There’s a lot to love about Dice Legacy. From the dice-based residents to vastness of space that looms in the background on this strange ringworld you just discovered. And now you’re trying to survive the harsh winter that’s coming. Developer DESTINYbit have a delightful game with grave consequences. With every loss or defeat, I was just as excited to jump into a new run over than the last. Dice Legacy is one of the more unique, and inventive city builders out there.
Arriving by boat, you disembark with five peasants hoping to thrive and survive. Your peasants are represented by orange-colored die. Each dice represents an individual worker, and you can only have twelve as a maximum. The goal of Dice Legacy is to uncover the mystery of this rotating, stunning ringworld. Along the way though, much like the survival elements of Frostpunk, you’ll have to survive the seasons to make it that far. It’s a game over if all your dice are lost, or if uncontrolled riots break out due to poor management.
While it’s not exactly a roguelike, you’ll be restarting often. At least, until you’ve learned enough to be proficient. There’s a lot of RNG and luck for each run to be successful, however, and it’s somehow never frustrating. Everything is procedural here, from the terrain to what you’ll uncover in your journey. You’ll fail, and fail often. Though I learned a lot along the way. I became quicker and more efficient with each new start. At first, there’s only one ruler and one scenario. As you unlock more of each, new pathways and playstyles are open to you. There’s six rulers to unlock in total, with six scenarios to play, there’s dozens of content here.
To play, you’ll need to have to roll for the right icon. If you don’t, you’ll have to keep rolling the die until you get what you want or need to proceed. Durability of your dice can just be considered the health for the individual. If their durability reaches zero, then they perish. Using a cookhouse can restore the health, but they will consume one food to do so. Locations also have durability, these are pre-constructed buildings like mines that diminish with use over time. Things aren’t very diverse at first, you’ll eventually be juggling five different types of die: peasants, citizens, soldiers, merchants, and monks. Each has a specific role to fulfill. There’s lots of layers here, but it doesn’t become over-complicated. Build a house, and then use any two peasant dice to make a new one, or convert into another type. Every time you use your die, they will be greyed out until you roll again. This silent turn is a great way not to overuse good or great rolls, and where it injects the strategy.
You’ll have to construct new buildings to grow and expand. There’s a timer for each task to complete, whether it’s building something new or extracting a resource. Buildings themselves use dice and/or resources to operate. It sometimes takes one or three of something to power. There are seven resources to collect and manage: food, wood, stone, gold, iron, wheat, ale, and herbs. The way the resources feed into all of the different buildings creates a cyclical effect, that if done well will keep stock from going down. It feels good when you can get every thing working in concert with one another.
When winter falls, dice can be frozen over. This can be prevented by building a steam generator, or unfreezing them with a nearby tavern. Frozen die can be discarded, but this affects the morale and the happiness of those under your rule. Keeping them alive will keep the propsperity going. There’s two seasons that the game cares about: summer and winter. During the warmer months, you should be building farms to grow wheat crops and gather herbs. Wheat can be converted into food all-year, but during the winter you can no longer grow crops, so it’s best if you have a stockpile. It’s good that Dice Legacy is bound to some form of realism that’s easy to understand.
Knowledge fuels the technology tree unlocks. This can be done by converting peasants into citizens at the school. And then using them in workshops to read for knowledge. The tech tree offers many useful improvements, like increasing output from gathering wood or unlocking the ability to make the empowering table. The council enacts policies throughout the game. They will most likely only benefit one group at a time. For instance there are edicts that will give wheat at the start of every season, which is only good for peasants. Every decision placed in your hands is a hard decision, because everything is beneficial, but you’re bound to piss someone off in the process. This balancing act is one of Dice Legacy’s strengths.
In order to expand to new areas of the ringworld, you’ll have to build your district halls on the edge of the border. Upon completion, will push the borders farther out. This will inevitably put you in contact with encampments, or worse. This is when you’re introduced to combat. The ones here before you will not like your advancements or technology. You’ll be raided and attacked often. It’s here you’ll need to roll a sword to fend off these attacks, and construct towers that can see them coming, or risk losing buildings unnecessarily.
Enemies come in multiple forms. There’s raiders that are from nearby encampments. Or sometimes the raiders are your own people due to being unhappy. Then there’s the mysterious “The Others”. Getting to know more about them over the course of the game is a thrill, and the driving force of Dice Legacy.
There’s so many pillars to the game. You can empower dice with greater durability and strength. Once you get to the point of crafting your die, you’re forging your future. Lastly, die can be ascended into the heavens to be used for future runs. There’s so many systems at play, and the game does well to introduce them to you at the right times.
I had some readability issues with buildings in the game. They don’t stand out well. One instance I had lost an iron mine behind a building. I just thought it degraded and disintegrated, but it just was hidden behind the tall steam generator I built earlier. It doesn’t happen often, but the way the camera is fixed and rotates with the world, this happened a few time to me. There needs to be forethought into the placement of your buildings, and not to build too close for situations like that to occur. While the developers are working on a more robust tutorial and encyclopedia, there’s tooltips aplenty that explain nearly every aspect of the game. There’s lots to learn, and can really only be done through trial-and-error, and well-earned repetition.
The overarching mystery of the ringworld persists until you discover the truth. And with all of its system and randomness, Dice Legacy is challenging, enamoring, and rewarding. You’ll never get to settle on any one way of playing, always trying new things. DESTINYbit have made one of the best city builders the year. Dice Legacy is infinitely replayable that you’ll fall head over heels for.
A Steam code was provided in advance by the publisher for review purposes