Dice With Buddies / Yahtzee With Friends (from Scopely) are two games that are actually the same game. Literally. For no reason, I can imagine that two games have been created by the same company that are EXACTLY THE SAME, to the point where you could (and I did) start a game on, say, Yahtzee, and continue it on Dice. The only difference I can see is the color scheme (Yahtzee goes with the familiar red and yellow, while Dice makes the lighter blue and blue).
Putting aside scratching head over this mystery. Dice With Buddies is a worthwhile game (I’m sticking with Dice here because that’s what I’ve saved to my phone … simply because I prefer the blue color scheme), available for Android, iOS, and Facebook. Everyone has played Yahtzee, and if you haven’t, where did you grow up? Or maybe I’m just old …
Anyway, the game is straightforward, Yahtzee, so I won’t get bogged down in that. Scopely does a good job of spicing up the game, adding creative touches to a simple and straightforward game. The ability to collect custom dice and “frames” for your portrait or avatar (which can be linked from your Facebook account). In addition to the traditional one-on-one games against your Facebook friends or matched strangers, there are daily tournaments and long-term “ladder matches” available to play.
In daily tournaments, you play against a group of random players and try to place yourself on or near the top to win “bonus dice” prizes (which can be used in any game to give yourself an extra roll to try and improve your score ). and “diamonds,” which can be used for replays when things go wrong in a game or to buy custom dice in different styles and colors. Collectible custom dice serve no purpose in terms of improving your score, but they are fun to watch and, well, collecting them is something to do.
One of the most frustrating, but strangely compelling, parts of the game is the periodic ladder tournaments against computer opponents on different themes (Hint, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Valentine’s Day, you get the idea). You must play every day to keep climbing the ladder or risk losing your position. If you lose a game, you lose position … Unless you spend some of your bonus dice to stay where you are. As you defeat your opponents and climb the ladder, you will receive rewards such as experience points, bonus dice, and diamonds. These tournaments typically last a few weeks, and with one opponent a day, it can take a while to get to the top (you can play more than once a day by spending, you guessed it, bonus dice).
My favorite game option is one-on-one play against friends or those provided by the matchmaking system. These games can take anywhere from minutes to days to complete, depending on the response time of both players. Players can even message each other from within the game, offering praise or friendly taunts.
The main drawback of this game, the only thing seriously lacking for me, is a CPU game option. Ladder matches are against the CPU, but like I said, it’s only one per day, and opponents range from ridiculously easy to frustratingly impossible to beat. An autonomous player versus CPU system is a glaring omission, one that I find it hard to believe that Scopely simply “forgot.” But intentionally or not, these are still extremely valuable and highly recommended games.