Looking back, I’m surprised that Roll Through the Ages didn’t turn me into a Roll and Write fan. It certainly did a lot more to interest me than Catan Dice, which was my first foray into designer Roll and Writes.
To be fair, it did come out around the same time as Hasbro’s Express line, as well as when dice versions of games like Zooleretto or Bohnanza were coming out. So it was at a time when I was looking at more dice games. Just not necessarily Roll and Write games.
What is hilarious is that, when I first tried Roll Through the Ages, I kept on asking myself ‘this is a game that I’m playing with a sheet of paper and takes less than a half hour. Is this for real?’ Boy, how I and the industry of gaming has changed.
At the time, I really could not consider it not to be a civilization game. And I still can’t. It doesn’t have the scope or breadth that a civilization game requires. I do view it as an engine builder though and that’s prettt cool.
The game is not without its flaws. The basic version (and that’s what I mostly play) has almost no interaction and it can be swingy and there can be runaway leaders.
But the physical game has minimal footprint, it plays fast and you can play it online. The convenience it has outweighs the other issues for me. Thanks to Yucata, it’s a game I’ve been playing almost constantly with long distance friends for years. It isn’t perfect but it keeps on being fun.
But, at the time, I didn’t think oh, a piece of paper is replacing the board, pawns, cards and tokens I’d expect for a game like this. I just thought, hey, neat dice game.