Dice Legacy is the brand new dice based roguelike city builder, from DESTINYbit and Ravenscourt. Landing a ship on an uncharted ringworld, players will be using dice to survive the upcoming winter and far beyond. Starting with only a few peasant dice, players roll the dice and then send them out to locations. From using them to construct new buildings, farm for food or mine for iron/stone, these peasant dice are your standard dice. Though, they will eventually not be your only option.
The basic resources are used to construct buildings. Farms can give players a much needed sustainable production method for food, via using a mill. Houses can be used to gain additional dice, up to a full town of 12 dice. Steam generators can be built and then be fueled with wood, something vitally important to keep dice from freezing when the chills of winter hit. With a range of buildings players get plenty of choices of what to build next. In turn, this unlocks a lot of new action spaces, in the growing town, to allocate dice to. As with other city builders the resources that come out of mines or forests aren’t infinite, and this forces players to continue forward around the ring.
The catch is that while players are free to simply keep re-rolling their dice, as a roguelike style game there are consequences. Each dice has a durability value. This can be increased via sending a die to the cookhouse with some food, otherwise every time a player rolls their pool of dice, those not currently placed effectively lose one health. The durability is the number of times a die can be re-rolled or used before that dice is lost.
Players aren’t stuck with peasants, they can construct buildings to convert a peasant die into another: such as the school which converts them to citizen dice, or the merchant’s guild that then converts citizen dice to merchants. This is how players unlock access to new dice faces, opening up the technology tree and having access to better dice for combat. At this stage however players will find themselves dragged between the differing dice.
While you’ll want to upgrade your dice to these new non-peasant types they have drawbacks. Issues such as being much less useful for general resource collecting can slow the process of advancing down. While any reduction in chances of rolling sword symbols could leave your town open for a pillage or two.
At times the game will throw enemy troops your way. Assigning a rolled sword symbol is initially enough. As play continues though this becomes the need for 2 swords simultaneously, 3, 4 and so on. Good things are also sent your way though in the form of Policies. This is one of the exciting choices players are offered, ranging from instant perks of gain 4 knowledge for researching through to ongoing benefits, such as dice sent near to district halls not freezing in winter. Policies can slightly annoy certain dice types, a system that could be expanded for the final game, as for the most part they are simply little improvements to pick between.
As time progresses players start to unlock buildings such as the forge and the enhancement chamber. This is one of the most unique and interesting elements of the game, past the ringworld design. Effectively, the forge smashes two dice together into what can only be described as an epic die. Combine this with the fact players can upgrade die faces at the enhancement chamber and players can eventually have some insanely improved dice. Taking this to the next level is the ability to ascend dice. Ascending dice enables the player to start with them on a future run, getting a better and easier start. Players can legitimately therefore use a run to upgrade and forge a few amazing dice, before ascending them prior to a proper attempt.
Dice Legacy features ringworlds, instantly giving the game a visually different look. As the players advance around the ring, they scroll around it. The individual buildings and such don’t show this curve, with the in focus area almost flat. When looking at the top and bottom of the screen though the curve is somewhat noticeable, there to remind the players of the unique design choice. It’s almost possible at times to forget this feature though, as you focus on the dice placement.
In an initial playthrough gamers should just about make it through the first winter, though in future playthroughs and future winters players get much better prepared. Ale to unfreeze dice, having an abundance of wood to burn in the steam generators and even policies may be helping out. Getting past the somewhat slow paced start and the choices on offer open up and the fun of forging improved dice is unlocked. Get to this stage and I can see players being hooked by the roguelike runs on offer, with the ascending of dice being the ultimate choices of saving what you have for later. Dice Legacy offers a rather unique experience and with more policies, or elements of choices like this, the game will offer many, many hours of entertainment.
(Editor’s Note: Dice Legacy was provided to us by the developer for the preview.)