What is this game about?
OctoDice is a light roll and write game based on Aquasphere. You'll be rolling and combining dice to take actions and earn "knowledge points." The goal is, of course, to earn the most knowledge points! The challenge of the game is deciding which dice to keep and then how to combine them. You initially roll six dice on your turn, but you can only keep two each time you roll. So you keep two dice and reroll four, then keep two of those dice and reroll two. Then you just have to work with what you've got by combining the dice and choosing actions wisely.
The actions you can take are varied—you can build robots, do research, and analyze crystals, all of which will earn you points. You can also take some actions that don't necessarily earn you points, but which can help you in the future. If you build submarines, you can get extra bonus points for your robots during each of three intermediate scoring phases. Additionally, it's possible throughout the game to upgrade your lab to get more flexibility with your dice or better scoring bonuses.
Aside from your regular actions, you will also roll "octopods," and unless you keep a certain amount of them, you can take point penalties during intermediate scoring rounds. Sometimes you just get a single, useless octopod that is only good for preventing trouble down the line. If you get multiples on a single turn, however, you can actually get a sweet scoring bonus.
How does it play solo?
OctoDice has a beat-your-own-score solo mode that is just a little different from the multiplayer game. In multiplayer OctoDice, it pays to pay attention to your opponents' rolls, because players can take actions using the opponent's dice. Because that is not possible in solo, you just take extra turns to account for those extra actions you could have taken in a multiplayer game.
OctoDice is a decent filler. I like the combination of luck of the dice and the decisions you have to make about which dice to keep each time you reroll. Making smart choices early can lead to increasing dividends down the line, especially where technology and submarine construction are concerned.
That said, OctoDIce is just okay. It may be too light—I generally prefer roll and writes with a bit more buildup, that give you a sense of growth and progress throughout. I also prefer dice games without completely dead turns, which can happen in OctoDice. Remember how I said it pays to make smart choices early? That's if the dice give you an opportunity to make those choices. There are also some issues with the components. My dice were chipped and flaked right out of the box, and some of the octopods look very blotchy. OctoDice is entertaining, but it doesn't quite come together in a package that will keep me coming back for more.
Do I recommend it?
If you absolutely love roll and writes, then you'll probably enjoy OctoDice. But it's not my favorite roll and write.
Overall Score: 3 stars
5 stars — I love it!
4 stars — I really like it.
3 stars — I like it.
2 stars — It's okay.
1 star — Meh.