Dale Yu: Review of Walking in Burano Roll & Write

Walking in Burano Roll & Write

  • Designer: Wei-Min Ling
  • Publisher: EmperorS4
  • Players: 1-4
  • Age: 10+
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Played with review copy provided by publisher

Says the publisher: “The citizens of Burano, a picturesque island in Venice, are known for their creative flair in decorating their houses, making them a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike.  Players select dice of different colors to decorate the houses with plants, curtains, chimneys… and of course, the annoying cats. This version maintains the neat scoring from the original game and adds a unique gaming experience of roll and write.  Based on the different decorations on the houses, tourists and inhabitants evaluate the players with points. At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins.”

Walking in Burano is one of the many interesting small games from EmperorS4; and I was delighted to see that there is a new roll and write version of the game – though interestingly, it comes in nearly an identical sized box as the original!

In this version, each player gets a game sheet, a record sheet, and 2 boat tokens in their color.  There are 4 different 10-page blocks of sheets, and it’s recommended that each player get their own game sheet. Note that each sheet comes with two features already circled – be sure not to miss these!  The record sheet offers a place to track coins as well as providing a reference for each player.   The box inserts are used as dice stands, and there is a matching die for each of the six colored holding spaces.  

In each round, the starting player rolls the 6 dice and places each on the matching colored space on the board.  Then there is a snake draft, starting with the current starting player to place a boat underneath a die of their choice.  The player either uses the die he is underneath or flips his boat over to take 2 coins. If a player chooses an already chosen die, all players who have previously chosen that die gain a coin.  Players cannot choose the same die twice.  If you need to modify the number, you can mentally do so by spending a coin – and the dice wrap around so a single coin can be used to change a 6 into a 1.

When a die is used, you must circle a feature of matching color – but each of the features has different rules:

  • Cat – 1st floor: 1,2;  2nd floor: 3,4,  3rd floor: 5,6
  • Chimney – write the number underneath the chimney, but all chimneys must have different numbers
  • Curtain – red: odd number, blue: even number
  • Plant – fill in the number under the plant; cannot use a number larger than one previously written under a plant in that building
  • Streetlamp – circle the streetlight only if the number on the die matches the number on the streetlight

Finally, players choose to invite a character or not.  You spend 3 coins to invite a character.  If you choose not to invite a character, gain a coin instead.  There are 10 different characters, and if you choose to invite one, write the letter of that character under a building in an empty space.  Each provides a different endgame scoring bonus.  You can only invite a character once per game, and you can only invite one character per round.

Now check to see if the game end is triggered.  If a player has just invited their fifth character, the game enters the final round.  Continue to play otherwise.

Scoring is done at the end of the game by calculating the points scored for each invited character.  The player with the highest total wins.  Ties broken in favor of the most coins leftover on the record sheet.

My thoughts on the game

Well, the first thing that strikes me about the game is that is surely feels similar to Walking in Burano – though there are obviously differences in how you play each game.  Here, the dice control most of the action with you using two color/number combinations each round.

The scoring sheets are cleverly set up so that each of the different values are desirable at most times in the game; oftentimes, the harder decision is WHICH two dice are you going to take from the six options available.  Sometimes, you’ll choose something in order to avoid giving an opponent a free coin; though if you are early in turn order, you might try to choose a value you think will be popular in order to get said coins. As each player should have a different organization of colors and features on their sheet, each player already starts the game with different wants and needs, and this dampens any first player advantage.  

Coins are very important as you need them to invite characters (to get end game scoring bonuses) but they are also used to modify a die roll by 1.  I have found that usually modifications only require a single coin, because the cost of using more than 1 coin is usually too high for me to stomach – though as the game reaches the endgame, you might as well use the coins that you have as they are only a secondary tiebreaker otherwise…

There is a bit of indirect interaction with the awarding of coins to earlier placed boats; but other than that, it’s essentially simultaneous solitaire.  You will spend most of your time examining your board trying to figure out which features you want to circle and which characters you want to invite.  Unlike the previous version, there is no competition for the characters, theoretically all players could invite the same character to their particular sheet.  The tension in the race for the characters in the original game is therefore not found here – admittedly there were multiple copies of each type, but you were not guaranteed of getting the scoring card you wanted in the original.

The artwork is done by the same artist and unsurprisingly looks nearly identical to that of the original game.  It is colorful and appealing, and I have found that I really enjoy the work of Maisherly Chan.  The box insert is used in a nice way to both hold the dice and order the placement of the boat tokens; though in the end it isn’t actually essential to the gameplay.  (As I really enjoy both versions of the game, I’m strongly considering placing one laminated sheet of the four types, the dice, and the rules in my Walking in Burano box to keep both together in one place.)

Games take 20-30 minutes, and I have found that my 4p game went a bit faster than my 2p games – I think this is because there is a higher probability of getting coins as you have more opponents and therefore more boats possibly placed underneath you in the die selection phase.  The solo game has a different timer so it’s hard to compare to the multiplayer version.  If you play the solo version, your goal is simply to score as best you can and then compare to a chart.

If you’re a fan of Walking in Burano, this game is a nice way to play a very familiar feeling RAW, yet one that is different enough to still stand on its own.  If you’ve never played the original, this is a really nice way to experience the ideas and artwork, and I would definitely recommend it to that crowd as well.

Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

  • I love it!
  • I like it. Dale Y
  • Neutral.
  • Not for me…

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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1 Response to Dale Yu: Review of Walking in Burano Roll & Write

  1. WEI CHANG says:

    Thank you for the detailed review! Putting contents in 2 boxes sounds like a clever way to solve the space problem!

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