There are an entire gaming trunk full of games which come down to getting a desired number of pieces in a row, Pente perhaps being one of the better known.
The sub-genre of games also includes getting pieces in a row that have a specific value, which brings us to Doce.
Doce is a game where players place their dice into a 5X5 grid attempting to be the first to create a line of four with the upward facing numbers on those four dice totalling 12.
Of course there are a few twists to that simple goal.
You may also win with three of your own in a row and one of your opponent’s die at either end.
There are also restrictions on dice placement.
After playing a die, there is a marker to place on top of it, so you know which one you played last. On your next turn, you can’t place the new die on any of the squares adjacent to your own marked die – a no-play zone. Each player has their own no-play zone, and are independent of each other.
Each player also has one blocker die. Once it is played it effectively breaks up any line of die it is a part of. Knowing when to use the blocker can be a huge part of a good strategy.
Score the round and start the next one. The person with the most points at the end of the fourth round wins the game.
The scoring here is rather neat in that there is more to it than going for a simple win.
The winner does get 12 points for winning the round, but can add two-points if all four dice are yours; add five-points if you did not use your blocker die; and add one-point for each empty square on the board.
You score negative two-points for every three of your dice with the same number.
The game has some nice depth, although you quickly learn the first player should opt for the centre square as that move controls four rows or one-third of the board.
Of course in playing four games, each starting two, the advantage gained is mitigated.
I should digress to say the wooden board with slots for the dice is great, the score tracker matches nicely, and the dice are easy to read so component wise Doce is great.
Out of the box, with the rules above, the game is pretty solid.
Head over to www.smartiguanagames.com where you can find a number of variants which push Dice from pretty solid, to top notch.
Two of the more interesting variants to explore has a game starting with a black die in the dominant centre square, and then play as normal, (although players have no blockers to use in game).
A second variant has you roll a die, and for the ensuing game neither player can use that number when placing a die.
With great components, solid variants to enhance replay, and small package for ease of transport, Doce is a winner.
Thanks to Trevor Lyons and Adam Daniels for helping with play-through.