I was fortunate to get my hands on a copy of ElemenZ, a fantastical themed press your luck, dice rolling and set collection game. Brought to us by Scottish publishing company BatCat Games, the Kickstarter launches on 16th February.
The game is very much a ‘2 in 1’, as the 2-player game is different from the 3-4. As I only managed to play the 2-player I’ll be focusing on this aspect alone. Both games use the same components (although the 3-4 has some extras that aren’t needed in the 2 player). Make sure to keep your eyes open on the Kickstarter page when it’s launched for reviews that focus on the 3-4 variant!
I for one am really happy the designer, Jason Maclean Jones, considered 2p and cleverly managed to create a game that works both ways. I play a lot of 2p games and I’m always a bit disappointed if a game I really fancy doesn’t give me that option.
There’s a fun backstory to the theme that you can read about here, and now I’m just going to tell you a bit about the game play.
In ElemenZ you choose your Alien Shamans that represent an element (water & air vs. fire & earth, as a typical Aquarian I chose the former) and the corresponding dice & boards. Each dice denotes four elements and a ‘Z’ that is a form of ‘wild energy’. You set up your boards so the monoliths on each are aligned and you’re ready to get rolling. The aim is to unlock all energy spots on your monoliths and the first to do so wins the game. You begin the game with 6 dice each, 3 of each of your chosen element. Depending on your roll you either:
- Use the symbols on the dice to unlock an element on the monolith; e.g.- the third spot on the monolith requires two fire & two earth symbols to unlock it. If you aim to achieve this on your turn you can reroll twice and place the dice if you succeed. One of the dice must remain on the board, and you take the others back into your dice pool for the next turn.
- Use a combination of symbols as depicted on your board to gain more dice from the shared dice pool, or one specific dice from the pool.
- Use the combination of dice as depicted on your board to target a spot on your opponent’s monolith to remove their dice.
- Re-roll twice on a turn
- Rolling a ‘Z’ will automatically lock the dice so that you are unable to use it again that round.
I enjoyed ElemenZ a great deal, for someone who claimed last year that dice games weren’t her penchant I’ve been playing more and more recently and am thoroughly enjoying myself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again rolling for movement in a monotonous fashion I find a bit of a drag. In-the-moment decision making with dice is where it’s at and that’s what ElemenZ is all about. It appears like innocent fun but it’s got bite. I think younger players would pick this up pretty quickly but I don’t think I could play against them, not with the ummm, coarse language I was using! Not only because of the ‘take thats!’ I was getting swiped with but also rolling those pesky ‘Z’s was genuinely frustrating. But in a nice way that makes you feel determined, if that makes sense? It’s the decision making I enjoy. Should I re roll one more time? Or should I place them now? My opponent is getting ahead of me, should I forgo my move to target his? Shall I get another dice? Then your last reroll is a damn ‘Z’. Gutted.
I must say I was also very impressed with the quality of the prototype, which is a great sign pre campaign of quality and attention to detail. I especially loved the vivid artwork and screen-printed dice bag. The publisher also included a nice hello letter/instructions as well as the rules and I thought that was really lovely, that extra thought and care goes a long way. Also a good sign!
So as well as being a rather nice bunch they have a real treasure on offer here. If a challenging dice chucker with weird alien beings & quick-fire tough choices sound like your thing then you can read more here. When the campaign launches I’ll update this post with a fresh link to the Kickstarter.
Thanks for reading!