What is this game about?
Rolling America is a simple yet challenging roll and write game in which you are given eight rounds to place numbers in as many U.S. states as possible. The catch? States can only be within one number of every other state whose borders they touch (e.g. if one state has a 4 in it, you can put a 3, 4, or 5 in a neighboring state). Each round, you'll roll six of seven dice, two at a time. Each die color corresponds to a different region of the country, and you can place numbers in the regions that match your die colors.
You will quickly find yourself stuck, although it is definitely possible to maximize your progress by making use of special skills in the game. There are three special powers, each of which can be used three times per game. The "dupe" ability allows you to duplicate a number you just rolled. The "guard" ability allows you to fill a state with a number even if it's not a legal placement. And "color change" allows you to treat a die as any color on the map. If you can't place a number in a state space, you fill it with an X. Your final score at the end of the game is the number of Xs on your map—a number you want to be as low as is humanly possible!
How does it play solo?
Rolling America is a roll and write that has no player interaction. The solo version of the game plays exactly like the multiplayer, except it's your own score that you're trying to beat from game to game.
Rolling America is good for what it is. I paid about $8 for it, and the entire game comes in a tiny box that easily fits into a purse or backpack. (Although you'll need to have your own separate writing utensil.) It's ultimately a luckfest, but making smart choices and maximizing your use of special powers can have a big impact on your score. Rolling America is quick, portable, and easy-to-teach, all of which are pros. However, I wouldn't say it's the best roll and write I have played to date. It is definitely pleasant and engaging, but it doesn't have the same addictive quality that my favorite roll and writes have. (For example, I'm crazy about The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game, and will basically never say no to a game of it.)
Do I recommend it?
Yes, but it's not a must buy. If you're looking for the ultimate combination of cheap, affordable, and entertaining—and especially if you like roll and writes--Rolling America may be for you. But I think there are better options out there.
Overall Rating: 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.