We’re pretty big fans of the roll & write-games that NSV has brought us over the past years, such as Qwixx or more recently Splitter, so I was pleasantly surprised when a parcel with their latest ‘The Border’ suddenly arrived. It was an even bigger surprise when I saw that the game is co-designed by Reinhard Staupe and none other than Michael Kiesling, who we know from Azul and lots of other classics he designed together with Wolfgang Kramer.
2-4 players, age 8+
Playing time: 30 minutes
Designers: Michael Kiesling & Reinhard Staupe
Artwork: Oliver Freudenreich & Sandra Freudenreich
In The Border, players have to complete areas in order to score points. Every turn, the active player rolls the dice and chooses the ones he wants to use to mark on his board. He can re-roll the dice up to a maximum of three times, after which he must use them; and he can only choose dice that allow him to complete a segment.
The dice that he doesn’t use are available to the other players, as long as they can cross them adjacent to spaces that have been previously marked – an ideal way to already start some segments so that during your turn you will need fewer dice to complete them.
Once a player has completely surrounded an area he scores points for it: the first player to complete each area receives the high value, while players who complete it further on in the game receive the lower value. And as soon as one of the players completes their 6th area, the game ends, and whoever has the most wins the game.
The Border is a roll & write game with simple rules, and a good production: there is felt in the lid of the box so that you can use it as a dice tray, and the 4 included boards are dry erasable so that you can use them over and over again. There is also some asymmetry, as each board has a different configuration.
There is a bit more of a theme in The Border than in NSV’s previous releases, but it still plays very abstractly for me. A big plus is that there is no downtime, as each player can mark something on their board in each turn. On the other hand, the game is perhaps a little too luck-based for my personal taste.
But overall, we enjoyed playing this game and if you like roll & writes, I can highly recommend giving this game a try.