From the outside it might look like the board gaming world is just a big melange of different ideas, concepts, and game settings, but it turns out there quite a few different well known categories and types of games. For example there are push your luck games, deck building games and worker placement games. I’ve played quite a few different types but I realize that I had never played what’s known as a “roll and write” game.
Luckily, Adam’s Apple Games sent along a copy of the roll and write version of their game Truck Off. Or, to be more formal, Truck Off Food Truck Frenzy: Roll and Write. It’s based on their popular game Truck Off Food Truck Frenzy, but in a simpler, much more portable format.
The concept behind roll and write is that you have a sheet of paper and are marking down actions based on the result of repeated rolls of one or more dice. In Truck Off R.A.W., you play with a full set of D&D dice: a d4, d6, d8, d10, d12 and d20.
The game’s concept is that you’re a food truck driver and you’re trying to maximize your route through a small city and feed as many people as possible. Problem is, you have a limited range you can drive each turn and you can never serve food at the same venue twice.
Here’s the basic game pad and dice:
I’ll explain each section in more detail but the basic idea of gameplay is that the lower map is where all your hungry customers live, and each venue has a shape and color that matches a specific die of the set. For example the purple triangle matches the purple d4 die, the blue hexagon matches the blue d8 and so on. The top portion is where you score and it forces you to have a strategy when you’re proceeding, not just drive randomly around:
Start at the top left and write in the corresponding die value for the venue you choose each turn. You can skip forward and leave boxes blank (you can’t help it!) but you can never go backwards on the route tracker. This means that if you decide to jump right to the d20 on the first move, you’ve sacrificed all the other possible values on that row. These challenges are forced on you because of how you traverse the map: By default you can only move 4 and you always have to head to an open (e.g., unvisited) venue whether it’s adjacent to one you’re on in the route tracker or whether it creates a huge gap.
I will note that the game plays solo or multiplayer, but I have only played it solo. It’s a really good solo game!
You start in one of the three corners denoted on the map, roll the dice and decide what you can reach and which will generate the highest revenue (the dice show money earned per stop). In the below, I’m starting on the top left and you can see the dice values I’ve thrown to begin:
Since my range is 4 squares and I must stop at an open venue if possible, that means my only options are purple, blue or green. Everything else is too far apart. But now look at the route tracker: if I opt for blue (the highest value of those three options) I’ve also skipped three spaces that can’t be filled in later. Hmmm…
A bit later in the game, here’s where things stand:
Along the top you can see that for my first move I opted for the purple triangle venue, then green, blue and orange. Once you get three in a row you can circle the bonus on that row (in this case allowing me to build an additional bridge that you can see on the lower right of the map) and three in a column gets a similar bonus along the bottom of the route tracker. But now I’m at the orange venue to the top right and you can see both my route location and the dice rolled. I can get to the d20 black space on the top, but with a rolled value of ‘2’ is it worth it? I can’t go to the blue venue near the center since I’ve already been there Yellow? Then I skip a LOT of possible score spots on this row of the route. What would you do at this point?
Even further along in the game:
This time I’m at the blue space close to my new bridge on the right. So what do I choose? That 13 on the d20 is appealing, but given where I am on the route tracker, it would burn almost two entire rows for me to score it. Yikes. As always, the goal is to not burn too many spaces if we can help it!
And finally, here’s my completed score and route tracker for this game:
Each row is added up, then any bonuses are added in the penultimate box. Final score is the sum of them all: 116 points. I have to admit, my previous game had a significantly higher score:
Why the difference? Luck of the roll, route, strategy, planning, fickle customers, etc. Suffice to say for a game this simple to play, Truck Off Roll and Write turns out to be quite fun and engaging. It’s also a really good solo game because it’s quick and easy to play (depending on if you suffer from analysis paralysis or not I should say). Definitely a keeper that I’ll keep enjoying!
Disclosure: Adam’s Apple Games sent a copy of Truck Off R.A.W. so that I could write this review. Thanks, AAG!