GTM #264 - Dice Realms
by Rio Grande Games


DICE REALMS, a new, innovative twist on "dice customization," is the latest game from Tom Lehmann, award-winning designer of Race for the Galaxy and Res Arcana.

In DICE REALMS, each player rules a small realm, represented by two or more customizable dice. The removable die faces allow for the strategic improvement of farming, mining, defense, upgrades, and more. Each round, the players simultaneously roll their dice to collect grain, victory points, and coins. Then, they must decide how to upgrade their die faces to improve their realms. But the players must be careful; each round, the Fate die is rolled, and fate can be fickle.

From the moment players open the box, they will see that DICE REALMS is packed with content to provide hundreds of hours of gameplay. The game comes with 18 customizable dice with more than 650 die faces. These faces are organized and stored in three custom-designed dice trays that facilitate setup and clean-up. These trays have locking lids so that the die faces stay in place.


DICE REALMS is easy to learn and play. During each round, players roll all their dice simultaneously. After examining the results, they collect rewards from their rolls by taking grain and victory points. Then, they can spend some of those hard-earned resources to change the faces on their dice to improve their abilities for future rolls or buy additional dice.

Fate, however, might have other plans. Additionally, during each round, one player will roll the Fate die. Its faces can affect grain collection (with good and bad harvests), provide bonus upgrades, or cause players who did not roll any defensive symbols to lose a die for the rest of that turn.

When the Fate die shows Winter (which appears on two out of six faces), each player must pay one grain for every die they have or take a misery counter for each grain they cannot pay. Each misery counter is a penalty at the end of the game.


Every game of DICE REALMS will be different. Not only are there multiple paths to victory, but the game also contains thousands of possible game scenarios, thanks to 35 included randomizer tiles. Each game will feature five of these tiles, which add the variety of a "deck builder" to DICE REALMS's core of improvement and expansion, keeping each game fresh and exciting.

The rules for DICE REALMS include 15 pre-designed tile sets for players to explore, including one that is recommended for while learning the game. Tiles may also be chosen randomly for a unique experience.

Some tiles add a single new face, like Diplomat, Patron, or Monument. Other tiles add an upgradable line of 3 faces which adds new strategies to the game. For example, the Cattle line of faces interacts with each other, potentially generating vast quantities of grain, coins, and points if you roll several Cattle faces at once.

A few tiles alter the Fate die -- which is also a customizable die. The Dying Sun, for example, removes the possibility of a good harvest and adds a third winter face. This makes grain even more valuable.

Some tiles allow players to attack each other. Attack tiles can be included for players who enjoy more direct interaction in their games. These tiles are recommended after the players have some experience with the game. They may easily be removed if a group prefers a more friendly game.


The main attraction in DICE REALMS is the dice themselves. Who can resist the feel of the dice and the excitement that comes with every roll? Each player's realm is represented by customizable dice. These custom dice are big and chunky, with faces that pop in and out "Lego-style." Tools are provided to make changing the die faces quick and easy.

Of course, dice are random, and you rarely get the exact roll you want. DICE REALMS gives players several ways to manage these risks: a free reroll of one die every turn, plus reroll and set-a-die tokens that players can acquire during the game.


Like all great leaders throughout history, players must make some tough decisions in order to get ahead. For example, should they expand their realm upward (via upgrades to more powerful faces) or outward (by gaining more dice)? How should they balance the various options of upgrades?

Each die that the player starts the game has very limited ability. These basic faces focus on the game's central production systems (food, money, victory points, or additional upgrade possibilities.) These basic "one-dot" dice faces start on each of the basic dice at the beginning of the game. These faces can be upgraded to "two-dot" faces, which provide better benefits when rolled. The most powerful upgrades in the game are the "four-dot" faces, which give players substantial payouts each time they appear.

The game continues until one type of resource (either victory chips, grain, or misery counters) runs out. Additional chips are available to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to earn extra points or gain even more misery!

Players total their victory chips and misery, plus one or two points for every two- or four-dot face on their dice. (Even if a player never rolls an improved die face, it still counts toward victory.) The player with the highest score wins!


DICE REALMS takes many elements of the deck-building genre and combines them with engine-building optimization. As a result, fans of games like Dominion and Race for the Galaxy will immediately feel at home when they play DICE REALMS for the first time.

Tom has designed several previous dice games: To Court the King, Cíub, and Favor of the Pharaoh. He says, "DICE REALMS is my love letter to dice-rolling fun. It captures the wonderful tactile feel of rolling dice and adds upgrading their die faces. I love watching players play DICE REALMS. As they start popping in and out die faces, I see them starting to grin. Then, we give players ways to mitigate the luck of rolling dice by investing in reroll and set-a-die tokens and layer all this on top of a game of expansion, growth, and feeding your people. Beware, Winter is coming!"

Players familiar with other games from Tom Lehmann will recognize the classic characteristics of his designs. Several years in the making, DICE REALMS has been developed and balanced across hundreds of plays. Easy rules but difficult decisions await players in this unique game. See for yourself why Dice Realms is one of the most anticipated games of 2022!