In DiceAFARI you play as a traveler going on a photo safari. You’ll compete to collect sets of photos of the various creatures you’ll encounter.
In the box you get:
18 Safari tiles - These are the terrain that make up the playing area (board).
28 Photo tokens - You’ll collect these and try to make sets for points.
72 Travel tokens - Each player gets all the tokens in one color and places them on tiles they have claimed. They score points for you at the end of the game if they remain on the board.
4 Safari dice - Each side has a matching tile type/color. You roll these to try and match them up with the terrain tiles in order to claim tiles by placing your travel tokens.
1 Bonus die - You roll this die once and it lets you know how many tiles you need to clam on a turn to get a bonus. Your bonus is to place one extra travel token on any unoccupied tile.
14 Map cards - You choose a map each game and randomly use the safari tiles to build the playing area.
Each turn has a few simple options.
1. Roll dice – Dice may be put aside or rerolled up to three times (Yahtzee style).
2. Claim tiles - Place your travel tokens on valid routes (as per rules).
3. Take a photo – Choose and take one photo between tiles you have claimed (with travel tokens).
The game ends when each player has had at least three turns and all the tiles have been claimed.
There is definitely a last turn advantage in DiceAFARI. If there are only one or two spots left on a turn to place your travel tokens, the player taking the turn can end the game easily. When they end the game they will usually remove as many opposing travel tokens as possible from the board. Since the game is so short players rarely have the time to go for anything but one tourist set or one researcher set. So more often than I would like, the travel tokens become the deciding factor in winning or losing.
In a two player game if one player is going for the tourist set, if you don’t follow and try to get one yourself you will probably lose. It’s a bit of a drag that you have to follow the leader to stay competitive in a two player game. Maybe you won’t run into that problem because you and your gaming partner aren’t the competitive type. But if they are prepare to play games that stalemate until the final player wins by taking travel tokens off the board.
Another troubling issue is that two of the icons on the dice are red. The tiles clearly show the scrub land as being brown but for some reason they are shown as red on the dice and it’s easy to confuse them with the red desert icon. I’m not sure if this is a manufacturing problem of maybe it’s only my copy but it was really annoying while playing and needlessly confusing.
I honestly hated writing that criticism because DiceAFARI is such a light and whimsical game that I did enjoy. I am one of those gamers who plays for fun and rarely wins because I’m always trying to do something crazy and generally just causing chaos. It is in those moments that I usually come across these little quirks in games. It’s weird that I would like a game that, to me at least, is clearly flawed but I do. And I think a lot of people will probably enjoy it as well.
The game design is extremely clever and game play is as smooth as butter. Dealing out random tiles to create the various boards each game is a plus as well. The scoring is probably what keep’s DiceAFARI from entering family game of the year contention. It still may very well win some awards for it’s devilishly simple mechanics and fun first design. If you were to ask me to give you an honest answer on if you should buy this game I would probably ask you if you could enjoy something that was fun but flawed.
Everyone I played with enjoyed DiceAFARI and so did I. It’s an easy game that anybody who has a working knowledge of Yahtzee can jump right in and have fun. There is a pretty big last turn advantage and if that type of thing bothers you DiceAFARI will probably not be something you’ll enjoy. If on the other hand you’re looking for a fun game with a family friendly theme and easy play for the kiddies DiceAFARI will probably suit you just fine.
EDIT: I seem to have left out the fact that you get all of the tiles in between your travel tokens at the end of the game. So with some careful planning you may be able to befuddle the last player, but their ability to erase your tokens as the game ends can still be a nice advantage.
To purchase DiceAFARI: