Dice and Ink Volume 1 is an anthology of roll and write games comprising of multiple designers and published by Inkwell Games.

Roll and writes are hot at the moment. It seems every game is coming out with a roll and write version of its self and everyone is going mad for them. This is partly due to the accessibility, portability and fun gameplay. Yet having lots of roll and writes can take up space on your shelf.

The Dice and Ink anthology aims to help with this. It is a bound book comprising of 10 roll and write games featuring a range of player counts, complexity and challenges so you can pick and choose what type of roll and write you want to play to suit your mood, gaming group and experience.

In part 1 I am going to give my final thoughts on Scrapyard Rollbots (designed by Sarah and Will Reed) and Lost at Sea (designed by Joe Montgomery).

Be sure to check out their kickstarter when it is launched.

Lost at Sea – Final Thoughts

An 11 year old is stranded on an island after a shipwreck. The island is made up of floating trash in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is dirty, fresh water is a rare, there is no food or shelter. Can she survive? Does she have what it takes it build a raft out of trash and escape before her health and hygiene dwindles?

Lost at Sea is a single player game where you assign your dice to various actions. Actions include increasing you health or hygiene, collecting scrap to build objects, collecting food and building objects. At the end of the action phase players drink water, check their hygiene level and eat fish, assuming they have any. You have 14 days to survive, build a raft and escape the island.

Lost at Sea could almost be described as Robinson Crusoe the roll and write. It has that same decision making aspect of needing short term items and resources vs. planning for the future. The collecting scrap and building items is an fun pattern building game in itself. When collecting you take two die and roll them assigning one of them to a material (metal, plastic or wood) and one to a shape. These shapes can be used to complete an object that then has to be built with another action. The various objects give you additional bonuses throughout the game like improving the quality of your drinking water or helping you collect more fish.

There is a decent amount of gameplay in this roll and write. The choices can be tough at times but it is very engaging and very enjoyable. You win the game by completing your raft but your score is based on a number of factors to give you a final score. This final score will determine if/how well you survive. So it is not just a simple case of building your raft as quickly as possible as you will not survive the journey. As I found out the hard way. A great fun, interesting and enjoyable game.

Scrapyard Rollbots – Final Thoughts

Scrapyard Rollbots is another single player game where your goal is to build a robot better than your competition, Rick. It is played over two phases, phase one – collecting parts and phase two – adding the fancy stuff.

You roll five dice and use two (e.g. three and a four) to assign a grid coordinate (e.g. row three, column four) on the six by six gridded player board. This becomes the location of your part. Another two dice (e.g. two and a five) are added together to form the part and this is written in the location selected from the first two dice (e.g. seven is written in row three, column four). In the grid there will are two numbers (e.g. three) which indicate the value of the part. The left number is used for the player. So the value of the part is written on to space on your Rollbot. (e.g. on your Rollbot part number seven a value of three is written).

The final die is used for your competitor Rick. The die will correspond to a row and you get to select one of the locations on that to assign to Rick. The space is crossed off and the value (right hand number) of the part is written in Ricks column.

Once a player has collected all 12 parts then phase two – the fancy stuff can happen. Players check if they have met any of the requirements and if they have they circle the corresponding space on their Rollbot. Any parts with fancy stuff score double points at the end of the game.

Scrapyard Rollbot is a quick playing fun game. Maximising your points scoring potential is a neat puzzle that you can try again and again due to its quick play time. Also, you get to build a robot and who doesn’t want do that right?

Please note – Lost at Sea and Scrapyard Rollbots were provided as a print and play review copy from Inkwell Games.