Board gaming is a trend driven industry and publishers have firmly planted roll & write games as the most recent hotness of the late twenty-tens.
There are reasons for this, which I will get into during this article, but none-the-less, it’s worth noting that the market is becoming incredibly over-saturated with roll & write games. But I am getting ahead of myself…
What is a roll and write game?
A roll and write (or flip & write) game consists of rolling a set of dice (or flipping cards) and each player writes a result with pencil or dry erase marker onto a personal or shared sheet or board. After a certain number of rounds or after a specific game-end objective is reached, the points will be tallied and most points wins (typically).
Seems pretty straight forward, in fact you may know a very basic example of this game called Yahtzee, but what makes modern roll & write games so great?
What Makes the Best Roll & Write Games So Special:
1. Flexible Player Count
Looking at the side of the box of many roll & write games, you may notice that the number of players listed is 1-99+. In theory, these games can be played with any number of players, the only requirement is that each player has a pencil and a sheet to write on. Having an unlimited number of players is an amazingly inclusive concept that works extremely well in large groups and at conferences, but let’s take that idea one step further…
2. Network Play
In a time when we are more connected than ever, playing board games is still often reserved exclusively for local play. Since the only requirement to participate in a roll & write game is to have a pencil and a sheet to fill in, you could play these games online very easily. For example, one person can act as the game master and stream the results of the die rolls (or card flips) and all participants fill in their respective sheets. As someone who recently moved from the United States to Japan, it is very nice to be able to sit down and play a game with your mates over Skype.
3. Naturally Divergent Paths
A sign of a good game is having multiple paths to victory so you can employ a unique strategy. Roll & write games are extremely good at taking a simple set of actions and letting you unfold your own strategy. It is an absolute delightful to take a look at the completed sheets and see just how different they all look, despite every player having the same set of dice to choose and the same ways to utilize them.
Board gamers tend to have two major problems when it comes to managing their collections. Their limited shelf space and the financial burden of a very expensive hobby. Roll & write games offer very good value as they typically come in very small boxes and are among the cheapest games on the market, typically less than $20 USD.