Publisher: Rather Dashing Games
Designed by: Michael Richie
Art By: Grant Wilson
Publisher's site: Rather Dashing Games
While at GenCon this year We got to sit down once again with the wonderful people over at Rather Dashing Games to play their hit, "Dwarven Miner".
"Dwarven Miner" is, as the Grant Wilson and Mike Richie put it, an "intuitive two-tiered fantasy themed crafting table-top" game. The game is an fun and interesting amalgamation of mining, crafting, and fulfilling orders.
That accurately describes the three phases of play. I am fond of the simplicity of the rules, that they allow for variation, and are not hard to understand. I am a firm believer in games that offer ease of play for a wide audience, and in that respect, "Dwarven Miner" delivers.
Inside the box, you have the following items:
The game board
The Rule Manual
A Deck of 80 Item Cards
A Deck of 60 Resource Cards
A Deck of 42 Patron Cards
4 Backpack Cards
8 Vault Cards
4 Colored Player pieces
6 Plain White Dice
1 Sheet of stickers.
The hardest part of this game actually involves those last two items. Before you play your first game, you have to put stickers on the blank dice, based on a set of patterns that are indicated on the back of the rules manual. This allows for some slight variations on things, if someone sets up the dice wrong. But, it also opens up the options for some interesting variations! What if one were to buy 6 more blank dice, and create variations of the pattern? The mutability of this structure just leaves my mind pondering all kinds of new possibilities.
Each player receives one backpack card, and is dealt three patron cards. Each patron card has a list of items they are looking for, an effect that is activated when their order is fulfilled, and a number of victory points. The victory points associated with a patron is relatively proportional to the difficulty of obtaining the items that they are looking for. Before play begins, players can trade in their initial patrons, for other patrons.
Play is separated into 3 phases; mining, crafting, and fulfillment. During the mining phase, you are given six dice to roll. Each one of these dice has a series of images corresponding to one of the resource cards. Each one may also have an Orc, and a Burglar. You can roll the die until you get the resources you need, unless the Orc appears. When the Orc is showing on one of the die, that die is set aside and can not be rerolled. The Burglar, on the other hand allows you to steal from other players. The more burglars that you roll, the more you can steal!
Once you are happy with your roll, you move on to the crafting phase. Using the resources obtained in the mining phase, you may wish to start crafting items. Each item has a "recipe" for what is needed to create it. Using the example from the rules manual, a "Tome of Wisdom" requires 2 "Arcane Crystals" 1 "Alchemist Powder" and 1 "Mithril". If you can not use any of the resources that you obtained, you can place them in your backpack or vault for later. Each backpack however, can only hold 4 resources, and 2 crafted items. When you are finished crafting, move on to the Fulfillment phase!
The fulfillment phase, is where you finally fill the patron's orders. "IF" you can not fill a patron's order, your turn ends. Place your items and resources in your backpack, and discard anything that can not fit. If you can fulfill a patron's order, turn in the crafted items, and place the patron face up in front of you. You immediately gain victory points as indicated on the card, and the ability described on the card takes effect. After that you draw two new patron cards, and discard cards out of your hand down to three patron cards.
And that is the basics of the game in a nutshell! Quick, easy and straightforward. Game play theoretically moves pretty quickly, and an entire game can be played in as little as about 20 minutes. The game is fun, fast, and palatable to a wide audience.
This game is a game that is playable for a wide range of ages and backgrounds, and speaks to the geek in all of us. If you're looking for a sort of intermediate level game to take the next step in introducing your non-gaming friends to the wide world of gaming, this could easily fill that role.
This is a simple game, with plenty of replay value. The art lends itself well to the subject matter, and helps to establish the feel of the game. The stickered dice are a nice idea, but I wonder how they will hold up over the course of time. Having the second set of stickers should however be enough to hold up until the inevitable expansion! (and sources tell me, it is coming)