Benny looks at the roll and write, Rolling Ranch.
Welcome, friends! Today we’re heading to the farm! Specifically, a farm that has been devastated by a hurricane that you managed to sleep through! Seems unlikely, but who knows maybe that ocean sounds CD did the trick and kept you from waking up.
I’m just going to say upfront that I love any game where on the back of the box it reads “What the hell happened to the rooster?” This is your premise in Rolling Ranch. The animals are scattered in the forest and you have to retrieve them and put them in pens, along with re-building buildings. You have your work cut out for you!
Rolling Ranch is simultaneous play for up to 20 players. Maxing out at 20 because there are only 20 Achievement cards to pass out, but with another set, you could certainly push beyond 20 players! It could become the next craze like bingo! Roll those dice, flash em up on the screen and let players get to work!
Speaking of the dice, there are two dice: orange and Blue. Each die has 3 chickens, 2 pigs, and 1 cow. Also on each face are numbers, sometimes building materials, and sometimes hearts. Initially, it seems like there is a lot going on with the dice, but after that initial play, it’s much easier to quickly assess and choose.
When rolling the dice you have a couple of options how those dice will be used: place an animal or collect building materials.
Placing an animal is pretty standard. Choose an animal from one of the dice, use the other dice’s value to show where that animal is placed. When that pen is full, score it based on the chart showing how many points are awarded for each animal.
The other option is less standard: collect materials toward buildings on your sheet. Wood planks and Spikes are the building materials and each building requires them. Fortunately, one spike per building as they are rare!
Building a building takes up a space in a pen, so be aware. Though that said, the bonuses are pretty sweet. Greenhouses are straight points, Warehouses are points at the end for the pen they’re in plus 2 consumable options to change your dice. Barns look for matched numbers on dice to give a bonus each time, but you can only get one of those when built.
In all, Rolling Ranch takes a lot of familiar mechanisms and does a really great job of making a game that shines. I’d even say it’s a game that’s greater than a sum of its parts. My only complaint is that they used printed dice. Etched dice are just so much better for multiple plays and longevity of games.
Still looking for that Rooster though. If this was Portal Games they’d hide it in the packaging somewhere. Bravo to Designer Jordy Adan and Artist Weberson Santiago. Also to the team at Thunderglyph!
Full disclosure: I played this game before it was released and they had the dice on a web app. It was a blast then. My review is based on the physical copy, which I preordered from them. Still waiting on those stamps and solo sheets that won’t be in the retail copies.
About the Reviewer: Benny is the game designer behind Yakitori and Bones of the Caribbean. Lover of roll and write games, husband, and father of three. When Benny isn’t playing or designing roll and writes, he can be found gardening in his fruit and vegetable garden. Benny Sperling can be found on Twitter at @benny275.