- Designer: Ralf zur Linde
- Artist: Anna Pätzke
- Publishers: Schmidt Spiele & Stronghold Games
- Players: 1-4
- Time: 30 minutes
- Times Played: 5
“How many damn roll and writes are going to be made?!?!”
-Brandon Kempf April 2018
Well, what’s this? I’m back again with another roll-and-write review? This time we are going to take a look at the newest roll-and-write from Schmidt Spiele and designer Ralf zur Linde — the designer of Finca and Animals on Board — Dizzle. Before anyone asks, I have no idea what the word dizzle actually means. I thought maybe it was German slang, or something, but I can’t find anything that doesn’t link back to Snoop Dogg or some kind of real estate service.
What I do know is that Dizzle is a roll-and-write that is played over a set number of rounds, where the players have a collection of dice that are rolled and then everyone will take turns selecting a die, re-rolling all the dice, or passing on their turn. All in the hopes of scoring the most victory points by marking off spaces on their player sheets, of which there are four different sheets representing four different levels of difficulty.
Dizzle is really simple. A round consists of every player getting a turn rolling the dice, with players taking multiple actions selecting dice during each turn. At the beginning of the round, the first player rolls all the dice and separates them by value.The start player then chooses one of the available dice and places it on their sheet according to the placement rules as their action.
- It must be placed on an unused field (no X).
- The number on the spot must match the die number.
- The first die placed, must be place adjacent to a previously used field (with an X).
- The next die place must be vertically or horizontally adjacent to a die placed this turn
- The players must take a die if possible.
When it is your turn to select a die, if there is nothing available to choose from that you can use, you may choose to re-roll all of the dice currently available. If, after you re-roll, there is a die you can use, you must put it on your sheet. On the other hand, if there is no die that you can use, one of the dice from your sheet must be removed and put back into play for the other players.
You can also choose to drop out, if you would like to do that instead of re-rolling the dice. If you drop out, you are out of the current turn and cannot take more dice, even if someone were to re-roll the dice and add something you could use. The turn ends when all the dice have been chosen or everyone has chosen to drop out. The last player in the round may choose one more die before the turn ends.
When the turn ends, the players will then remove their dice from their sheets and mark an X on each spot that was covered, pass the dice to the next player to roll, and continue play. Each time the original first player rolls the dice, a new round begins. You play a set number of rounds based on the number of players. After that final round, players will total up their scores based on the scoring criteria of the sheet that they played, and the player with the highest score is the winner.
There are four different sheets that players can use. Players all have to use the same sheet during a game. The variability of the game comes from these sheets. The first level is of course the most basic, nothing really too difficult to understand. Each level adds a new item or two, so by the time you get to level four, there are a lot of different things going on. Each sheet will have the scoring on the right side of it, so everything is easy to see and figure out. Even the most complex sheet is pretty self-explanatory.
First up, let’s talk availability. Currently Dizzle is available from Schmidt Spiele, and I purchased my copy from Amazon Germany for a very reasonable price. It is coming to North America from Stronghold Games as well, but reportedly will not be in stores until mid-June, with pre-orders via the Stronghold Games website sometime in May. I am really glad that Stronghold has been working with Schmidt Spiele to bring these games over, I just wish there was a way to do the releases simultaneously, instead of having the North American market about six months behind.
Dizzle is a fantastic roll-and-write, and that all comes from those different levels of the scoring sheets. The first level is a basic introduction to the game, something to teach new players. Once you are past that is where most of the fun and excitement can be found. Each level adds a new twist or two. You may have Locks on the sheets. With those, you may only mark the lock off if you have also previously marked off the key. Trick is, you can’t do that on the same turn, you must have marked the key off on an earlier turn, before placing a die on the lock. Each level also has Bombs on the sheets. The bombs are a race, the first person to get the bomb marked off causes the other player’s bomb to blow up, giving them negative points at the end of the game. There are also Rocket Ships that will take you to distant Planets, aka other parts of the sheet that are more isolated. There are an assortment of gems to mark off that give players varying points, there are flags to race to in order to score more points than the next player to get to the flag, and then there is the Brown Field, also known as the Poop Field around here, which is kind of tricky. If you mark a Brown Field, you will gain negative points at the end of the game, but you want to mark things next to the field. Remember, if there is a die in the die pool that you can use, you must use it, so a lot of times you’ll be stuck and end up having to mark that field. There are ways to lose that die, if you are careful and the opportunity arises. There are other things going on for the sheets scoring-wise, but I’ll leave you to discover them.
The playtime listed on the box may be a bit short, especially when playing with four players. You can end up with turns lasting a bit longer, because of the re-roll option and players taking chances that maybe they shouldn’t have really taken. You know which numbers you can use, and sometimes it isn’t worth that one in six chance to get that three. Sometimes it’s better to just drop out.
Dizzle is ultimately a very clever game, and each level almost feels like a new game. The variability in Dizzle kind of reminds me of what Schmidt Spiele has done with Noch Mal. I wonder just how many different levels are already in the works and how many pads of player sheets we’ll end up buying in the long run.
Dizzle is another German game that should be in the Spiel des Jahres conversation. It’s really easy to teach and it has that built-in variability. It kind of checks those SdJ boxes and I have to think that given some positive German press, this may stand a chance at a nomination, or at least get a recommendation. Sadly, I’m not on that committee, otherwise I could speak with a bit more conviction on that, but as it is, Dizzle may end up being my favorite roll-and-write this side of Ganz Schön Clever and Doppelt so Clever.
Dizzle does have a solo mode, I have not played it yet, so all of my thoughts are from playing this with two or more people, most of the time with a full four.
Thoughts from the Opinionated Gamers:
Chris Wray: An excellent roll-and-write that feels like four roll-and-writes in one. The third level is certainly my favorite, though I have enjoyed all four. I could see this getting an SdJ nomination or recommendation.
Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers:
I love it. Brandon Kempf
I like it. Chris Wray
Not for me…