Ditic is a neat abstract tile placement and dice-pawn movement game that our group had a lot of fun with.
In Ditic, your goal is to create a rank 6 die (the ranks correspond to the number on the die, so rank 6 would be a die with the 6 facing up). On each turn, you place a tile on the board. Each tile has 4 corners, each with a different color on it. Once 4 of these corners are placed next to each-other, a die of the majority color is created (our group wasn’t sure what to do about ties, and so we had them go to the player who last placed a tile). Thus, the highest possible rank you can create in this fashion is a rank 4 die. In order to get a higher rank die, you need to combine them by moving two of the same rank die on top of each-other.
Instead of placing a tile, you can move one of your dice along the edge of a tile. Due to the movement rules, lower rank dice have better maneuverability. For example, a rank 3 die can “hop” over other dice, a rank 2 die can move diagonally instead of just orthogonally, and a rank 1 die gets to make a free move. This creates an interesting balancing act as it can be tough to make that elusive rank 6 dice without strategic placement. Another way to move is the action die- you roll this after placing a tile if you have a die on the board. Depending on the result, you can move your dice or do something to change the board state, like flipping or moving a tile.
Our group had a lot of trouble with the rules and ended up having to make several significant house rules to make the game playable. That being said, we thought that the underlying concepts were very cool, and still were able to enjoy the game.
We can’t talk too much about the components in this review as we were sent a rough prototype copy. That being said, the tiles seemed to be very durable, and it’s tough to go wrong with dice. The included wooden die was very cool.
Jorge: Ditic has a lot of potential to be a very solid dice and tile placement game, but suffered from unclear rules and a lack of something to drive the action. Starting with the positives, I thought that the way Ditic used dice to represent the rank of each unit was quite interesting. It was especially satisfying to combine dice into higher ranks. I also really liked the way that tiles could be placed to create dice. I personally focused on trying to generate 4 rank dice, as I felt that this would be the most efficient way to gain strong units. However, this also meant that I had less maneuverability, and so in a lot of situations it would have actually been better for me to build weaker, but faster-moving units. For me, the tile placement was the most fun part of the game. Unfortunately, about half-way through the game, it started to drag too much for my tastes. This was because of the fact that rank 4 units cannot be taken, and they also defend lower rank units. Thus, it became impossible to take other pieces, and the board was a huge gridlock. Most of my turns were spent placing tiles randomly as they had long since stopped mattering for me, and then hoping to roll a double-move (none of the other results on the action die did anything in the late game) to prevent Erik from winning by moving his pieces farther from each-other. I think this was potentially a symptom of the rules needing to be refined. There were many examples where we had to make up house rules along the way due to the rules being unclear. Overall, Ditic felt like I was playing a long war of attrition.
Erik: I had a lot of fun playing Ditic. That said, it did suffer from some problems. Jorge covers most of the problems in his segment, but I want to reiterate the lack of clarity in the rules. Many of the rules were either unclear or failed to cover every situation in the game, leading to some confusion and the necessity of creating our own house-rules in order to play. Some examples that come to mind are: what happens when there is no majority when a tile is placed? Can a tile be moved or rotated from under a die? How do you create rank 1 die? And so on. The reason I feel the need to re-emphasize this point is that I believe this lack of clarity can be easily remedied by clarifying and expanding upon some of the rules to address such situations like those mentioned before, something I hope the developers do before releasing the game. Beyond the confusion about the rules, however, I found Ditic to be a fun, though deceptively long strategy game. The early game was the fastest and, in my opinion, the most fun as we competed to create dice and relied on the action die to move and eliminate the other players’ dice. While there is an element of luck in obtaining tiles that benefit your color, the wide variety of tiles meant it never felt unbalanced as even if a tile couldn’t directly help you, it could be used to hurt someone else’s ability to generate strong dice. The method of combining dice to increase their strength is an interesting mechanic as you need to sacrifice better movement and extra pieces in order to progress towards victory, but the strength of rank 4 and 5 dice and limited ability to capture using rank 1 or 2 dice meant that, while I can imagine scenarios wherein deciding whether or not to combine your dice would be difficult, these did not show up in our game. The strength of rank 4 and 5 dice in protecting others also made the endgame a lot slower than the rest of the game. I feel that the die’s strengths and weaknesses could be reworked slightly, as the protection granted by rank 4 dice and inability to capture rank 3 dice without a rank 5 make capturing anything above a rank 2 dice incredibly difficult. I also felt that after a certain point it became clear who would win without any way to stop them without a lucky roll on the action die. This was due to a combination of the protection rank 4 and 5 dice gave to the dice around them, preventing captures while also being immune themselves, and the inability for rank 1 and 2 dice, the most mobile, to block as they could be captured by anything higher than them. While rank 3 dice could block and were more mobile than their rank 4 and 5 counterparts, their jumping ability was easily countered by grouping your dice closer together, something that was already in your interest to grant them protection from your higher level dice. This made the game’s end feel like a slow yet inevitable victory for whichever player grouped their pieces closest together in a critical mass. However, this might change in rematches as we would likely be more prepared and pay more attention to blocking each other than we did in our initial match.
Aneirin: (Aneirin’s opinion will be added later)
Check out DiTiC on Kickstarter! At the time of this post, they have 4 days remaining to meet their goal: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/danbrowninggames/ditic/description
What is your favorite dice game? Let me know in the comments below, and thanks for reading as always!