It was a wonderfully simple and clever design by Jamey Stegmaier during the pandemic. It began as a 9-Realm, one page printable game that could easily be played online with friends. All you needed was the sheet, a pen/pencil and someone (just one person) needed 2-dice. Being a Stonemaier follower, I was aware of it and intrigued slightly, but never really dove in. The game was so popular, Jamey and Stonemaier games rolled out a retail version of it and it only continues to grow with new promo packs being released throughout the year and a Rolling Realms Redux game coming out in 2024 with new additional base realms and a box large enough to hold all realms (those created and those coming).
This is a post for, 'Z' (Zerbique of the ST family) who was curious about the game (and only this morning did I see his comment from mid-summer... sorry 'Z'). I'll try to keep it quick for a general overview.
All players also grab their round tracker card (left) and their resource card (right).
The two 6-sided dice are rolled and all players write the two numbers onto their round tracker. For this example lets us the 6 and 2 in the pic above. Now each player individually chooses how to use those numbers in their realms. Each number can only be used once per round, and you can only play a number into a realm once per round. It's a puzzley type game where you're trying to best utilize the numbers rolled to gain the most stars for end game scoring.
At the bottom of the realm cards you can see stars. Each realm is different in HOW you fill in your realm, gain resources and gain stars. Stars are what you're going after for end of round and end game scoring. In addition to stars for scoring, gaining resources throughout each round allows you to more / gain more. Again, that puzzley aspect comes out; You have to figure out how to best optimize the resources you collected so that you can do the most with them.
After 9-rounds all players total their score for that game. Scores are totalled by the number of stars collected in your realms, plus you get .1 stars for each resource you still have. So a score after game 1 for a player could be 14.2 stars for example. Either the same player or ideally a different player, then chooses the next three realms to play. Round and Resource cards are erased/reset and it's time for game 2.
Rolling Realms plays over 3-games with 9-rounds each and therefore 9 different realms. You then total your scores from each game for your total stars (VPs) to see who the winner is.
These realms are designed based on their board game counter parts. This creativity is something I really admire about Rolling Realms. The base game realms are Stonemaier games realms (Scythe, Tapestry, Viticulture etc..) Youdon't have to have played the games to play THIS game, but if you're familiar with the games your realms were based on, you see the connection and cleverness. 😉 Stonemaier has since created realms for all kinds of other great board games. Jamey Stegmaier said himself that it's not meant to try to entice people to buy ALL realms, but to purchase the realms of games they enjoy, which is definitely what I've been doing (adding realms such as Ark Nova, PARKS, Omnirim etc...).
Rolling Realms is simple enough to teach and doesn't take too long. It's an easy game to introduce to non-gamers and gamers alike. The other additional bonus is it can be played ANYWHERE as long as each player has the realms. It was created during the pandemic as I mentioned and even since, Jamey has live plays online each week where he's rolling the dice and you can play along live, or go back through the videos to play along and try to beat Jamey's score. It's a great game to play with others anywhere in the world online.
Solo can be played playing against Jamey in his many videos (there's probably plenty more people out there doing that on YouTube as well) and the game also comes with an 18-hole "mini golf" that is a great challenge!! It plays similarly but each hole can modify some rules and tells you which realms to play with. I still haven't gone through an entire 18 holes, and my score isn't very impressive so far on the course. 🤣
I love complex games, but I truly love having this quick brain burner in my collection. When I don't have much time to break out one of my big boys like Scythe or Eleven: Football Manager for example, it's a quick satisfying game to get to the table. And it's excellent for family trips to the cottage. 😉