Review: Harvest Dice

Game Designer: Danny Devine

Game Development: Joshua Lobkowicz

Published by: Grey Fox Games

Art and Graphics: Tyler Myatt & Danny Devine

Play: 2-4 Players, 15 to 30 min

A review copy of Harvest Dice was provided by Grey Fox Games. Many sheets were destroyed writing this review. That makes me sad, but I had fun!

We Rollin’ We Writtin’ We Farmin’

Harvest Dice is a short and sweet roll and write game, that takes two minutes to teach. Today’s review is a detailed walkthrough of the game and hopefully it will help you make an informed purchase.

The Recipe

  • Easy to learn
  • Roll and write
  • Set collection
  • Basic and advanced
  • Plays well at all player counts

Tending to the Garden

The starting player for each round rolls all 9 dice (red, orange, green) at once and drafts a die of their choice. The dice pool is for all players to draft from on their turn until one die is left. The color and number on the die determine where to write on the sheet. There are two actions a player has on their turn, plant in the garden or feed the pig.

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Each player gets a sheet with a pencil. Dice get rolled and this is the dice pool for the round. Nice pig first player marker.

The plant in the garden action is straightforward. Every die color represents a specific vegetable. Green dice are lettuce, orange are carrots, and red are tomatoes. Let’s say the first player in a 4 player game and chooses a red four. Find the column with the number four and draw a tomato-like shape in one of the three available column slots. The first time one of each vegetable type is planted, there is no restriction on placement. Matching veggies afterwards must be planted orthogonally (left, right, up, down) to the last one. So what happens when you can’t plant a vegetable?

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Tip: try to plant at least one of your first vegetables in the middle of  a column. You have more choices on future turns.

When you can’t plant in the garden, the lil’ piggy will chomp the useless vegetable dice and give them purpose. With the feed the pig action, you can take a unplantable number six lettuce die and cross out six circles in the first row of the pig area. The feed the pig action, it’s all about the number on the die being placed. For each row that’s filled, a lil’ pig power is activated! Starting on the next turn and future turns, players can activate the pig power to modify the die plus or minus one. Multiple pig powers can be used on the same turn, which gives you more freedom to modify dice in a pinch as the game comes to a close. Harvest Dice does a great job of blending simple actions into an on point thematic experience.  I appreciate a good theme on roll and write game!

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I have a six carrot die that has nowhere to go. What do I do? Feed it to the pig!

You have the option to grab dice that they can’t place on purpose, which is something I missed a couple times.

These Little Veggies Went to the Market

Everyone is rollin’ and pickin’ and one of the dice is left over, what happens? There will always be one left over at the end of the round. Whichever color die is left, the matching color market gets one mark. Each mark represents a multiplier for the end game. The market makes or breaks the game for anyone who is too invested in one vegetable market. Each player has multiple opportunities during the game to choose between the last two dice of a round. Other than the planting of vegetables, setting up the market in your favor is the biggest struggle of the game. Everyone will be looking at each others sheets, trying to figure out the best option for themselves. Take a look at the pictures below to show you how this works.

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End Game

There are three ways to trigger the end game.

  1. All three rows of the garden are filled
  2. Pig area is completely full
  3. One of the three markets is full

The rest of the round is played out when the end game triggers.

Scoring is short and sweet. The garden scores 5 points for each row complete. The pig pen scores for the highest value of the last row completed. Lastly, players count up each vegetable and multiply it by the matching color in the market. Total all the scores on the little boxes. Highest score wins!

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Scoring: I completed one row for 5 points. 10 points for my last pig row. Carrots 24 points (4 x6) + Lettuce 9 points (3 x 3) + Tomato 18 points (9 x 2) for a total of 66 points. I lost…trust me I had my revenge!

Advanced Farmin’

Harvest Dice comes with two sets of pads. One for the basic game and the other for advanced. A couple differences of the advanced game:

  1. The pig power allows you to change the color of dice and modify the dice like the normal game. More choice equal more strategy!
  2. In the base game,each market starts with one box marked. In the advanced game all markets are blank. This leaves the chance of having zero as an end game multiplier.
  3. A five point bonus is given to the player with the most of each vegetable and filling in the most pig spots.

The advanced game is probably the preferred way to play, after a first or second playthrough. The basic might be used for family play or a younger gamer.

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Notice the 5 point ribbons by the pig and each market. Bonus points go to the player for having the most marks in the pig area and the most for each vegetable.

The Verdict

Harvest Dice does everything just right. The biggest hooks for this game are replayability and value. With 100 sheets a piece for the base and advanced games at $14.99 MSRP is kind of a no brainer pick. I believe there is enough strategy and choices present to keep gamers interested beyond a couple plays. My lunch group played it for a week and none of us ever felt “the fun” fading away. Harvest Dice is the type of game to pull out at a family event, lunch time, or on a vacation. I think it’s a good  filler on game nights, but you would know your crew better than me. Hopefully you can find a copy for Thanksgiving or toss it in as a stocking stuffer. Thanks for your time!

I hope you enjoyed today’s review. If you have any questions, please comment below. Please feel free to follow the blog or on Twitter @jambapg

 

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