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Roll in One

Nowadays if you put the word Roll into the title of a game then people immediately expect it to be a 'roll & write'. Not so here. For sure, you'll be rolling dice but the only writing you'll be doing is players' scores on each of the holes played, because Roll in One is a golf-themed game. The game is designed by Randy O'Connor, with art by Thomas Ketchen.

Roll in One comes with a selection of multi-hex tiles used to design each hole. The player holding the first player token gets to lay out the tiles any way they like in order to design the hole - and, with 3–5 players, the game ends when each player has had a turn as first player. With two players, the rules suggest each takes two turns at designing a hole (and there's a solo game option which is played across three holes). The holes will comprise a number of hexes depicting different golf course terrain (fairway, rough, sand, water and trees).

The clever device in Roll in One is the use of poly dice to represent the different golf clubs, from a Putter (d4) through to a Wood (d20). All six dice are custom designed with a mix of numbers and easy-to-understand symbols. You position your ball to show the direction of your strike, you choose your die (club) and you roll it. It may be initially counterintuitive but you don't, however, just roll the die and move the number shown. Regardless of the number rolled, you move one hex for each roll and you keep re-rolling the same die until you roll a number that fails to beat your last rolled number. Terrain only takes effect when your turn ends on that hex (that makes sense because your ball is treated as in the air until it lands). The exception is the trees terrain, which can interrupt your drive (if you roll a triangle when over a tree hex). This all makes perfect sense, so that Roll in One becomes something of a push-your-luck game over your choice of club (die): you can go much further with a Wood (d20) or 4-Iron (d12) than a 9-Iron (d8) but you've a higher probability of overshooting the green and incurring a penalty token. Both the Wedge (d6) and 4-Iron (d12) give you a 1 in 6 chance of rolling an icon that changes the direction of your drive, which can be very helpful - and, in most layouts, could be your only chance of scoring the 'hole in one' that the game title plays off.

Scoring for each hole isn't the number of rolls or turns you've taken, it's the number of penalty tokens you've taken (for example, by your ball going out of bounds or landing in a water hex) plus the number of players that are closer to the hole than you at the point when a player sinks their ball. Obviously, the game is won by the player with the lowest score after all the holes have been played.

Played just with the dice in this way, there's a good trade-off between luck and judgement - in the sense that there's a judgement call in playing the odds over what you roll. However, Roll in One also incorporates unique special abilities for each player and caddy cards which can be used to give you an advantage. The rules suggest each player is dealt two caddy cards at the start of the game and gains a further card each hole. These add various twists that you can play either to help yourself or hinder an opponent. The character and caddy cards add a fun element that you'll enjoy if you're playing Roll in One as a multigenerational family game but you will find some to be hugely overpowered in comparison to others. For example, the Héctor character card allows you to curve the ball in any direction, which gives that player a massive advantage in comparison, for example, with the Gus character whose special ability is that his ball cannot be moved by other balls (an ability which can actually be unhelpful, as there will be occasions when it's good to have your ball struck by another and moved on). The caddy cards can be equally swingy - but perhaps that's only to be expected in a golf-themed game.

We had a lot of fun tho' using the caddy cards as a way of handicapping players - so, for example, if adults play with kids then the kids can be given more caddy cards to give them an edge over the calculate-the-odds adults. The rules offer several ideas for changing the game up. We particularly liked the option to start each player off with six handicap points that players can spend over the course of the game to modify die rolls (for example, spending 2 points to change a 4 to a 2 or a 6).

Here on Board's Eye View we've shown a preview prototype of Roll in One. The game is due to come to Kickstarter on 20 October. Click here for details of the KS campaign.

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