Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Knot Dice Review




Quick Look:

Info:
Designer: Matthew O'Malley
Publisher: Black Oak Games
Year Published: 2016
No. of Players: 1-4
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 15-30 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
Knot Dice is one of those creations that likes to defy description. You can play it any number of ways, using any rules you choose, with as many or as few people as you wish to. Or you could instead decide to try and solve one of the puzzles presented to you. Perhaps you eventually toss out the rule book and design your own game! Whatever use you have for them, one thing is for certain: these are not your average dice.





Review:

The dice in question here are not the kind you can use in any other game. Instead of having numbered faces, each side has a unique design. These different designs can be combined in a nearly infinite number of ways to make a variety of Celtic knots. What purpose do these Celtic knots serve? Well, that depends entirely on you!

The deluxe edition is the best deal and comes with an impossibly soft bag.

The standard edition of Knot Dice comes with 18 dice and eight tokens, as well as two separate booklets, each detailing a myriad of games types and puzzles that you can try. The deluxe edition includes 36 dice and a cloth bag. What's really nice is that you don't need the deluxe edition to play the games or puzzles; while there are some variants that use 36 dice, every single game can be enjoyed with the standard edition's 18 dice.

There are twelve games and seven puzzles provided within the booklets, so even if you never toyed with the idea of creating your own challenges, there's plenty for you to do. My personal favorite is "Knot the Whole Story."  Each player takes turns rolling their dice and telling a story as they go, adding twists and turns that correspond to how their dice land. This game and others show just how imaginative players can get with their own games. I've even toyed around with a game idea of my own, which involves building pathways with dice in a small area while attempting to avoid running into others' paths. (I'm a Tsuro nut; sue me.)

"Distance" involves moving the tokens on paths to get them as far away from each other as possible.

The puzzles are equally interesting and varied. They run the gamut, from seeing how many combinations you can make from the same dice faces to seeing how quickly you can make all the faces connect. Some puzzles even require building vertically as well as horizontally, something that simply can't be done with most other puzzle games. And for those of us who enjoy "perfecting" puzzles, you can play puzzles over and over again to solve them in as few moves as possible, and there's even rules in the booklets for easy notation to keep notes on your best runs.

You know, when I asked for a dice tower, this wasn't what I had in mind...

I can say without hesitation that the dice themselves are gorgeous. Their design is sharp, the soft gray acting as a good contrast to the deep, shimmering emerald. They feel very solid and roll great. The tokens are also very high quality, and each one has a front design and blank back, which could come into play in certain games. Both booklets are well designed and give good explanations of how each game works; if you could use some visual help, though, the Black Oak Games YouTube channel (linked below) has excellent video how-to guides.

Shiny...

The deluxe edition includes twice as many dice and a very nice cloth bag. Having 36 dice means that every game and variant is available to try, and the existing games can easily be extended by adding more players or expanding the number of dice per player. As for the dice bag: I don't know my fabrics very well, but it definitely matches the rest of the game's high level of quality. It's also large enough to fit the dice, tokens, and booklets without any worry of the booklets getting damaged.

The bag can easily fit the dice, the booklets - heck, even the box!

The Good:
Knot Dice is a game system, a brainteaser, and an inspirational tool rolled into one. Its immensely high design quality couples with a nearly limitless well of possibilities to make a very strong contender for game nights.

The Bad:
Some of the games presented require the deluxe edition (or at least two standard games) to fully experience everything they have to offer.

Final Thoughts:
Whether you're looking to challenge your friends, perfect a puzzle, design your own game, or just keep your kids occupied out in public, Knot Dice can do it all, and it does so beautifully.

Players Who Like:
Lovers of dominoes or open-ended game systems like Sedis will find Knot Dice an enjoyable addition that brings new elements to the table.

I am giving Knot Dice 8 out of 10 super meeples.

8 10

Check out Knot Dice on:

        

Get your copy of Knot Dice at your FLGS or online.

About the Author:
David Jensen has tried his hand at everything from warehouse work and washing dishes to delivering pizza. Now, he writes reviews and works as an editor for a literary magazine. When not busy procrastinating, he's playing tabletop games with friends and writing fiction.

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