Review – Dicey Curves from Matt Worden Games and The Game Crafter, LLC
Designer and Art – Matt Worden
note – thanks to Matt Worden for providing a copy of this game
In March, I had a chance to play and review Matt Worden’s game, Jump Gate which I really enjoyed and Matt has been very busy designing new games, the latest of which is called Dicey Curves,. This game is a bit more earth-bound and is essentially a dice-driven car racing game for 2-8 players age 12+ with the main object, of course, to win the race.
Dicey Curves isn’t going to be an extravagant all sining, all dancing game with top of the line components. Matt Worden publishes his own games and there will always be limitations with what a small publisher can do but as Matt showed with Jump Gate, small companies can still produce nice games and components. Everything comes in a nice cloth bag for starters. I imagine that this is a cost decision over a box but this is fine. Inside, you will find –
8 race car pawns
40 Control chips
36 Track cards
The cards are of a good quality and should stand up to numerous plays (well they better as the race takes place on the cards…). They are colourful and give a sense of terrain but the terrain has no impact. The “roads” that the cars follow are dotted lines with diamond shapes where the cars are placed. Each card is labeled according to the type of road i.e. Straight-away, Gentle Curve, etc. A number of the cards have gates indicated which present you with choices as to which path you will take depending upon the cost.
Its all pretty functional and clear so no problems in understanding the information. I guess that the artwork isn’t what I’d hoped as I’m spoiled by the likes of Rallyman’s looks. Having said that, the art works for me in any case.
The cars are colourful, small and thin but need to be as the game area is on cards so thats fine. The chips and dice are standard.
A folded set of six pages of rules lays things out and I hope you like dice rolling.
Players will control a different amount of cars subject to how many players there are. In a game where players control 1 car, the winner is the first to cross the finish line. If players control more than 1 car, then the total points scored for each car crossing the finish line determines the winner.
The players take turns rolling dice and forming combos (doubles, triples, etc.) to move the cars. A key feature which I really like is the “Exploding Dice” aspect where rolling 6’s allows you to create chances to do more in a single turn.
There are 2 options for setting out the track – through a set number of cards with a start and a finish or in a circular pattern (or I guess whatever pattern you’d like where the star and finish cards are adjacent.
The turn process is as follows –
You start with the 5 white dice then. For each “6” that is rolled, you then can add 1 green die and re-roll the 6 and the extra green die. This can continue until all the green dice are added or no 6’s are rolled.
Control Chips can be played (each player starts with 2) to
add a green die and set it at whatever number desired or to
re-roll any number of dice.
Cars are moved from spot to spot consecutively. Dice are used to move, not according to the numbers on the dice but how you set them up as combos. Doubles can move a car 2 spots, triples can move cars 3 spots, etc. Single die, when individually played will end a turn. You will also need to stop at any gate and play another combo to move beyond it. So you need to think how you best want to optimize how to move your cars to get into a good position or to block other cars, get past gates, etc.
Control Chips can be used to –
continue playing dice after a Single,
“Juke” which allows you to switch positions of 2 cars that are side-by-side on connected Spots, or
Control another Player’s car during a turn.
Additional rules let you gain Control Chips by trading in Combos and you can also make a Turbo Pass if you are stuck behind other cars waiting to pass a Gate.
The rules are simple, written in a clear manner and are supported with examples. The mechanics work well and the game moves along pretty quickly.
Did it work for me?
Dicey Curves is a nice little game. Matt Worden has put together a clever, fun race game that doesn’t take a long time to play, is easy to teach and pick-up, doesn’t need a lot of space, etc. The package and materials are relatively basic but professional and functional and of a good standard. The Exploding Dice mechanic is very good, forcing you to manage your resources of dice effectively and adds a lot to the tension and choices you have to make. Strategy comes in the choices of which combos to play and in what order, when to speed ahead, when to block, and when to trade in for Control Chips and then use them. A nice amount of choices to keep you interested but not take too long.
If you like racing games and rolling dice but with a difference, Dicey Curves is a nice buy.
Boardgames in Blighty rating – 6.5 out of 10
I would say this would work with children 10 + and be good family fun.