Roil: The Strategy Cardgame, a Review
About the Game
In terms of play, I’m reminded a little bit of Rummikub – cards are laid down and can be played upon. Cards are joined together by colour and/or numbers However, that’s where the simularities end.
Each player works to build their own Court, consisting of Major and Minor houses. Kings, Princes, Queens, and Towers populate the Major House; Commoners fill the Minor.
Different ruling families, denoted by color, may be joined together via Accords.
Two of the three colours are used in the match. This accord could join any of the following combinations:
- Blue and Yellow
- Blue and Red
- Red and Yellow
Minor House cards each have two colors.
Shadow cards have two roles. They can be played like wild cards or they can steal a card from a court. If, after a card has been stolen, cards in the court are disconnected so that various parts of the court have less than three members, the parts with less than three members are taken back into their owner’s hand.
Fate cards are used to remove cards from courts. As with the shadow cards, if the court becomes disconnected, cards are taken back into the player’s hand.
This photo shows possible layouts – it’s not one that you’d see in an actual game; there are far more than sixty-five (65) points here, but it gives a good idea of how you can build a court.
(Click on the image for a larger version)
Five (5) cards are dealt to each player to start. Each subsequent turn, the players draw three (3) cards. At the end of their turn, a player discards down to five (5) cards, if necessary.
A minimum of three (3) cards are needed to start a court. Once begun, cards may be added on to the court. As they build, cards in a row need to have the same number (or be the top Major House row) and match up with colours. Vertically, the numbers need to descend – you can skip numbers, but once you’ve done that, you can’t use cards of that number within a particular family. However other families can have different row values.
Each Minor House card is worth five (5) points and each Major House is worth ten (10). Accords are worth zero (0).
As soon as one player reaches sixty-five (65) points, the hand is over.
Opponents subtract cards in their hands from the score of their court; it is possible to have a negative score for a hand.
Once an agreed upon score or number of hands are complete, the game is over.
I really enjoyed playing Roil and look forward to playing it again, soon! I do have a number of thoughts about it, which I’ll share below.
The Rules are Easy to Learn
A lot of games claim that they take ‘a minute to learn, a lifetime to master’. Roil takes slightly longer than a minute, but the rules are rather simple. Tactics and strategies take rather longer.
The Players and Their Style of Play Really Influences the Gameplay
I noticed, while playing, that some players are a bit more vindictive or competitive as others. For me, in part because I was learning, but also temperament, I viewed it as more a puzzle to be solved and to play for the sake of playing. I could see where I might be more competitive, depending on my opponents and my mood, but I generally play for the sake of play – if I win, cool, but otherwise I tend to be pretty laid back about it.
It can be a bit off-putting, perhaps, for someone with my style of play to interact with someone who is overly competitive and/or vindicative.
It’s a Good Game to Play as a Family
Roil has appeal to people of all ages; I really want to play it with Kidzilla; I think she’ll get a kick out of it.
Family competition can be good, too – it tends to have less animosity – you have to live with each other, after all.
It Makes a Good Pickup Game
Since the rules are pretty easy to explain and the game is short, it is a good choice for a pick up game or a game to play over lunch at work.
Roil is truly a fun game to play – simple and yet many depths. I look forward to playing it again!
Roil is currently on Kickstarter, through Wednesday, March 7 2018 at 9:07 PM EST.
Please go visit their campaign and pledge today!