Alfie Dix, 17, reviews board games that he plays with the family and subsequently with groups of friends.
Everyone has their own personal favourite games, whether it’s the one that you recommend to friends when they come over, or the marathon game that you’ll play every other week with your family; it is a game that never gets old. So today I will introduce to you one of my favourite games that I play whenever the occasion presents itself, Rolling Ranch.
In this world, each player is a farmer trying to recover their farm from a horrific storm by placing both animals and buildings within his own grounds. At the beginning of each round 2 custom dice are rolled and from them you can take 3 different options that are shared amongst all players. This is great as it means that all players play at the same time, reducing wait between turns to nothing as everyone is playing all the time. The game ends when the first player has filled their entire board, with a combination of the three different types of animals or buildings available – then all players score.
One of the main attractions to a game like this is the (lack of) waiting and setup time. With only the need for paper, pen and two die it is great game if all you want to do is play. Another benefit to only needing limited resources is that it is small and can easily be brought away on long journeys or to another country with the box being shorter than a piece of A5 paper!
At this point you may be asking yourself what the disadvantages of games like these are that lead them to be imperfect, well, there are multiple reasons why you may not enjoy these types of games. Perhaps you like to think long and hard on each game action you take, which is obviously undesirable as every player will have to wait for you, completely thwarting the advantages of playing a roll and write. Maybe it’s the random aspect you disagree with and even though all players share the same die rolls you would like to pre-plan future turns.
Some people worry that simple games can get repetitive, and to that degree I would have to say that is not a concern in Rolling Ranch. This is because each player receives two individual goals at the start of the game which they get bonus points for completing, changing each players individual needs and, in addition to the regular player boards, on the reverse or each there is a random allocation of enclosures so that you can have different games every time you play.
This is one of my favourite games to play with friends because it is easy to explain and not too competitive. Additionally any number of players may play at the same time, as long as they can see the dice, making it a great game to crack out at a family gathering or party. I recommend this game for anyone in need of an enjoyable light game that can be easily transported to any event, and for families with younger children who may want to introduce a new type of board gaming.