The Tumblin’ Dice board game is a dice-flicking dexterity game for 2-4 players. And the more the merrier: you can easily add some more dice to the mix to add a few more friends, or play in teams. A game lasts less than an hour.
It had a limited run from Eagle-Gryphon Games on Kickstarter (see below). But it is currently available direct from publisher Ferti in France. I had it delivered direct to the UK for a very reasonable price. But be careful to get the right one, as there is also a smaller edition; Tumblin’ Dice Jr (or Medium). Wherever you order from, check you’re getting the right one.
This is a review of the full-size Ferti version. It comes with a lovely two-piece wooden board (roughly 26×16 inches when assembled), 10 wooden pegs and 14 dice. It will set you back (at time of writing) €85 direct from Ferti. Certainly not cheap, but this is a large, high quality wooden board so I think it is reasonable value for money.
Teachin’ the Tumblin’ Dice board game
Well, this won’t take long! Players take it in turns to place one of their dice on the small flicking platform and, well, flick it. The board has four stepped scoring zones. If the flicked dice lands off the board, it is out of the round. If any other dice are knocked out of the scoring zones in the process, they are also removed from the round.
Players keep rolling until they’ve used all their dice. Then you score any dice left in the scoring zones. These zones are marked -1x, 1x, 2x, 3x and 4x. And you simply multiply the number rolled on your dice with the scoring zone. Some a roll of ‘4’ in the x2 zone is going to bag you eight points. But a roll of ‘1’ in the x4 zone will only get you four points. You continue like this for four rounds, with the highest overall score claiming victory.
Due to the base game’s simplicity, there are quite a few variants available. You can instead play to a certain score, play as teams, or add the dice and score zone (rather than multiplying) to help younger players. Or for a less random scoring system. It’s also worth noting the Eagle-Gryphon Games edition has a slightly different board and rules set.
The four sides
These are me, plus three fictitious players drawn from observing my friends and their respective quirks and play styles.
- The writer: There’s something pleasing about a well-made wooden object. And Ferti’s Tumblin’ Dice board game is one of those things. And better still, it is good, clean, simple fun to play. Dexterity is often a good leveller across age groups too, making this a fun end-of-night game but also great for families. And even your olds will revel at its construction, as well as the classic, tradition game idea.
- The thinker: I have nothing to add.
- The trasher: Once you’ve got a bit of technique down, this can be a really mean game. Taking someone else’s good dice off the table is probably more fun that scoring your own! But then you have to have the right crowd. There’s nothing here to stop people simply picking on someone or just playing to cause havoc. So, make sure everyone gets into the right frame of mind. Then, it’s great fun.
- The dabbler: What a fantastic family game! It looks gorgeous, you can learn it in five minutes, and it plays fast. What’s not to like? We like to have a game of singles then split up into teams, with the best and worst players teamed together. This way everyone is in with a chance. Especially as the scoring can be so swingy! But then that’s half the fun, right?
Boy oh boy, is Tumblin’ Dice random. You can make the perfect flick shot, watching your dice land perfectly in the x4 area – but on a one. Then your friend feebly flicks into the x1 area – but it’s a six! And they’re ahead by two points. Yes, this game is random. Random random random. You just flick dice and have fun. Or not.
It is also heavy, bulky and expensive. And really doesn’t need to be a beautiful wooden object. I’m sure you could make a perfectly serviceable cheap plastic edition for half the price. But they didn’t. They made this. So for these various reasons, it may also not be for you. Some compare Tumblin’ Dice to Crokinole, or Carrom. This seems odd, as those are clearly games of skill. Sure, they’re dexterity games on a wooden board. But this is daft, while they are much more serious. That said, if you are looking for a more serious game with way less luck, you should check them out. Both are excellent games.
There were serious issues with the Eagle-Gryphon Games Kickstarter edition. If you do consider picking up a copy, check the manufacturer. And if it is an Eagle-Gryphon copy, I’d suggest you be very careful to check its condition. The one downside with the Ferti edition is that they cheaped out a little on the dice. They’re great quality, but you only get 14 dice – four each in two colours, three each in the other two. This is because, with more than two players, you only throw three dice per round. But it’s a cheap ass move for a game this price to force you into the colours you can use in a two-player game.
Conclusion: Tumblin’ Dice board game
At a purely base level, Tumblin’ Dice is a lot of fun. The kids will love it and grandma can join in. Then, once they’ve gone to bed and the booze is flowing, the ‘grown ups’ can have a proper giggle with it too. It’s also great to put on a table at conventions, for people to have a few rounds of while they’re waiting for ‘proper’ games to finish. So despite the ridiculous luck levels, and high price, I’m very glad to have this gorgeous game in my collection.