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DICE ACADEMY from BLUE ORANGE is a simple word game that uses specially designed dice to create Topics and Letters much in the way we used to play "Stop the Bus" except we used a pencil tip and a newspaper to decide the letters and wrote down a list of topics prior to playing; in this it has similarities to "SCATTERGORIES" (which we have always known as "Stop the Bus").

The main differences are that you don't have a preset list of categories and you don't have just one letter for everyone to work with. Instead one player rolls the ten dice and then all players simultaneously try to match the dice into pairs with acceptable words that begin with the letter of the dice. This is played at speed as once a player has called out a correct word and paired the dice those dice are removed from the game - the game ends when one player reaches the predetermined total of points, one point per pair of dice.

Then there is the twist!

When I say 'pair of dice' I mean two dice of different colours. Thus looking at the photo I took of the ten dice your first thought for the Blue 'E' might be 'Eiffel' because the Blue Object die shows the Eiffel Tower. This would be wrong because both dice are Blue. If however you had selected the Blue 'E' and called out 'Entdecker' for the Pink die you would win the dice and thus score a point.

The game is fun, of that there is no doubt (unless you don't like silly word games). Families love to try and out-shout each other and a little bit of clever-cloggedness and this is just the type of game to have everyone smiling throughout. Players can show off their cleverness and their knowledge. We made a house rule that in each game - we play up to 10 points which we found was about right - the same word from a previous Round cannot be used again, at least until the next time we play. The rules suggest that you try to remember your own scores, but seeing as I often have trouble remembering almost anything we go 'old school' and use pencil and paper.

So using the dice shown in our photo someone might take the Green 'F' and Red 'Sports' dice and call out Football! If in a future Round the Red lands again on Sports and any die lands with the 'F' face up then FOOTBALL cannot be called again. It adds a memory aspect and also causes players to think a little more 'Formula 1', 'Formula 2'  etc are fair though because they are different sports.

The Letter Dice: Note that the 'N' sideways could be misconstrued to be a 'Z'
Blue:      B  D  E  O  R  S
Green:    F  G  N  P  U  V   
Pink:      H  I   L  M  O  R
Red:       A  C  K  N   T  V    
Yellow:  F  O  L   P   S  T

The Theme Dice
Blue:     Bird or Flying Animal / Land Animal / Fish or Underwater Animal / Tree or Plant / Object / Monument
Green:   Something Rectangular / Something Square Shaped / Something Circular / Something Big / Something Small / Something Liquid
Pink:     Item of Clothing / Vehicle / Meal / Drink / Game / Fruit or Vegetable
Red:      TV Programme or Series / Song or Music / Sport or Sporting Accessory / City / Country / Film
Yellow:  Job / Female First Name / Fictional Character / Singer / Male First Name / Famous Person

The designer, Yannick Gobert, has a great sense of humour (or if not him, the person who wrote out the rules has): Under 'Set-Up' the first sentence is "Remove the dice from the box so they will be easier to roll!"  Caused me to giggle.

I wouldn't say this was aimed at the general board, dice and card playing gaming populace, aka 'gamers' but as a family game it is brilliant. It is easy to carry and apart from requiring a small flat surface (you always have the floor - unless you're hanging out over the Grand Canyon) and something to keep score - who doesn't have a phone in their pocket? - this is a play 'anywhere with anyone' type of game. At the prices I have seen I would recommend this for its fun value alone.

You can find this online for a few pennies under £9.00 or a few pennies close to £13.00 but always check out your Local Games Store first, they will appreciate your custom and can hopefully match any price you find elsewhere.


© Chris Baylis 2011-2015