Disclaimer: This preview is from a prototype copy of the game that was provided by Galactic Raptor Games to Open Seat Gaming, but opinions are our own based on several plays of the game.
Disclaimer 2: Marti is now a social media contractor for Weird Giraffe Games and Galactic Raptor Games and, even though she didn’t write this review, wanted to make sure that was clear for reasons of transparency.
Game: Roar and Write!
Publisher: Galactic Raptor Games
Design: Carla Kopp
Art: Anna Bereza, Danny Devine, Katy Grierson, Jon Merchant
Mechanisms: Dice rolling, Push your luck
Number of Players: 1 – 100
Game Time: 15 – 20 minutes
Description: Roar and Write is a roll and write game set in the universe of Animal Kingdoms (also by Galactic Raptor Games). Dice are rolled and shared by all players who are attempting to piece together offerings for the Animal Kingdom Selection Council members, to win their favor. After 5 ages, the player with the most points is declared the new ruler!
The game is setup by shuffling the council member cards and selecting random ones of certain animal types based on what difficulty the players wish to use. Each player is also dealt a personal agenda card that has 2 ways for them to personally score bonus points at the end of the game.
Each age takes place over 3 rounds, with all 6 dice being rolled each round. Players then write up to 6 of those results in their offering spaces for the current age, trying to appease the requirements of one of the Council Member cards. Players can also write 1 unused die value into one of their kingdoms (if it matches the kingdom’s requirement) each round. They can write additional values into their kingdom by crossing out spaces in their offering area for that age for each extra die value written into a kingdom.
If a player fills all 6 of their offering spaces for an age before the 3rd roll, they earn bonus appeasement points (4 if they finish after the 1st roll, and 2 if they finish after the 2nd roll). They can continue writing values into their kingdoms after their offering spaces are filled, but only the 1 freebie each roll.
After the 3 rolls, players write down the letter of the Council Member they choose to appease that age, and tally their score for the age based on that Member’s scoring requirements plus any appeasement bonus they earned. Then the next age begins, following the same format. This continues until after the 5th age. Players add up their scores from the 5 ages, points for completed kingdoms, points for how many different Council Members they appeased, and points for meeting their personal agenda card, and the player with the most points wins!
Review: Animal Kingdoms is a delightful game so when we heard about a roll and write in the same universe (with the same great art) we knew we had to try it. It’s a fairly straightforward game: just the dice, the pad of paper, and some cards. But it has a depth of strategy to it that makes it fun to replay (even if the limited amount of some of the Council Member animal types does mean you’re repeatedly using the same ones).
I like that the dice are always communal. It means you can work on your own strategy without being afraid someone will steal the die you need, or that you’ll take the linchpin die someone else wanted. This does mean that frequently players will go after the same Council Member in a given age, but there are enough pathways to victory that even with overlapping offerings it’s still anyone’s game. For example, just because you’re both going after the Council Member that wants only 5’s doesn’t mean you’ll have the same amount of them in your offerings, as one player may use one of the 5’s for their high-to-low kingdom, or someone else may use two of them for their two-pairs kingdom.
As I mentioned above, there is a somewhat limiting factor in the amount of cards for some of the animal types among the Council Members. There are 2 animals that only have 2 cards each, so in our first 3 games we ended up using a card from each of those animal types twice because there were no other options. The difficulty levels both help and worsen this as one of those 2 types is not present at the hardest difficulty, but the other one is present in all 3 difficulties (meaning that only having 2 cards of that animal will cause you to see both options constantly). It’s a minor complaint, and the game is still very much enjoyable aside from that.
The game goes by at a nice pace. I never felt like I was rushed to get the things done that I wanted, and it didn’t drag on so long that I was just waiting for it to be over. It’s hard to get games in that perfect middle niche, but for me Roar and Write definitely does! This puts it in a great place to be either a filler game between heavier ones, or something you could play at the beginning of a game day to wind up or at the end to wind down. You can also play multiple games consecutively if you want to enjoy it for longer.
There are enough Council Members and secret objectives for a fair amount of replayability, and there are multiple paths to victory, which is always a plus. Do you focus on maxing out your offerings, or do you sacrifice some spots there to get more values up in your kingdoms to get more of those completed? It’s up to you!
Kickstarter Information: Roar and Write! will be on Kickstarter Tuesday, June 30th! You can go to this page to sign up for a launch reminder, and the link will also work when it goes live!