Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Encore is better than not bad

Keeping up with me learning Roll and Writes, I made 2020 the year I learned Noch Mal/Encore. And, yes, I learned it via app and now play it all the time on my phone.

As I’ve already mentioned, NM/E is a Roll and Write. That means you roll some dice and jot something down on a piece of paper. It’s a genre that has exploded over the last few years (While more ‘gamer’ Roll and Writes have around for a while, I’ve read more than one person state Qwixx got the wave going so I guess 2012 was a watershed year?)

The playing sheet in NM/E is a rectangular grid of colored squares and with some stars sprinkled about. There is more than one pattern of sheets which adds a _lot_ or replay value. Every turn, you draft a number die and a color die and scratch off that many squares of that color, as long as they are either attached to another scratched off square or in the middle column.

And, for such a small game, there are plenty of ways to get points. Filling in columns. Filling in all of a color. Scratching off stars.  Not using wilds. You can’t do it all so you will have to prioritize.

NM/E does two things that really make it shine as a Roll and Write, as well as a game. First of all, not only are you making real decisions, you have to plan ahead. You are creating an organically growing mass of checked off boxes and you have to give it room to grow, along with figuring out what points you’re going for. Second, by drafting dice, there is honest to goodness player interaction. In a Roll and Write, that is a big deal in my opinion.

I have seen a number of Roll and Writes that involve drawing shapes. NM/E has you trying to cope with someone else’s shapes, which is a different spin. And it’s a spin that makes sense and is fun. It’s a good little game.

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