Challenge Accepted: Return to the Roll Player Base Game

May 23, 2021 | Sessions | 0 comments

Create interesting characters through dice manipulation and careful planning with the fun mechanics in Roll Player.

Earlier this month on the Solitaire Games On Your Table list, I challenged another solo player to play Roll Player to find out who could score the highest. There’s always fun to be found on the monthly list! This gave me a reason to finally pull out my copy, which has sat unattended for too long. 31 points was where the bar was set… So off I went to play!

Game Overview

Game Name: Roll Player
Publication Year:
 2016
Designer:
 Keith Matejka
Artist:
 JJ Ariosa and Luis Francisco
Publisher: Thunderworks Games

Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game

My first order of business was separating out expansion content since I vowed to never play the base game on its own. Ha ha! That wasn’t particularly difficult. The goal is to choose dice and purchase market cards to find ways to complete patterns and earn the most victory points. Fun!

Golden Eyes and a Lucky Gold Die to Start Off in Roll Player
R

First Play

July 26, 2020

Complexity

3

Latest Play

May 18, 2021

Expansions

2

Setup Time

5 Minutes

Lifetime Plays

10

Play Time

30 Minutes

:

High Score

44

1

Game Area

26" x 20"

;

Low Score

0

Quite a Combination

As I was about to find out, my dice bag was not going to cooperate with the class dice. I started off with no red dice to match the barbarian… And it wasn’t going to get better!

Setup is a lot more strategic than it might look. Part of it boils down to matching the backstory positions of specific colors. But there’s another element some don’t consider.

Placed dice decrease the optional special actions. In this case, I had limited dexterity and intelligence actions.

This may seem subtle, yet it’s an interesting mechanic. I decided which actions were less useful to me during play.

An Eclectic Starting Position for an Elf Barbarian in Roll Player

All the Dice

Rarely do I pause during play to take photos since the final assortment of dice and cards tell the whole story! I didn’t fare too well with the backstory, unfortunately.

And a whopping 3 red dice came out. I had to pass once since I needed another option, but goodness!

There was a little trouble with getting her constitution up to 18, owing to the penalty of -2. More on that in a moment, because I achieved that for 3 victory points!

It’s also fun to note that even with some low-scoring areas, there are more than just dice to consider.

Success in Many Forms for an Elf from Roll Player

Chained in Armor

Gold is used throughout the course of play to buy market cards. These encompass many different types, but armor presents a set collection mechanic that’s quite nice.

I managed to pick up all but a single piece of chain armor. It was destroyed by the random element of the solo mode, which was all too fitting. Nothing is guaranteed!

The barbarian’s special feature of holding more weapons never panned out, owing to minimal weapons for sale.

Sometimes armor works out well, and other times it’s a lost cause as traits provide better options for scoring.

Finding Almost All the Chain Armor in Roll Player

The Good Sentinel

Each trait affects alignment and I managed to work in some very lawful good elements. Steadfast would have been better if more weapons could be acquired!

The courageous trait was my special way to complete the constitution requirement. Very handy, indeed!

In my fairly limited experience so far, traits are often vital but they can seem a little repetitive over time. Hence why I’m looking forward to using the expansions soon.

All in all, this was a nice outing. However, I only hit 30 points and had one more chance to win the challenge!

Finding a Way to Succeed with Plenty of Traits from Roll Player

Guarded by a Dwarf

My next play was even worse in terms of the class dice. This dwarf was a rogue and needed black dice. How many showed up? See for yourself. What’s up, dice bag?!

Needless to say, this was still a much stronger showing. Enough gold dice showed up to provide extra income so the market cards could be snapped up as needed.

I haven’t done a good job of considering my characters lately, although that’s often why the expansions are nice.

More importantly, I wanted to make sure I ended up with a decent enough score! Was I going to win the challenge?!

Another Interesting Assortment of Dice to Create a Dwarf Character in Roll Player

A Roguish Bit of Luck

Despite the right class dice never showing up more than once, the rogue ability was actually part of my strategy.

When using a skill card, it indicates which way to move on the alignment card. The limitation is that a skill can’t be used if that marker can’t actually be moved. Tricky!

As a pretty excellent rogue, this dwarf could take advantage of skill cards more often. Yes, please!

Once again, I succeeded in meeting the requirements on the class card. I did a little better in making sure he was resilient, though this backstory still wasn’t perfect.

Becoming a Rogue with Almost No Class Dice in Roll Player

Leathery Armor

My prowess with armor also continued! With the tower shield, this boosted the set collection scoring from 5 to 8 victory points. Success! That’s how you do attire.

Although this strategy worked out for me, typically there are 2-3 market cards to choose from. It’s not always a good idea to stay heavily invested in armor.

Choices seem obvious on the surface at times, but I’ve seen areas I could have abandoned for better results.

Before I tallied my score, I decided to take a look inside the dice bag. Were there no black dice in there?!

Getting Lucky and a Bit Strategic with Armor in Roll Player

Keeper of the Bag

Oh, please. I see you there! I immediately discovered the cause of my bad luck with the dice bag. It was a Stealthy Elephant. When isn’t it?! That’s what I get.

Must have happened when I removed some expansion dice and had to reset everything. You never know!

This silly moment was definitely needed. Matching class dice typically aren’t that common, but this was comical. I really had to work for those victory points in other areas.

Fret not, friends: During cleanup, this little creature was safely removed and stored elsewhere. For now. Ha!

Peering Inside the Dice Bag to Find a Stealthy Culprit in Roll Player

Session Overview

Play Number: 9 and 10
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game
Outcome: 30 and 34 (2 Losses)

I missed my personal threshold for victory, but a lucky combination for this dwarf gave me the win in this 1-on-1 challenge. Success… Just barely! The rogue ability allowed me to use concentrate almost every round, while being famous resulted in a total of 6 victory points from the alignment card. Very nice! It’s never clear what will happen with each character and I certainly hope to play again at some point soon. Challenge completed!

A Very Nice Combination of Rogue, Famous, and Concentrate in Roll Player

%

10 Plays

Affordability

Price & Value

10

Functionality

Challenges & Mechanics

10

Originality

Design & Theme

8

Quality

Components & Rules

9

Reusability

Achievement & Enjoyment

9

Variability

Distinctness & Randomness

9

+ Pros (Positives)

  • There are many ways to score victory points so that even a tried-and-true strategy can be improved with time.
  • All of the components create very randomized elements for unique challenges and final characters.
  • Dice manipulation is far from easy and making decisions each round rarely comes down to good or bad luck.
  • Setup provides the basis for excellent variability, yet the placement of the initial dice also limits future actions.
  • Although gameplay feels complex and strategic, the rules are fairly simple and play time flies by in 30 minutes.
  • Enough flavor text exists to create the basis for a full character without requiring a lot of time for extra reading.

– Cons (Negatives)

  • Gameplay feels like it ends just when things are starting to get interesting, although expansions help with this.
  • There are a lot of market cards overall, yet they can get repetitive over time because most are seen in each play.
  • The player boards take up a lot of storage space since they have unique portraits, names, and modifiers.
  • Some of the text is particularly small, like on the summary cards, which can make it hard to read at a glance.

More Roll Player

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Victory Conditions

Score 40+ Points

  • Overall Goal Progress 67% 67%

Goals and Milestones

R

Score at least 35 points.

R

Score at least 40 points.

Q

Score at least 45 points.

Continue the Conversation

What do you think of Roll Player? I won this challenge, but just barely! Maybe it wasn’t even me who won, what with the Stealthy Elephant in the dice bag. Ha ha! Have you ever returned to just playing the base game? This session validated my opinion that expansions add a lot and are a necessity for the full experience, at least for me. More to come!

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