The most realistic digital dice rolling you will find!
Android & iOS
# of Players
1-4 (8 w/expansion)
Roll For It! is a dice rolling game from Thunderbox Entertainment. Two to four players take turns rolling their six dice trying to match the numbers on cards laid out for all players. Completing a match earns the points noted on the card. Once a player reaches 40 points they are declared the winner and the game ends, this usually takes a little over five minutes.
Roll For It! follows in line with the previous Thunderbox/Calliope Games pairing Tsuro. Calliope is a publisher of casual games and Thunderbox works to make beautiful looking recreations of those games in the digital world. With Roll For It! they focused on the dice, both the visuals and the controls, we'll dive into that more later.
A game of Roll For It! starts with three cards being placed on the table. Each card had a dice combination on it along with a point value. A card might have a one and a six on it and be worth two points, for example. Players roll their six dice, attempting to match the card combinations. Using the previous example, if a player rolls a one but not a six, they may place the one on that card in hopes of getting a chance to roll a six on their next turn. Once a card is completed by any player, they score those points, all dice on it are returned to their owners, and a new card is drawn to the table. Players may choose, at the beginning of their turn, to retrieve their dice which are sitting on cards. Players may only retrieve all or none of their dice. Once a player reaches 40 points, they win the game.
Roll For It! is a very simple game. The strategic elements come into play when deciding which cards to go after. There are big 15 point cards which require matching all six dice, then there are two point cards which only require two dice. Deciding when to go after the big 15 point cards and when to pull back your dice to change course provide the bulk of the strategy.
The game is fun. There is no illusion of this being a super deep game, it offers a fun dice rolling game and you will ultimately be at the mercy of those six sided beasts which can't be trusted. If you accept this going in, there is a lot to like about Roll For It! The game can get bogged down a bit when there are only 15 point cards on the board as it often takes a while waiting for that last die to hit. Otherwise, the game moves quickly which fits the weight perfectly. The niche of truly casual digital tabletop games isn't overflowing with choices right now, so it is nice to see quality implementations like this.
Barrier to Entry
Roll For It! will greet new players with a tutorial the first time they launch the app. This will take players through each of the few actions available and allow them to complete the game afterwards. The game is very simple and the tutorial does a great job of quickly showing new players the rules.
Start of a game
Defeat at the hands of AI
Look and Feel
Thunderbox went all out in recreating the dice rolling game here, and it really paid off. The game is so straightforward that a more traditional port, with less attention placed on the controls, might very well fall flat. However, Roll For It! has fantastic shake-based roll controls. Physically shake the device to trigger the roll, such a novel concept and it's pretty great. Once the dice are rolled, you drag and drop them onto cards which works well. It isn't quite perfect, if you play with the Firm Shake setting, which requires a vigorous movement, the game will often either not register the shake or switch to portrait mode which is a bit annoying. A screen lock option would be a great addition. I ended up playing exclusively on Soft Shake mode, this rarely misfires or switches to portrait for me. There is also the option to have tap to roll, but where's the fun in that?
Along with the controls, the graphics look great. The dice look more amazing than I ever thought digital dice could. The sound effects to go along with the visuals are quite nice. The old timey saloon music which plays in the background is a bit of an odd choice, but is pleasant enough.
If the goal of an app is to replicate the feeling of playing the physical game, Roll For It! might very well be the most successful app we’ve seen in that regard. There’s something inherently satisfying about chucking a handful of dice, and while it’s impossible to 100% replicate that feeling on a digital device, Thunderbox has done a fantastic job coming close.
Roll For It! offers asynchronous online play via randomly matched opponent or friend invites. There doesn't appear to be an option to make a real-time game, but you can certainly play as quickly as you like against friends. Early on after the app release it's been a little slow to find games. I was matched within a few hours, hopefully this picks up as more people download the app. The game does not appear to have system notifications, at least on Android. From experience, this will likely lead to many unfinished games, unfortunately.
Pass and play is offered and is a great option. The game, especially with the shake-rolling feature, is well suited for passing a device between a few players. The quick turns keep things moving at a brisk pace.
Single player can be played against one to three bots (or more, with the purchase of an expansion.) The bots start on Silly AI with Clever and Tricky available later. The game tells you to defeat three Silly bots to unlock Clever, and then Clever bots to unlock Tricky. Silly AI makes some appropriately dumb decisions. Clever is mostly strong with the occasional head-scratcher. Tricky makes sound decisions throughout.
The game offers 31 achievements to unlock. These range from fairly generic like winning a game to very specific goals like scoring certain cards. There is no stat keeping outside of the achievements.
Roll For It! has a few available in-app purchases. There are four different dice sets available at $0.99 a piece which add some visual flare to the already great looking app. You can also pick up the Red Box for $1.99 which adds thirty new cards to the game and the ability to play up to eight players. You can grab all of the above at once for a discounted price.
The Wrap Up
Roll For It! takes a different approach to porting a game to the digital world. It focuses on the physical feeling of rolling dice and does a very good job of capturing that experience. The game itself is proudly a casual family game, another curveball from the ports we are used to. There are a couple of nagging bugs such as screen rotation and no online notifications, but overall the game is pulled off very well. The visuals are impressive and the simultaneously silly and awesome experience of shaking your device to roll is a great hook into the game. The varying AI levels, online play, and achievements are great bonuses.
In the end, we see Roll For It! best as a great pass-and-play experience or a fun quick-playing solo game. The online aspect has potential if you have friends to play with, but we’ve found little satisfaction in taking on random players in such a light game. It’s great to have the option, of course, and certainly others might get more mileage out of it that we did. Sitting around a table, passing and shaking a phone or tablet is a lot of fun and the tremendously detailed implementation Roll For It! has received pays off.