The roll and write genre has grown in popularity over the last few years, producing some truly fantastic games such as Cartographers, Welcome To, That’s Pretty Clever, and many more. All of these gam...
Before I begin, I was sent a prototype copy of the game, and will receive a production copy should it fund. This is not a paid preview. If you would rather watch a video of this review you can see it below, and learn more about the game here.
Who likes lasers? Trick question! Everyone likes lasers! Go ahead and say it. “Pew Pew” it’s ok, I will wait. See? Wasn’t that fun? Everyone likes a good laser blast. I won’t lie that I almost said yes to reviewing this game solely based on the name…I love dice, and lasers, like bowties, are cool.
The other thing that interested me in this game was that I actually have very little experience with Roll and Write games. I own an unplayed copy of Welcome Too…, and one of the expansion characters in Merchants Cove uses a roll and write mechanic, but that is it. So finally, I have a chance to see what I think of the mechanic.
The premise behind the game is you are trying to be the one to set up the best laser security system in the museum to prevent theft of the amazeballs artifacts. Over the course of three rounds you will be placing out targets, then mirrors in the museum. At the end of the round you will fire lasers from different locations having them bounce off the mirrors and hit as many targets as you can (both targets you have placed and those your opponents have placed).
Once that is done, you rotate the board 90 degrees and do it again. Of course the targets and mirrors that were already out remain out, so now you have even more targets to shoot at. Whoever hits the most targets total by the end of the game will be awarded the contract to protect the museum that I can only assume contains the worlds largest exhibit of cat toys.
So what do I think?
Though quite simple to play, and understand the game has a very gentle, and delightful ramp up as far as difficulty and complexity is concerned. You start the game with very few targets or obstructions on the board, but by games end you have tons out there, and the options are endless.
Also in the world of shelter in place, it is wonderful to have a game that you can actually play via Zoom quite easily. Finally, the addition of the special items you are able to draw is just fantastic. They are all quite simple, but it is good fun choosing when and where to use them, after all most of them could, in theory also help your opponents.
In the later rounds there is definitely a potential for some serious analysis paralysis. There are just so many options out there, and you really want to make sure you get it just right. This game also suffers from one of the risks inherent in all roll and writes. The dice. It is definitely possible to just roll in ways that no matter how clever you are you will be behind your opponents who rolled a more advantageous set of dice. The amount of options available with each set of dice does offer some mitigation, but it is something to be aware of.
I do not think the theme is realized. Yes, there is a museum drawn under the grid, but it might as well not be there. At no time does it matter where you place your targets in relationship to the exhibits on the museum floor. I feel like if there was some way that the things on the floor were brought into the scoring, or the way things worked then the game would pop that much more, as far as the theme goes.
Bringing it all together
Roll for Lasers is a fun, fast Roll and Write game. It is super simple to learn and play, and the game has a delightful ramp up as far as complexity with each successive turn. There is a real risk for analysis paralysis in the later game, and you are, as always at the mercy of the dice. I wish there was a way that the theme was brought into the gameplay more than it is in the prototype.
Can’t read now! Lasers! PEW PEW!
* Simple Roll and Write that ramps up the complexity in a delightful way * The “specials” the game offers adds just the right amount of complexity to the game *You are at the mercy of the dice, and AP can be an issue in the late game * I wish the theme was tied to the gameplay more, than being cosmetic