One of the cooperative mechanics that seemed to stand out this last year was the “Cooperative Dice Placement” mechanic. Quite a number of cooperative games in our Top 10 Cooperative Games of 2021 use Cooperative Dice Placement as a main mechanic! Note that this is a little different from our Top 10 Cooperative Dice Games: those are “generic” games with dice as the main component. The games on this list (cooperative dice placement games) use dice as “workers” to perform actions, acquire resources, or fulfill missions. Players work together and place dice to get stuff done! (Note that some games from our Top 10 Cooperative Dice Games “kind of” fit this description: we chose to not consider real-time games and ones that aren’t quite dice placement).
Interestingly, Board Game Geek doesn’t have a “Dice Placement” Category for games: the closest category is “Worker Placement With Dice Workers”, but that’s a more limited view of Dice Placement.
10. Assault on Doomrock
Assault on Doomrock is a cooperative adventure game about fighting and leveling up adventurers. The dice placement is used for combat (a main part of the game). This is an adventure game with lots of exploration and leveling up, but it’s not purely a cooperative dice placement game. The cooperative dice placement is used as the combat mechanism: dice are placed to activate abilities. See below.
I have only played the edition above (I believe that is the second edition): it was a bit long and a bit random, but I still enjoyed it.
At the time of this writing, the Ultimate Edition is on Gamefound and I am currently backing this new edition! I am hopeful it will fix some of the problems and move this further up the list!
9. Star Trek: 5-Year Mission
This is a really light game. The component quality wasn’t great, but the game was simple and fun. Dice are placed to fulfill missions:
This felt like a game we could play with gamers and non-gamers. We enjoyed it enough and would pull it out for non-gamers. But the component quality and simplicity keep it down near the bottom of this list.
8. One Deck Dungeon
One Deck Dungeon is a cooperative game for 1-2 players. Dice placement is used to defeat the monsters in the dungeon. See below.
This is fairly light and simple game which has had a lot of expansions and additions. It’s pretty fun!
7. Deep Space D6: Armada
Deep Space D6: Armada is a cooperative dice placement game set in an “almost Star Trek, but legally distinct from Star Trek” universe. The game has great components and looks fantastic on the table.
Dice are rolled and placed to activate abilities and regions on your ship.
It’s a bit of a table hog! The game has some minor problems, but with a few house rules, this game really shines! See our review of Deep Space D6: Armada here to see if this is right for you.
6. Dice Throne Adventures
Dice Throne Adventures is an expansion for the original one vs. one Dice Throne game. The expansion adds in the ability for a party of adventurers work together to explore and fight monsters on the way to the big bad boss.
Players use dice to activate special abilities for attacks and defenses: strictly speaking, you don’t “place the dice” on a specified space, but you can only use each die once and you still need to “place the dice” to notate it has been used. So, we’re going to call this Dice Placement: Come at me.
Take a look at our review here to see if Dice Throne Adventures is right for you.
Endangered has a very tumultuous history in my game group. Some people love Endangered, and some people hate it! The people who love it point to the amazing production, gameplay, components, rulebook, and game presence! See below.
The people who don’t like it get too involved in the game and say “there’s something depressing about failing as the creatures die! And the game can be too random!”.
Take a look at our initial review of Endangered to see if this is something you might like. The production is amazing and the game looks good, but the randomness might scare you away. This was originally higher on our list, but got pushed down by the next entry.
4. Automated Alice
Automated Alice is a curious game, on so many levels! Me and my group struggled to learn the rules (the rule book isn’t great), but once we did, the game seemed much more fun than expected. This game was actually a lot lower on this list originally, but the quick game play and simple play style (once you know the rules) elevated this light-weight dice placement game: my group has taken a bit of a shine to it.
Players place dice to try to fulfill missions on cards: once a mission is done, a card has a special ability which can be used later.
Take a look at our review of Automated Alice here to see if this is something you would enjoy.
Intrepid was a Kickstarter game that I found really fascinating: it’s uses Dice Placement mechanics to run a space station. The game was surprising cheap, considering how great the components are:
The solo game needs some work to fix, but the game really shined as a cooperative experience. It also took up an entire table! It’s huge on the board!
I liked this a lot more than my friends, which is why it’s only #3, but take a look at our review of Intrepid to see if it’s something you would like. It also made our Top 10 Cooperative Games of 2021!
2. Roll Camera!
Roll Camera! was a bit of a surprise that it was so good! The game has a great rulebook, a great sense of humor! It also worked really well as a solo game. Take a look at our review of Roll Camera! to see it’s something you would like.
All of my groups embraced this game: it was surprising how universal it was. The idea of making a movie seemed to engage everyone, and the dice placement mechanics were interesting.
The game looks great, plays great, has a great rulebook, and just seemed to engage all my playgroups. It also made our Top 10 Cooperative Games of 2021!
1. Roll Player Adventures
In our original review of Roll Player Adventures, I couldn’t recommend this for a solo game, as there weren’t enough dice mitigation mechanics. But after playing the cooperative group game, there was no question what dice placement game would be #1! My group and I have been enjoying this game thoroughly: so much so that it made our Top 10 Cooperative Games of 2021! The story is engaging, the components are fabulous, and the art is gorgeous.
I might call this a storybook game with a dice placement mechanic, so this could also make our next Top 10 Cooperative Storybook Games list.