Friday, July 21, 2023

Spots is more than just rolling dice

I will be honest, I don’t feel I’ve explored or played Spots enough to really give it a decent commentary. I’m doing it because it lets me compare it to Alfred’s Wyke, a kooky and underrated abstract lol

Spots is a family dice game themed arijnd Dalmatians. You are trying to place dice  on cards that show cartoony Dalmatian dogs whose spots are different dice pips. And if that’s all there was to Spots, it would be instantly forgettable.

But, as you can tell by my foreshadowing, there is more to it than that. Spots is an action selection game. Players pick actions, which can be draw a dog card or roll two dice, then choose to roll one die. Not every action actually involves rolling dice!

Dice you can’t roll go in your yard (buried because we are talking about dogs here) If their value goes over seven, your yard and incomplete dogs get wiped.

First player to finish six dogs wins.

There’s more going on in Spots than I expected. While the direct dice manipulation is limited to bones that let you reroll, the different actions make the game a lot more interesting than I expected and I think a face-to-face play would be fun.

And, as I mentioned, it made me think of Alfred’s Wyke because both have action selection that only resets when you’re down to one action. Other than that, they have absolutely nothing in common lol

Alfred’s Wyke is an abstract that was originally published in Games magazine but got a second chance at life via Super Duper Games. It’s never been published and I bet that the game was designed using upside down Scrabble tiles. It’s a unique design that deserves more life.

I should see if Super Duper Games is still online.

And back to Spots and my actual issue with it.

However, I learned Spots via solitaire mode which has you play against an automata opponent. While not my favorite way to play, a good automata can be a lot of fun. In Spots, it’s roll a die, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for making informed choices. 

Some games just don’t work as solitaires. I know that having a solitaire mode has become a major selling point but sometime, the answer is just no.

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