Nations: The Dice Game is a dice rolling civ building game that allows players to take a fledgling nation and develop it over four eras. It is based on a card game called Nations, which is its more time consuming and invovled big brother. During each era players will get to roll a number of dice which are used to purchase improvements for their civilization. These improvements are composed of buildings, city states, books for knowledge, leaders with certain bonuses, and wonders of the world. Improvements are your main mechanism for scoring victory points. While it sounds daunting, a game takes only 15 minutes per player, so a full game usually takes an hour or less. Each era players take turns doing one action at a time. This keeps the game moving swiftly and allows players to remain engaged with little downtime. While there is a measure of luck (obviously, it’s a dice game) there is a lot of dice mitigation involved in the mechanics. Every player gets at least one “chit” to let them re-roll dice each era. Some of the bonuses provided by leaders also give you the ability to re-roll dice. Additionally, you can purchase different colored dice to increase your odds of rolling certain resources, like gold, food, swords, books, or stone. And if all else fails, you can spend any two dice to purchase a resource of your choice.
Certainly by the end of the second era, each nation begins to take on its own personality. If you find yourself with a bunch of red dice in your pool, you are probably a warring nation rolling swords and scoring victory points based on said swords. If you have a bunch of blue dice, you are rolling books and stone and are pulling away culturally from your opponents. Those with yellow dice are rich and able to buy some bonuses that others cannot. Every time we’ve played it – which is often – there is sufficient smack talk and fake nationalistic rhetoric around the table worthy of FDR and Churchill. And most of the games are tight until the end. There have been some decent come from behind victories as well. But regardless, at the end of the game you should find yourself looking down at the board and feeling a sense of accomplishment. Not everyone can say they have built a flourishing nation in 15 minutes.