Benny takes a look at the upcoming roll and write game by designer Danny Devine, Harvest Dice.
I’ve come to really enjoy gardening. It’s not the easiest thing to do and a lot of it doesn’t pan out. When it does, the results are pretty great! This of course brings me to Harvest Dice, a new roll and write game by Danny Devine published by Grey Fox Games.
I had a chance to playtest Harvest Dice and I must say that it is a lot of fun. Danny has been involved with a couple of my favorite light games: Circle the Wagons and Topiary. He has a great eye for intriguing games and sly options.
In Harvest Dice, players are rolling a number of dice equal to the number of players plus 1 (5 dice in a 4 player game for example). The players draft dice and assign based on color (Cabbage, Carrot, Tomato) by drawing a square, triangle, or circle respectively. The trick is that vegetables have to be grouped. This leads to a puzzly situation as the game only has 18 squares (3 columns, 6 rows) in which the veggies can be placed. The placement is based on the die’s value.
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Let’s say you can’t, or don’t want to, place the die in the garden spaces. You can feed the number of pips to the pig! Mark in the corresponding number of pips to the pig. Filling a pig row grants you abilities that can be used later to help fudge your dice.
After everyone has drafted their dice, the remaining die is marked on all player’s sheets in the lower right Market spaces. This is a multiplier for your veggies in the upper rows.
The game ends when any one of these 3 areas is full (in the market only 1 of the 3 veggie types has to be filled). Then players count up their total number of each vegetable, multiply it by the market, then score points for their fullest row of pigs.
As much as Harvest Dice is a simple game, it has a ton of depth for playing. My wife and I really enjoyed how leaving certain dice could sway the market away from each other or start off a new strategy on the following turn. I often fed the pigs just to see how far that option would carry me. It is a really effective strategy, but does not unbalance the game.
There can be moments of frustration when a player closes off a certain type of veggie. I was notorious for this in our first few plays trying to collect the Cabbages then locking out my Carrots and seeing only Carrots being drawn from the bag repeatedly. At least the pigs got fed!
Overall, I really love this game. Danny continues to design really neat games that have great puzzly moments. The only knock I have is that it does not have a solo mode. Great for families on the go as it’s portable and really fun! Harvest this one at your earliest convenience as it’s ripe and ready!