Quick! Bag as many tasty treats as you can whilst the pantry door is open! But watch out for rival mice in the family fun, dice rolling Ratzzia from DEVIR!
Designer: Sophia Wagner
Artist: Núria Aparicio
Release date: 2019
Age: 8+ (7+)
Favouritefoefunlearning score 8/10
*Dice Rolling * Hand Management* Fun * Worker Placement * Take That * Easy to Learn * Open Information * Luck *
I don’t usually say “Awww, rats!” in a cutesy-cuddly way when I see the fuzzy, brown thieves going in and out of our hen food store! But the little critters in Ratzzia are a different breed. Literally in fact, as they are actually dice mice. And as there’s nothing @minimeepleuk likes more than rolling big bunches of dice, I had a feeling Ratzzia would go down a tasty treat!
Rats! No, Wait. Mice!
Ratzzia is a fun dice rolling, worker placement, dice management game where you are playing families of mice trying to steal lots of yummy sausages, cheese, and crackers from the pantry. Thieving the tasty treats isn’t enough, however, as they have to go into your goodie bag to score. And the first to collect 25 points worth of delicious dinner is the winner!
Playtime in the Pantry!
Ratzzia is simple to set up and play. Each person gets 7 dice in their choice of colour which represent their little mice family. They also get a little goodie bag. The sausages (worth a point each) as well as the crackers and cheese (worth 5 and 10 points respectively) are put to one side within easy reach (tip: change sausages in your bag for them as you gain more for easier totting up!). First player also gets 3 sausages and then everybody else gets one more than the player before them. Don’t bag them yet though!
The main board represents the overflowing Pantry and shows all the places you are going to want to place your own dice in order to (hopefully) gain food or actions to help you steal more or store your goodies! If there are 2 or 3 players, add the cardboard inserts to close off some of the game board – they hide certain spots to keep the game play tight.
First turn, you roll all your dice. You can then choose to place as many as you want in the slots that match the numbers on the faces with those on the board (Note: 1 re-roll per turn is allowed). Even if you have dice that match free spots, you don’t have to place them all this turn – just one is the minimum.
But if you do want to place a dice, you have to start at the lowest free slot in each column that shows a matching number. Some spots show nothing in which case any die can go there. Others show equals signs which means the next dice must match the previous one. Then, once a column is completed by any player placing a die in the top slot on their own turn, all the dice in that column get returned to those players together with the corresponding rewards shown under their dice. The player completing the column (aka whose mouse has climbed up to the very top shelf) also gains the bonus pantry bonus.
And some of the top shelf pantry rewards are sweet! The candy jar gives you a wild dice that can be used as any number. Anxious Annie lets you relocate the top die into any column (regardless of number) and push all existing dice up by one slot. Greedy Gobbler lets you steal one half of another player’s working store of food. The Accountant forces all players to share their unprotected treats, and the sausage store give you a bumper crop of bratwurst!
If you have no dice left or can’t place any on your turn, you can remove all your dice from one column. You’ll risk giving other players more chances to fill those spots, but you’ll be able to place next turn!
But remember……your juicy sausages, chunks of cheese and crunchy crackers need protecting – just having them in front of you doesn’t score you any points, and makes them vulnerable to being pilfered by other players! You have to bag them for it to count towards your target of 25!
So you must also try to place two matching dice in the storage slots that allows you to squirrel food away into your bag! And the higher the matching dice value, the more you can store (e.g. 2 x 6 dice = 12 points worth of food stored safely in your bag! If you don’t, Greedy Gobbler or the Accountant could mean your unprotected sausages get stolen or reallocated by another hungry mouse!
There’s also a hungry Cat who will frighten all the mice away from the pantry (i.e. all the dice get removed and returned to the players) when their row is completed!
This is a fun family game! Rolling lots of dice is always fun! But there is also some strategy to mitigate the luck factor. Starting columns on your turn will give you modest rewards but top spot bonuses could then go to others! As such, burning through all your dice in the first turn isn’t going to get you the real goodies. But if nobody places more than a few dice, everybody is going to miss out!
Trying to protect your sausage stash is also a key consideration throughout the game as stealing happens a lot! Just when you think you’ve got a haul ready to bag, Greedy Gobbler gets activated and half disappears before your very eyes! And that back and forth shapes the flow and duration of the game. The 25 point target looks within reach but then the kitchen table gets turned and another player takes a dive into your unprotected sausage stash!
@minimeeple got the placement rules straight off and started to understand the need to hold dice back by the end of our first game. Several games in, the temptation to reserve sausage slots is still there, so he places a lot of dice early on. As a result column rewards abound for him when one of us completes a column! Notwithstanding his lack of Anxious Annie action options, he has a blast rolling and placing and loves reaching into his little bag to see how close he is to getting the 25 points to win! And more often than not, he has managed to nab a Candy Jar wild die at the last minute which makes him very happy indeed!
I would say the game length is at the top end of his attention span right now – 30 minutes of hard and fast rolling and deciding is enough to satisfy him – but I have no doubt that, as he gets more into the strategy, he will be hanging on to every last crumb he can (or stealing them off me and @shadowmeeplemedia! Plus he is only 7 so he has years of Ratzzia rolling ahead of him! Haha
Ratzzia is such a cutely themed game, and the components are lovely – chunky double layered board and wooden food tokens are always a hit around here. Oh and @minimeepleuk loves the transparent Candy Jar Dice which he says are his “Golllllllldddddden Dice”. Plus, thanks to inserts that block off parts of the double layered board it scales well (there are also 2 player rules which help with keeping decisions tight)!
Interestingly, given how @shadowmeeple and I love to tussle in take-that play, none of us are using the Cat that much yet. Probably because it affects everyone though and self-sabotage isn’t quite so sneaky! Greedy Gobbler is definitely one that we each repeatedly aim for every game, mind you!
Given the cute chaos, we went one stage further and experimented with simultaneous dice rolling and that was one crazy scramble for slots. It was super fun though and I definitely wouldn’t be against playing either way! Overall we are having great time playing Ratzzia and it is a definitely a keeper for us!
Please note that a copy of this game was kindly provided by the publishers for review. I am not paid for my comments, however, and all opinions are my own. I am also not affiliated to or sponsored by any retail store.