Updated: Dec 21, 2019
The dwarves in this game are not the Lego figures helping out in the 360 photo. It’s the dice that represent the dwarves.
Dwarves: Dig, Delve, Die is a dice placement game. Each turn, players draw a new die, roll all their dice, and then place them on the cards that represent the mine. Dwarves (dice) can be stacked but only on dice of equal or higher value. Once a player has placed out their dice, they take back the lowest visible value die and they ‘delve’ (do what it says on the card). The aim is to be the first player to accumulate five gold.
The rules seem simple, and they are contained on two instruction cards. These could be clearer, however. They miss out on some basics. For example, the gold is in the form of cards. The rules don’t state that the gold cards should be removed from the deck. The gold cards share the same backs as the mine cards, and, without any instruction to remove them, players’ initial instinct is to just shuffle them into the mine deck… Otherwise, most of the instructions on the cards are reasonably clear, although it seems that they have given rise to enough queries to necessitate a four-page FAQ sheet. That shouldn’t put you off: in play, we didn’t find we needed to refer to the FAQ to decode cards.
Dwarves: Dig, Delve, Die makes for a light but entertaining filler for the start or end of a gaming session. The game plays fast and will particularly appeal to players who enjoy ‘take that’ games: many of the cards involve stealing dice, gold or turns from other players. The special dwarf dice are the game’s main attraction, and they are key components rather than mere accoutrements.
The main negative is that Dwarves: Dig, Delve, Die has elements included that mean you have to give the game an adult-only rating. Some of the mine cards are designed to make this a drinking game (cards instruct them to ‘empty your mug’) and one of the cards gratuitously refers to a dwarven brothel. This is a pity because Dwarves: Dig, Delve, Die would otherwise work very well as a family game. With judicious editing of the deck, it still could.