Someone gained his wealth through hard work. Others inherited their riches from an uncle in America or Canada. And someone just prefers reading books and does not care about earthly wealths. Such is the life of monks. You have become one of them and you are trying to get the most valuable books just for you. Greedy you!
But wait, its not reality, its a game. We are talking about essentially a lightweight version of the popular strategy board game Biblios, which we have not had (unfortunately) tried yet. This game was in its original version (2007) published under the title Scripts and Scribes. But when it changes publisher in 2010 to French company IELLO, its name has changed to the now famous Biblios.
And here we can find a connection, that is hidden from your first glance. Scripts and Scribes have subtitle The Dice Game in its name, which usually indicates a lighter version of big games. And its same here, although the game was originally created as a result of completely random unused sets of dice. The author is the same as in Biblios and his name is Steve Finn.
The game is hidden in relatively inconspicuous, small and oblong box. You will find an empty abbey chamber with an empty chair and a table covered with scrolls on its cover. There are lit candles on the table, but their light comes in vain, because everyone ran off to play Scipts and Scribes: The Dice Game. At least that is our assumption. All in all, this game will not be sold and judged by its cover.
And you would probably not buy it immediately, even if you have a chance to look inside. Three-part folded game board contains only six towers depicted, each with ten floors, and this plan is not wearing any complex graphics. Likewise, money cards come in five different values from one to ten and contain only a simple image with pile of gold coins. So do not wait any graphic orgy, just simple and functional graphics.
To sum contents of the box for todays reviewed game, we have to mention also wooden cubes in five colors (for each player one set) and one wooden figure. But wait! We lack the dice! And here is finally our impression getting better. The most important part of the game received proper care and you will find seven white dice with different colored symbols on them. Their importance should remain a mystery for now. Another five dice are simple colored, but with classic pips on all sides from one to six. These are not for rolling!
Packaging is completed with one overview card and finally the rules. On the one hand of the help card, you can find game preparation, which will you need for the first two games, until the system goes into your blood. The other side shows the course of the game, and recalls the basic options of players. Rules booklet is clear and concise.
Scripts and Scribes: The Dice Game is a game, where dice will play a major role and you will use them in more roles, than you would expect. Actually everything is square (except rectangular game board) – dice, wooden dice players and cards.
When you prepare a game board, you only put it to the center of the table. You put all the classic dice on it, according to color of each pyramid in the upmost floor. Color should match the silhouette drawn in the dome. And because there are three pips visible at the top of the drawn dice, you should also rotate each dice with three dots side up.
Each player gets a set of wooden cubes of one color. He will keep only one of them, which will resemble his color for other players. Other cubes will be put into the base of each tower – each player places one in each track and on the position corresponding to the number of players (first, second, third or fourth floor). You will use the lowermost floor only with two players, with three you already start on the second step and so on.
Each of your opponents gets some cash in the form of three value one cards, two twos and one of a value three. One player takes the pawn, which marks him as a starting player. The others receive some extra money as a compensation for their order. The starting player rolls all the white dice. Thus begins the game.
At the base of each tower, you can easily see the symbol, corresponding to those drawn on the white dice. Well, not all of them, because if you look carefully on them, you could determine, that two of them are quite distinct. Gold and purple ones. But the other five are exactly the same and have of those towers on each side.
Roll of the dice determines everything, that will happen throughout the turn. The most important for a beginning is golden dice. If there is a numeral on it, nothing happens. In other cases, it may cause for example the auction. But we will get to that later in the article. The sixth symbol allows active player to re-roll any number of dice of his choice, to better suit his actual plans.
Now active player can keep one group for himself – only dice of the same color. It can therefore be only one dice, or any group of other dice, which have the same color on them. All other not selected dice are passes to the next player to his left. He will choose one group for himself and passes them on. Players alternate in keeping dice until none is left.
If the player chose colored dice with one kind of tower color, he can move his cube in this column up. By that many levels, as is the nubmer of dice in that color in his possession. If he took the golden dice with the number, he immediately get gold for it according to shown number. And now all that remains to solve for you is that mysterious purple cube, which is wearing some strange symbols with plus and minus on them.
Now it’s time to meet the first deferred promise. We shall give meaning to those dice quietly laying in the arcade at the top of each tower, with a starting value of three. A player, who takes a purple dice, can change value of any them (one or two) in the direction indicated by the mathematical symbol on the dice. Oh yes, change, that is what we are talking about. Making other players furious!
Some pyramid levels are marked with money symbols. First player, who reaches this point, will be rewarded in the form of the leftmost not collected amount. The runner-up receives second award in the order, while other players will be left without a bonus. Most important is the order, in which the cubes climb, because only one player can get a real bundle of points at the end of the game. The one who is not afraid of heights!
But it is still a long journey full of auctions till this state. There are a total of two auctions in the game – one with increasing bet and the other with less usual decreasing one. Let’s start with the more traditional, which is represented by the symbol of judicial gavel. It brings to its winner reward in the form of all symbols on the available dice. This auction will only occur, when you roll on a gold dice with symbol of the gavel. Players then bid money and highest bid takes it all.
The second auction is much more interesting and at the same time something, that is not such common in other games. Players can sell one of their bricks on the board and completely remove it from the game. Although this vacates players position in a column, he will get a reward for it in cash instead. How much? It depends on how low you are willing to go. Offer starts at ten and players gradually reduce the amount until a winner is known. It is a player content with the lowest amount of gold for removal of his from any tower dice.
The game ends, when player reach the top in three columns, or as soon as one of dice runs up to the top of priest tower- the only one without a dice on top. This is located on the right side of the board and your position there solves any possible draws. Rivals now collect money for the positions in each of the towers. The first player gets amount calculated by multiplying dice value by three, then the second one gets precisely its value (no multiplication). The player with the highest profit in his pocket wins the whole game.
Scripts and Scribes: The Dice Game is a very addictive game, which is in itself perfectly balanced entertainment. But all of this is made with a great initial idea – using dice to move up the towers, with schizophrenic reversal in scoring, when each tower is worth only points shown on the dice on top. And this value is determined only by players themselves.
Opponents are trying to continually increase the value of dice in their towers (the one, where they are in first place), but at the same time keep opponent ones as low as possible. But while doing that, the dice must be chosen very carefully, because your opponents can take the other ones you want for themselves, before they return back to you again.
In multiplayer, each contender gets to select from dice twice tops and the second time, he has only limited selection of only a few dice, which are left. Sometimes, however, even all players may not get their turn to take dice, when rolling player is extremely lucky. But three players gets to choose always (three dice types).
The game is obviously strongly influenced by random rolling of symbols. But the position of the thrower is changing with each turn, so players always have a chance to choose, what is best for them. And in other turns, they usually have a choice too, even if they did not throw the dice.
It is interesting, that all the information in the game except finances are public. Players always know very well, which columns are important for their rivals, and can easily steal those dice. But there is a price – they have to sacrifice the dice, which they want for themselves.
A great experience is enhanced by both auctions, which have a great influence on the experience from the game. Players must be willing to say goodbye to some of wanted dice in exchange for other ones and they should also know, when its important for them to spend money on all the dice in auction. Sometimes, dice have values that you find extremely useful.
In the original rules, there is a card money limit in hand, and is set to ten. But the author himself cancelled later this limitation and it is not recommended to play with it. So you can have any number money cards in your hand. Therefore, we did not use it either and the limit is not mentioned in rules section.
Scripts and Scribes: The Dice Game is a great game, that may try to push you away with its less attractive appearance. But inside lies a game, which is tremendously fun and does not take very long. It offers variability and difficult decisions, that belong to similar games. If you have read the text here, you have probably realized, that we have no other choice, but to send you straight to the store to buy one!
Scripts and Scribes: The Dice Game is essentially a simple dice game, where lots of interesting strategic decisions is waiting for you. Do not let rather blunt graphic processing fool and daunt you, because there is very interesting game hidden beneath. Different types of dice mean different choices. Mostly you goal is simple – to climb with your monks (cubes) as high as possible in all towers on the board. At least higher, than others are. You can achieve this only by using dice with correct color symbols. But price of every tower is expressed in victory points and it is changing according to value of dice on top of towers. To gain money and points, you can use also a reverse auction, when players are outbidding them by lowering reward for removing one of their cubes from towers. Everything shifts up and down in this game. The only thing, which will go higher and higher is your excitement and fun, which originates in the game!