ToysBulletin.com reviews a most unique game from Lazy Days LLC.
“Roll to Control” is an entertaining new board game, where 2-5 players compete to control the most colored zones on the game board.
The game contents include 360 Scout markers (one set of 72 for each player in 5 different colors) 21 Caprocks, which we decided was a dominant type of rock, taking the form of tall white playing pieces (2 occupy each of 9 colored zones, while 3 more occupy the remaining 3 zones, one in each), 5 Captain player pieces used to move each player around the perimeter of the board, 2 – twelve sided multi-colored dice, a game board that measures approximately 19″ x 20″ and a nicely illustrated set of rules.
For the purposes of this review, we are going to look at the standard version of the game, which is a family friendly competition, but with some strategic elements. To set things up, each player is given one set of 72 Scout markers in one of the 5 colors, and a matching Captain. All of the Caprocks are placed on the game board in their designated positions within the 12 colored zones. The game board is made up of 109 hexagonal spaces within all of the 12 colored zones (7-11 colored hexagons per zone). There is also a circular perimeter surrounding the colored zones made up of 48 spaces which are used to move each player’s Captain around the board. The 2 dice are kept nearby for use by the players during the game.
To play the game, players alternate turns by rolling one die and moving their captain from the space occupied on the perimeter of the game board to the matching color on the perimeter as shown on the die. Once there, there are several options open to the player, depending on the types of figures outlined on the space landed on. If there are one or more hexagons outlined in black, the player can place that many Scouts in the colored zone that matches his die roll. If there is a C-Trap (The letter C shown just above the outline of a hexagon) shown on the space, the player can replace any one of the Caprocks, positioned in the colored zone matching the die roll, with one of his Scouts.
An optional move that can be made on a player’s turn is a challenge, and this can only be done if the space is marked for a challenge, either a regular challenge or a wild challenge. When a player performs a challenge, he chooses another player’s Scout which is adjacent to his own Scout in the colored zone that matches his die roll, or in the case of a wild challenge, he may opt to choose an adjacent player’s scout in any zone or even one that is in an adjacent colored zone, which greatly expands his choices. But the challenge must originate from the zone color that matches the die roll. To complete a challenge, each player rolls one 12 sided die, and the winner is determined based on a colorwheel that is conveniently located both on the game board and inside a player’s storage box. The colors are arranged in a circle, and the colors, starting at the top of the circle, beat the colors as they are displayed clockwise around the circle, much like the hands of a clock. In other words, the color located at 12 beats the color at 1, and the color at 7 beats the color at 6. The challenge winner replaces the losing Scout with one of his own. Challenges can continue as long as the player who initiated the challenge continues to win.
The last and most exciting part of a player’s turn involves a closer look at those C-Traps. There is bit more here than first meets the eye. If at any time during a turn, that player’s Scouts form a C shape by surrounding any competing Scouts, regardless of color, all Scouts caught within the C-Trap are replaced by Scouts of the player controlling the C-Trap. In order to complete a C-Trap, there must be a minimum of 4 Scouts to surround 1 competitor Scout. But, as the game progresses, careful placement of Scouts can create gigantic C-Traps and suddenly change the entire face of the game board. Players can easily lose 10 or more Scouts on a single turn. The game ends when all of the hexagons in all of the colored zones are covered by Scouts or Caprocks. The player who controls the most zones out of the 12 colors is declared the winner.
The staff at Toys Bulletin play tested “Roll to Control” multiple times over a 7 day period, and each time we got smarter and the game got more intense. The game play is very easy to understand and the strategy can be deceiving. The C-Traps can take a player who controls most of the colored zones into Scout poverty after a clever opponent makes his move, especially if he can win multiple challenges in a row. We had a good time with “Roll to Control, ” and we found a typical game, even with new players, could be completed in less than 60 minutes. The game designer suggests the game for ages 8 years old and up. There is even a more competitive version of the game explained in the rules that eliminates some of the luck involved when playing “Roll to Control.” It should also be mentioned that all of the playing pieces and markers are made of wood, and each of the 5 competing colors plus the Caprocks are packaged in their own individual storage boxes. This is an especially nice feature rarely found, but greatly appreciated.
“Roll to Control” currently can be purchased directly from the Lazy Days website for $39.95.