Harvest Dice puts gamers in the role of garden developers. Each turn players roll and select colored veggie dice to build their gardens or feed extras to their pig. Players need to have the right veggies in their garden to score big at harvest time.
To start, each player receives a pencil and colorful pre-printed score sheet. The starting player takes the starting player marker and a set of dice and rolls the dice on the table, creating a dice pool. The starting player then chooses one of the dice to "plant in his or her garden" followed by the other players. There are red tomato dice, green lettuce dice and orange carrot dice.
The score sheet contains a 3x6 grid representing a player's garden. The six columns of the grid correspond to each side of a six-sided die. If a red two is rolled, for example, it can be placed anywhere in the three spaces of the two column. The first vegetable is easy to place, but when more veggies are added to the garden, a player can only add them next to a vegetable of the same type.
If a player cannot place a veggie die in his or her garden, it must be fed to the pig. But remember that the pig is more than a die devourer. Each pip on a die counts as a point towards feeding the pig. Whenever the pig accumulates six dice pips, it unlocks the pig's power. By using this pig power, a future veggie die may be increased or decreased by a value of one so players have more options for making dice fit in their gardens.
Players continue to take dice until only one remains. Whatever the color is of the last die, it is marked on the players' score sheets (veggie market), which increases the market value of that particular veggie by one point. As players roll and select dice, there are many strategies to consider to maximize points.
Eventually the end of the game is triggered by one of three options. The first trigger is when any player completely fills their garden with veggies. The second trigger occurs if a player crosses off every space of their pig power. And the third trigger occurs when all six spaces of a specific vegetable market are checked off.
When the game ends, players count up points according to how many spaces they filled in their garden grid and also the number of rows completed. They also score additional points according to the current market value of a particular veggie. Finally, a player scores an amount of points based on how many rows were marked off on their player sheet for feeding the pig.
Harvest Dice is an easy-to-learn 30-minute dice-rolling and set-collection game. The rules can be picked up in a few minutes and two to four players can compete. Those disappointed by "light" or "filler" games should check this one out before purchasing.
Overall I was pleased with Harvest Dice and found it entertaining. Gamers should be aware that the colorful score sheets in the game are consumed by play and eventually these will need to be replaced. Although it contains simplistic mechanisms, the game does include advanced rules that add additional pig powers and market challenges. Find out more at Grey Fox Games.