Copenhagen: Roll and Write – Queen Games – Preview

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The verdict?  This game nailed what a roll and write game should be like!

Joseph Summa

MeepleGamers

9/10

Publisher: Queen Games


Designer: Asger Harding Granerud


Designer: Daniel Skjold Pedersen


Artist: Markus Erdt


Game Type: Roll and Write


Game Type: Pattern Building


Initial Year of Release: 2019


Age Range: 8+


Expected Playtime: 20-40


Number of Players: 2-4

Copenhagen: Roll and Write - Queen Games - Preview 1

Theme and What is it?


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9/10

Copenhagen has very notable and beautiful facades lining the harbor. Players take the role of architects and use their rolling skills to design a new facade for their house on the harbor banks. These will be constructed by chaining polyomino shapes into complete rows and columns of hopefully all windows on occasion.

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Copenhagen: Roll and Write - Queen Games - Preview 3

Gameplay Mechanics


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8/10

Copenhagen roll and write does exactly what a good roll and write needs to do.  It offers a series of small decisions that progressively give less options and cascading bonuses.  Finishing specific rows and columns give bonuses.  Late in the game, these bonuses can cascade into other bonuses.  Copenhagen follows the perfect formula for making a successful new roll and write game.

The active player rolls the dice and picks a color and build a polyomino shape that matches how many dice he has of that color.  This number can be boosted by crossing off any same color virtual dice bonuses (+’s) on their player board.  They then mark one X and the rest O’s for that shape on some part of their facade and remove it from the options list if it was a 4 or 5 tile shape.  

Each other player picks any of the color of dice left unused by the active player and puts an X to extend that colored row bonuses.  The row bonuses give access to one time use * powers that are unique to the color row.  Players start with the ability to reroll some or all of the dice on their active turn twice with their starting red *’s.  

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Initial Impressions


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8/10

Copenhagen: Roll and Write is a race to 12 victory points game.  You score 1 point for a row completed that includes any X’s and 2 points for a row of all O’s.  If you finish a column, you score 2 unless you can master a perfect string of O’s for 4 instead! Collect a full set of bonuses for the same color and you will earn a bonus 2 points.  Keep track of first player so everyone gets equal turns.  Whoever makes it the highest during the round of play where anyone makes it to 12 will win the game.

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Game Build Quality


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7/10

Note that the copy of Copenhagen: Roll and Write I played was a prototype demo version.  I expect the player sheets to come in paper form as shown rather than dry erase type some games attempt.  The dice will almost certainly be different than the ones shown in these images.  I cannot imagine a way to screw up a good game by any changes in components the full version may have.  Queen games doesn’t make low quality productions.

Copenhagen Roll and Write

Artistic Direction


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7/10

Copenhagen Roll and Write follows directly in the footsteps of the main Copenhagen game.  The box art even looks exactly the same.  Fans are going to find nothing at all amiss.  Those unfamiliar with the mother game will find the polyomino construction to scratch a Tetris itch and the layout of the playerboards to be more function than artwork.

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Fun Factor


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9/10

Near the end of the game, players will have row and column bonuses cascading into each other and possibly picking up some bonus points for maxing a color row.  The last 6 or so points tends to come all at once and often for several players in the same overall round.  This keep the game close and long term planning will usually outshine random dice luck.

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Age Range & Weight


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10/10

8+ is totally fair.  This is not a roll and write that will keep kids confused or uninterested.  Anyone can pick up Copenhagen: roll and write and learn it within 5 minutes from a rulebook.  The game plays quickly and easily.  This is definitely one I can recommend for the whole family and any level of experience with gaming in general.

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Conclusions


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9/10

Roll and Write games are all the rage right now.  I have enjoyed most of them that have come across my table.  There are a few universal principles that are required to make them great.  Let’s go through the checklist for Copenhagen: Roll and Write:

Do the options and incentives for decisions get tighter as the game progresses?  Absolutely.

Do the dice force players to adjust their plans reasonably often?  Yup, the color you get the most of is a driving force in many turns. Does that go too far and make it a random driven experience? No, the reroll bonuses available in the red track and the two you start with are enough to make dice randomness impactful but not crippling.

Is there tension in the end of the game condition?  Yes!  Everyone is getting close to finishing multiple rows/columns or getting bonus actions that will set off a chain reaction of point gaining conditions. 

The verdict?  This game nailed what a roll and write game should be like!

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