Dicium is a board game for 1 to 4 players designed by Joachim Thôme and published by Geek Attitude Games. In this game you take on the role of a race car driver who tries to get to the finish line first, venture in the dungeon to search the crown of the goblin king, become the world’s greatest conqueror by building up your civilization or become a ninja or samurai and try to stop the others from completing their goal.
As you might have noticed these are four distinctive games in one box using the same and sometimes different components for each game. In Crazy Cup you are racing through a canyon using shortcuts and cheat cards to win the race. In Dungeon all players work together to get a certain number of treasures and the crown of the goblin King. The dungeon is filled with monsters and magic barriers to make life difficult. On top of that you need to accomplish this before the king returns to its throne. In Civilization you are creating your own civilization by building cities, temples and wonders whilst accomplishing objectives. There are also some mythological monsters that roam the land. In Shogun the players split up into two teams. One team will be playing the ninjas who are trying to abduct the Shogun. The other team will be playing the samurai and are trying to repel the ninjas by lighting the braziers around the palace. The rules are all based on the same system so I will be giving a more general overview of all the games in one go.
Setup varies from game to game but each has its own central board that will be placed in the middle including the special Dicium dice and the red fight die. Each player chooses a color that they will be playing and gets the corresponding player board (which also differ per player color) for the particular game including one to three player pawns in their color and one die marker that will be placed in the three dice spot. Besides that each player might receive some tokens specific to the game they are playing. Each game might have some cards or other tokens specific to the game that need to be placed on the table. I can recommend separating all components per game and storing them that way for easy setup.
The core of all the games is based on the 2-2-2 system which means you can roll two times, perform at most two actions and store 2 dice for the next round. These also define a game turn: rolling, action, storage. In the beginning you will only be able to roll three dice but this can ramp up to five dice. Before rolling your dice you have the option to keep the result of one or two of your previously stored dice on your player board or roll them again. After the first roll you can choose to reroll any number of your dice one more time.
When you are done rolling your dice it is time to start and take actions with them. These differ from game to game but they follow the same general rules. You can use the Dicium dice for their value (with the Dicium symbol being a wild number) or their color. The values are used like in poker hands with the pair being the lowest you can take all the way going up to five of a kind. The pair always lets you move your pawn on the board in a specific way. The straight starting from one gives you the option to increase your dice pool or lets you add an upgrade to your player board. These upgrades usually improve the colored actions you can take or give an extra reroll. The colored actions are a different beast all together. Since they are not evenly distributed on a die they vary in difficulty to pull off. Each die has two blue sides, two green sides but only on red and yellow side. The blue side is always used for moving. The green sides can be used in different ways according to the game but they always include the possibility to do an upgrade on your player board. The red dice are usually used for fighting. When fighting both parties roll the six sided die and the players can add red sides (even from stored dice) and red upgrades to their die roll. If the attacker’s total is equal or higher than the defender the attack is successful. The yellow dice are used for various things in the different games. It might be used for getting through magic barriers, doors or walls, shootings fireballs, getting equipment and so on…
When you have performed your actions you can choose up to two of your unused dice to store for the next round. These rounds continue until the endgame conditions have been met and there will be one or more victors.
This game is something you do not see every day being four games in one. To have all games be distinct and good is hard feat to pull off but they definitely did just that. The core system used is so elegant and so simple that once you get it you simply have to explain the specifics of a certain game and you can start playing. That you can use a die for its color or value gives you lots of interesting choices during gameplay. The Crazy cup and dungeon are easier to grasp than the Civilization and Shogun one. Crazy Cup and Dungeon even have rules to play it with younger children and that works surprisingly well and is a lot of fun for them. Now for the games themselves I’m going to start from least favorite to favorite. So first of is the Dungeon which is more of a puzzle game than a real dungeon delve. All information is open on the table and it is your job to use each player’s abilities to the fullest. Each player has a sort of event deck in front of them that might spawn some monsters or give you something extra. The games are usually very close towards the end but you have to have a bit of luck towards finding the crown. Do not get me wrong, we really like the game but it is our least favorite of the four. The next one is the Crazy cup. This is a simple race game where you need to try and take the shortcuts whenever possible. You can bump your opponents of the road and use grappling hooks to follow them. It is the shortcuts and cheat cards that make for a real easy game and fun experience. The third one is the Shogun. This is a more tactical game in which the ninja’s are trying to get to the Shogun and while doing so creating an escape that is as close as possible. In the meantime the samurai are trying to render the escapes useless by lighting the brazier in the same garden space. The job of the ninja is the clearest because he has to get to the Shogun and get out. The samurai on the other hand have to find the middle between stopping the ninja by fighting them and lighting the braziers. I love the tension this games brings and the choices you need to make. The last one and our favorite is the Civilization game. You are traversing the land trying to build your civilization. The board is divided in nine regions and you as a player may only have one building of a certain type in a region. The objectives which are both secret and public give you an immediate goal to go for. You are simply trying to score the most points in this game. You can travel across land and across water to accomplish this. There are also philosophers you can hire to help you in your endeavors which might make travel easier or building cheaper and so on. A player can even call upon Zeus himself to strike down one of your opponents. This game is in my opinion the most involving game of the four and because of that our favorite. I can only commend them for doing four games in one and succeeding at it. There is something for everybody’s taste in this game and I for one cannot wait for the next games that use their 2-2-2 system.
Play with Honor