Game Review by Steve Riola
Skyline is a new game from Tasty Minstrel Games, makers of Belfort, Eminent Domain, Homesteaders and importers of Village and Noblemen to name a few. Skyline was a kickstarter incentive for those that backed Ground Floor, but is now also available in retail locations. Ground Floor will hit your local store in a few months if I’m correct.
It’s simple, you build the best skyline that you can by grouping dice and constructing buildings in order to score the most points. Dice are rolled and placed in columns by type, each of the three colors of dice representing a different building. The taller the building the more points you’ll receive. The player after 9 rounds with the best skyline earns the most points and wins the game.
You’ll place the Status board in the center of the play area and the wooden cube on the first space of the round marker at the top of the board. Place all of the dice in piles near the status board. There are 3 different types of dice in Skyline. Ground Floor dice, Upper Floor Dice or Penthouse Dice. Separate the building tiles by victory points so they’re accessible to all players as they’ll replace completed buildings made of dice with these tiles in their skyline.
Place one of each dice in the Abandoned District. The player who most recently visited a high-rise building is the first player. Turns will be taken clockwise for the remainder of the game.
The beginning player starts with a High Rise (orange) Ground Floor dice built in their area. The 2nd player will start with a Mid- Rise (Blue) Ground Floor in their area and the 3rd player a Low-Rise (Purple) Ground Floor in their area. The fourth player does not get a ground floor die to start the game.
You’re ready to play!!
Game Play Overview:
Take Dice – At the beginning of your turn you have the option to take any 3 dice from the Construction Yard that you wish to roll. You may alternatively take all of the dice from the Abandoned district, we’ll cover this district more in a little while.
Roll Dice – The active player will roll all of the dice they have selected.
Take Actions – The active player must now choose 1 or more active dice to resolve using the following 3 action options.
Abandon: You must move one of the active dice (dice just rolled) to the abandoned District. Example: You have rolled 3 dice and can use none of them in your current buildings nor start a new building with them. You may place one of your dice into the abandoned district to re-roll the remaining dice, by doing so you’re building the dice in the abandoned District, allowing another player the option to take those dice on their turn. Why would you do this? So you didn’t have to demolish a building that you’ve already built. We’ll cover demolishing a building in just a minute.
Build: Build the chosen dice by starting a new building or expanding existing buildings. Essentially adding height to your building. You may add to a current building or start a new building, you may want to roll at least 1 ground floor dice so that you always have a building started in case you want to demolish a building instead of adding a dice to the Abandoned district for another player.
There are a few rules with the build action that are important to note. A ground floor can always be added to a players skyline. Upper floor and Penthouse dice must always be added to the same type of building, so blue with blue and orange with orange. When a building is complete you will replace it with a building tile of the same height and move the dice used back to the construction yard.
Demolish: Move chosen dice and one building from the active players skyline to the Construction Yard. If you roll all 3 dice and can not build or add to a building with them, you may demolish a building and add one of the active dice back into the Construction zone. Why would you ever demolish one of your own buildings? To ensure that you’re not adding dice to the Abandoned district so that other players do not have an option to roll more than 3 dice.
Roll Again – The active player must choose one of the following two actions.
Continue : Roll any number of remaining active remaining dice and repeat steps 3 & 4.
Resign: End the turn and move all remaining dice to the Construction yard.
All dice that remain after you’ve take actions, you may now re-roll. This continues until you’re done with your turn.
The end game conditions are:
The game will end as the last player takes their turn on the 9th round.
The end of the round in which a player has completed a building that is 6 dice high.
After that, add up your completed buildings and the best architect wins.
Skyline is a simple game, roll dice and make a decision. I’m not a huge fan of dice games, I’ve played Zombie Dice and Martian Dice and while both are quick and slightly entertaining they just don’t do it for me. I’m not a big fan of randomness in games. That being said I actually enjoy Skyline because there are some strategic decisions to be made other than just pressing your luck and rolling again. The ability to add to the Abandoned District vs Demolishing adds a bit of depth to your decisions. Do you sacrifice a 1 or 4 point building just to ensure that the next player doesn’t have an opportunity to gather more dice to roll? It’s a tough call sometimes, especially when those 9 rounds seem to fly by. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely a press your luck game, but it feels deeper than that. I actually played the solo variant a few times just to get the game play down and also enjoyed it as well.
It’s not a game that is as easy to carry around as Zombie Dice or Martian dice as you get 60 dice in the box, but it is a small box and won’t take much space in a bag or purse if you want to bring a quick game to play. It could easily be played on a lunch break or as a filler to kill some time between games at your game night. I probably wouldn’t have purchased Skyline on my own based on my previous dice game experiences but I’m glad it accompanied my copy of Ground Floor. It will hit the table often enough to have a permanent spot on the game shelf.