15th May 2022
It's a Sunday and we're logged into Board Game Arena for some online board gaming fun.
Diced Tomatoes, a game about tomatoes that uses dice - what it says on the tin er... box!
Caveat: we've only played this game digitally.
What's in a game?
There's not much art to speak of in Diced Tomatoes, understandably, the minimalist art is red-themed.
How's it play?
On to play
Points are scored in Diced Tomatoes by creating vertical lines of 4 dice (Vines if you will.) in either straights or sets of-a-kind.
In a turn, the active player takes their actions which will involve rolling and placing dice, which may result in them or other players scoring points.
There are 2 criteria that can trigger the game end.
If there are no dice left in the central pool at the end of the active player's turn, then the game immediately ends.
Alternatively, once any player has filled all 6 spots on their scoring board, they score 2 bonus VPs, current round is played out and the game ends.
Players now calculate their finishing scores from the following sources.
Points are tallied, highest score wins.
Despite Diced Tomatoes being a fairly light game with an unusual implementation of trick-taking mechanics (In that you don't really take other players' tricks - well you can ruin them instead!), it does give players lots to think about.
Firstly players will want to create their own vines. The order in which seeding dice are scored can be very important because getting it right will earn bonus points. This is particularly true for the early scoring spaces. A value 1 seeding die earns 6 VPs when placed on the 1 slot but a value 6 seeding die placed on the 6 slot only earns 1 bonus VP.
Secondly, because players can put dice on to the vine tokens and vines of other players, it means that they can try to complete them to gain karma.
Alternatively, they can try and mess with other player vines to disrupt their scoring.
E.g., if another player has a vine with 3 '1s' which they are intending to put into scoring slot 1, adding a 1 value black dice would complete the vine, but the black die would lower the seeding die's value to 0 - wiping that vine out.
Or adding a gold die would add 1 point making the seeding die worth 2 when completed, this means the other player would not gain the star fruit bonus when putting it on scoring slot 1. So while they've gained a VP from the gold die, they've lost the bonus from not matching the scoring slot, collectively losing 5 VPs!
So it seems sometimes, players will want to wipe out their own vines to keep a scoring opportunity open!
As you can see, Dice Tomatoes provides quite a lot of interaction between players and a quite lot of opportunities for 'take that' moves and depending on how you feel about this style of play, may or may not be your kind of thing.
Personally I'm a bit ambivalent about it - especially in a game that's a quick and light filler.
One thing I'm not a fan of is having your vines wiped when your score goes above 6. I know why the rules are that way but it feels a bit mean spirited and counter-intuitive to lose points by gaining points.
Diced Tomatoes is a not difficult to learn, fairly quick to play filler game. Mechanically it's fairly solid and has a unique spin on trick-taking. I'm struggling to find any genuine criticism but then, I'm also struggling to find any reason to play it again.
I feel that the ease in which players can interfere in each other's plans is a bit of a frustration and it left me unengaged. It also feel like it prolongs what could be a short and sweet game.
It's not a bad game but there's just other game's I'd rather play.
Of course YMMV and maybe you'd get more out of it but Diced Tomatoes isn't one for me.
I play, I paint.