Cyberpunk Worker Placement Control
Dicetopia is an area control, worker placement game with a Cyberpunk theme. Players take on the role of a faction boss, vying for control of areas whilst completing missions.
Dicetopia comes in a tight package. The box is small and extremely portable, containing only a deck of cards, cubes, dice, and a small playboard. In an era of ever-expanding component and token counts, it’s refreshing to see punchy tabletop releases.
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From opening the box, Dicetopia captures the Cyberpunk theme. The artwork and colors are perfect and really enhance the experience. The theme doesn’t go much beyond that though, as the placement of workers and mission cards could be themed around anything. The art and colors are great, but the setting could reasonably be anything skinned over the mechanics.
The gameplay is as punchy as the box. Each player has 6 workers to deploy, which they alternate placing, swapping their worker for a dice on the board. Once all players have placed 6 workers, the game ends and victory points are added up.
The depth of the game comes from the tactics around gaining and denying your opponent victory points. At the start of the game, all the dice are rolled and randomly placed on the areas of the board. When players place a worker, they get to take a dice from an area and place their worker in the space. Victory points are awarded for the value of the dice players have taken, areas that they have the most workers in and also from mission cards that are randomly drawn at the start of the game.
Each area also has a different effect that is activated when you take the dice. Effects like swapping dice in areas, and also rerolling dice in areas and those already taken by players. The strategy comes from balancing your plans against your opponents. Sometimes you will be forced to decide between getting the effect of an area, or a dice in a different area, or placing a worker to capture an area. During the initial turns, everything is open, but late game choices become a lot more strategic, and sometimes you end up placing a worker, simply to undo something a player did on a previous turn.
The mission cards, while adding an element of the unknown to the gameplay, can really swing a game. All of the cards are printed in the rulebook, so they are available for all players to see to try and guess what their opponents might have. The more you play Dicetopia, the easier it becomes to read what cards your opponents are working towards. But sometimes, simply playing for your own strategy is better than trying to block your opponent.
While Dicetopia is compact and fast, it feels like it’s just on the cusp of strategic depth. Everything feels a lot like luck and guesswork in terms of winning, and it’s all over too quickly to feel any real immersion in the strategy. A couple of times during testing, we tried to take a long time to consider our choices and what was left on the board, but not 100% knowing what mission cards our opponent's had, it generally came down to picking the highest dice, gaining control of an area, or working towards a mission card.
Players are randomly dealt a faction to play at the start of the game, and each has its own ability. This is simply a mechanic and doesn’t help the immersion of theme beyond the visuals.
Dicetopia Roll With the Punches is an expansion that adds new factions and a new area to Dicetopia. The new areas add some great mechanics in terms of Magmacorium Dice, which can’t be swapped or rerolled, and act as wild dice in terms of colors, and the Blood Dome, which can be visited for bonus victory points if you have dice matching those on the Blood Dome. Roll With the Punches is a great expansion, and if Dicetopia is your thing, then it really adds some solid gameplay and further depth to games.
The Bottom Line:
Dicetopia is a fast, compact, fun and extremely easy to learn and teach game, but those looking for a firm grasp of theme beyond the visuals, or a huge amount of strategic depth won’t find it. It feels very random and the fast pace takes away from the strategy that you can tell is there. If you're looking to pick up Dicetopia, Roll With The Punches is an essential purchase with it for extra complexity and longevity.
Get this game if:
- You want a compact fast game.
- You love worker placement or area control games.
Avoid this game if:
- You want a lot of strategic depth.
- You want cyberpunk theme beyond skin.
Have you played Dicetopia? What did you think? What's your favorite worker placement game? Let us know in the comments below.
This copy of Dicetopia and the Roll With The Punches expansion were provided by Asmodee UK.