Originally designed by Jamey Stegmaier as a print & play game for those in Covid lockdown, Stonemaier Games' published edition of Rolling Realms is a roll & write game for up to six players. The 'Realms' of the game are other board games published by Stonemaier, and tho' Rolling Realms doesn't exactly replicate any of those games, there's enough in each 'realm' to remind you of the source game if it's one you've previously played. If you've not played the board games referred to in Rolling Realms, however, you're not at any disadvantage in playing this roll & write.
Players each have their own identical decks comprising a score card, resource card and 11 Realm cards. One player randomly selects three of the Realm cards, and all players find those in their deck and they're what all will play with in this round. The game comes with two formidably chunky but otherwise standard six-sided dice, and these are rolled by one player but all players make use of the numbers rolled. Each Realm operates in its own distinctive way but you'll be choosing one die to apply to one of the three Realm cards and one to apply to one of the others. Players record rolls and mark dice off directly on the cards using the (supplied) dry-wipe pens.
You'll be marking off dice on the cards in order to claim resources (which you can in turn spend to modify a roll or to buy an extra 'virtual' die roll) but your main aim is to rack up stars. These score at the end of a round (ie: nine pairs of dice rolls), and you rinse and repeat for three rounds.
The net result is a fast-playing roll & write that offers quite wide variation thanks to the different ways each Realm operates. But even tho' each Realm plays differently, that's not at the cost of loading the game with undue complexity: Rolling Realms is easy to learn. With the game's clean graphic design, the iconography is simple, clear and consistent across the Realms, and you'll find the game play mostly intuitive.
Jamey Stegmaier specifically designed Rolling Realms so it can be played in lockdown via Zoom, Discord or similar videolink because players are all making simultaneous use of the same dice roll. And because players are all marking their actions at the same time, the game scales well for different player counts. It shouldn't take any longer with six than with two!
But in addition to the multiplayer game, the Rolling Realms box includes a Solitaire Minigolf roll & write game designed by Morten Monrad Peterson, Karel Titeca and Lieve Teugels. It uses an extra deck of 10 'course cards' in addition to the various Realm cards from the core game. There's a separate 'course log' card for recording your score as you play the 18 holes. Unfortunately, tho' the course card doesn't have the glossy dry-wipe surface of all the other cards. We'd recommend either laminating your course log card for multiple use or using a pencil to fill it in instead of the felt-tip pens that come in the box. The course log otherwise allows for use over just three plays, tho' you can download and print out additional copies from the Stonemaier Games website.
All in all, Stonemaier Games have put together a great value package with Rolling Realms. It's not just for Covid. It's become one of our 'go to' roll & write games. Expect games to run to around 30 minutes. If that's too long to classify as 'filler length', it's nonetheless a compact enough package to make it an ideal travel game. Setting out your three Realm cards, score and resource card doesn't take up a lot of space, so this is a game you can even play on the pulldown trays of your airline seat! Tho' you might just want to substitute a smaller pair of dice to save on your baggage weight allowance :-)