Roll Player: Monsters & Minions Board Game Review (Thunderworks Games)

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Roll Player is the game-before-the-game. In Roll Player, you competitively create an RPG character. Once the characters are created, the game is over and everything is scored. Players need to meet certain metrics as far as stats and alignments, and they can gain traits and skills throughout. Roll Player already has a lot going on, and now the Monsters & Minions expansion adds something further. In Monsters & Minions, players also take turns fighting monsters and ultimately fight the boss.

Game Details

Players: 1 to 5

Game Time: 60 Minutes

Age: 12+

Genre: Dice Drafting

How is Roll Player: Monsters & Minions Played?

Roll Player randomizes your objectives, which include getting certain stat bonuses and drafting specific colors of dice into certain squares. You may need exactly 18 strength and between 15 to 16 constitution, in addition to having to move your character to the "lawful evil" alignment. When you place dice in different attribute sections, you also get bonus actions, such as the ability to reroll or move dice. 

Players draft dice by selecting a die along with an initiative card, which determines turn order. In the base game, turn order means that you get to select something from the market (traits, skills, and equipment) in that order. In Monsters & Minions, you can also choose to fight. Fighting monsters successfully lets you get hints towards how to beat the final boss. 

As an example, you could fight a monster and get to view the "location" card of a boss. This randomized attribute could tell you that you need a fully completed intelligence objective for two additional dice against the boss. All combat is based on a dice pool.

Once all of the attribute dice have been arranged, you count up your victory points based on the type of dice you got, where they were positioned, and so forth.

How Does Roll Player: Monsters & Minions Look?

Monsters & Minions adds a few dice sets to the main game; other than that, the appearance isn't really changed. Roll Player is a perfectly serviceable game, with hardy game elements that feel high quality when playing. The game doesn't have a lot of personality to it, but then, that's part of the game as well. It could be compared to a more generic Valeria.

The boost dice make me uncomfortable. They are a cloudy, mineralized water color that yearns to be opalescent. 

What's in the Box?
New market deck cards * minions * monsters * new boost dice set * combat dice set

How Does Roll Player: Monsters & Minions Feel?

There are a lot of great things about this expansion, but ultimately, Roll Player: Monsters & Minions feels a little bit like a mess. One of the best things about Roll Player is that there are a lot of different ways to get to your objectives. You can try to organize your dice properly or you can simply go for raw numbers. You can attempt to purchase market cards and fulfill them.

Monsters & Minions does two things: expand your options while limiting your flexibility. This bears explanation. Monsters & Minions gives players additional objectives: fighting monsters (which gives XP, which can be used to rearrange dice) and trying to beat the end boss (which gives VP, but actually, not very much VP). Now there are two additional strategies, which seems good. However, your actions are now limited, because on each turn you can either purchase from the market deck or choose to fight.

There's an expanded market deck and additional cards that you may never actually touch because the game has a limited number of rounds, and the number of actions you can take (rounds) has not been increased. Eventually you end the game feeling as though you did very little at all.

Roll Player came out because players wanted something to do with the characters they created but the strange part of this is that rather than adding on an expansion, they actually just took away from the core game to tack on a side game. It feels tacked on and distracting, and because of that is probably best suited to those who love the original to the point that they've become too good at the mechanics. That being said, it did do a few things right, which includes adding a 5th player spot to what can feel like a sparse game. 

Roll Player: Monsters & Minions Board Game Review
  • PRO: Adds an entirely new section of objectives for lovers of the original game.
  • PRO: Adds a sorely needed 5th player spot to what was only a 1 to 4 player game.
  • CON: The expansion can feel a little tacked on and make the game seem a bit rushed.