Roll and Move

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Roll (or spin) and Move board games have a bad reputation, for some very good reasons. The main one is that they usually amount to Ameritrash: The player has no control, and as such, needs not put any thought into moving.

Remember Sid Meier's definition of a good game as a series of interesting decisions[1]. Most roll-and-move games are designed to prevent decisions.

Some interesting cases of Roll And Move games:

  • Talisman: Partly gets away with RaM by, at minimum, giving you at least one choice per non-endgame turn (do I go left or right?) and giving you occasional interesting choices once you land on a square (Especially 4th edition, which introduced a fate point mechanic that offered a great deal of opportunity for interesting choices).
  • Backgammon: Gets away with RaM by making the game about which pieces you move once you rolled, and having the players meaningfully conflict once a move is complete.
  • Trivial Pursuit: Not a good game, but a good example of RaM being used for legitimate purposes: Since the game is really only about answering the questions, the board is only a way of keeping score and providing some structure to the game.
    • Other games with the same property include Clue
  • Snakes and Ladders: Other than possibly Monopoly, the platonic ideal of a shitty RaM game. The only defense is that it was intended as religious propaganda rather than being any actual fun.

Footnote 1: Yes, even rhythm games offer interesting choices: how you play, how you learn, how much and what kind of effort you put into mastering a given song or level, etc.