they hold quite a bit of power here.
Sometimes you run into the inevitable problem of not being able to place a specific die. In Harvest Dice, your pet pig is there to solve all your problems. Feed the die to your pig and fill in the number of pips that appeared on that die. Keep feeding your pig to gain what we call “piggie powers” that allow you to change the number or color of the die. “Piggie powers” offer a way to change a bad roll or modify a crop into something usable.
Light Strategy, Big Fun
There are a lot of roll-and-write games on the market and 2017 was a great year for this genre of games. It would be easy for a game like Harvest Dice to get overlooked but there are some things that stand out in this game.
First, players aren’t just writing a number in a square each time you choose from the pool of dice. Players are drawing the crop on their farm card. This is so much fun because you can be as creative as you want to be! Some people will have lettuce that looks like a monsters footprint and some people will draw an incredibly detailed head of iceberg lettuce. I love how this invites kids to be creative and have fun with the game.
Second, there are plenty of ways to grab points in this game. Players gain 5 bonus points for each row of crops they complete. The player with the most full pig at the end of the game gains 5 points and each player who has the most of each individual crop receives another 5. Games can be pretty close as you change your strategy as the market shifts during the game.
Third, that sweet sweet pig… The illustrations in Harvest Dice are great even though everything really revolves around some colored dice. Grey Fox Games did a great job of packaging a really great family game into this small box.
Harvest Dice has quickly become one of my favorite roll-and-write games. Our whole family has enjoyed the game and it’s easy to get the kids around the table when we mention we’re playing. This game is an incredible value at around $15. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Harvest Dice today.
- Simple to teach and plays in under 30 minutes
- Great for a wide variety of ages
- Very portable
- Really wish the player cards were double sided