Dancing Dice is a simple, push-your luck dice game with an unusual theme of ballroom dancers competing in a dancing marathon. Low on strategy, but high on fun, this game is likely to be a hit with the right crowd, in particular casual gamers, in a mixed-gender party setting, and those looking for short, light filler on game nights. Easy enough for an older child, it makes an excellent choice for families as well.
Players will be rolling their six dice and arranging them into combinations that will hopefully score them the most points. Players with low scoring combinations will lose endurance points. Once a player loses all his endurance points, he is out of the game. The last dance team (player) left is the winner.
Now players remove their screens and each dance is judged. The board has a track that shows the score and dance name for each combination. Most of the dances are scored by adding up the pips on the three die. However, there are numerous special combinations. The top three dances on the track are combinations of all three dice being "ones," "twos,' or "threes," respectively. The fourth highest dance is the Tango. Each round, the set of three Tango dice is rolled and the resulting combination is the requirement for a Tango in this particular round. After that, the next highest dances are all based on the sum of the pips, from eighteen, the Mambo, down to four, the Macarena. Players place their marker on the appropriate spot for their dance combination. The player(s) with the lowest scores must move their endurance markers down one space. The player(s) with the highest score do not move their endurance marker. Tied scores may be broken in favor of "pure" performances, which are combinations that consist of all three dice being either white or all three the solid color. After players have adjusted their endurance markers, the second dance is scored the same way.
There is another special type of dance known as a Rock. This is when a player's two rows are an identical set of numbers to each other. In this case, the player will put his marker on the scoring track as normal for both dances to determine the top scoring dances, but will not have to move his endurance marker down should he score low. This is a very safe combination to put forward, but if it is a low scoring dance, it might allow another player's dance to be in the top scoring group.
The final special type of dance is the Gala. This is when all six of a player's dice show the same number. Again, the player's marker is placed on the scoring track for both dances, but not only does he not have to move his endurance marker down, he gets to move it up two spaces. This is the only way to increase your endurance. In at least ten games, I've never seen this happen!
I've played Dancing Dice about ten times now, with various numbers of from three to six players. The game worked well with all of these numbers of players and though I haven't tried it with two, it would likely work with that number as well. However, given that much of my enjoyment playing the game was due to its social nature, I would definitely recommend it with more, rather than fewer, players. The youngest person I've played the game with is eight years old, and he handled it easily and enjoyed it a lot.
I must admit, after my first game of Dancing Dice, I was not impressed at all. It seemed way too simple and random. The other players, mostly fans of heavier, deeper games, felt the same way. I almost didn't give Dancing Dice a second chance after an unsatisfactory first playing, but fortunately I did, playing with a different group of players. This time the game was much better, with us all laughing and groaning at our bad dancing performances. More playings proved it to be a lot of fun when taken for what it is - a short, light, social game. It is now frequently requested by its fans in my game group when we need a short filler or closer for the evening. This experience reinforces my opinion that a reviewer needs to play a game several times, preferably with different players, before being able to give it a fair review. I could have easily panned this game after one playing, and missed out on a game that is fun with the right group.
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