Will you join us for a holiday in RiverSide? No not the neighbourhood in New York City or the city in California or many other cities and places around the world. No, we are going on holiday on and along a river somewhere in northern Scandinavia. As tourists, we will face the icy cold on this cruise and hopefully catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. Will you join us?
Goal & setup
RiverSide is a roll & write game where players take on the role of tour guides employed by a small tour operator & shipping company. This tour operator & shipping company has several small tour boats with a limited number of seats. You are in charge of 5 different tour boats and a beautifully colourful church boat. The different boats go on excursions and you try to fill as many seats as possible and sell tickets to the tourists (the dice). Along the shore, those on board can go on excursions in the various villages. Tickets and excursions earn points. The most versatile guide gets bonus points and the player with the most points wins.
The RiverSide box contains several tiles that when joined together create the game board. On this game board, the tour boat slowly sails in a circle. This modular game board is not only a round marker, but also contains the excursions that players’ tourists can visit. Each player receives a pencil, a score sheet and the captain’s tile and dice are placed within easy reach of all players.
Each round, the five different dice and the Northern Lights die are rolled to create a common pool of dice. Players may choose one of the available dice each turn (by doing so, they may choose the same dice as other players) to use, but there are some additional rules.
Rolled dice are placed above or below the captain tile. Dice that are above the captain cannot be used by players without paying up. The north light die (the green die) is always placed above the captain. The other dice are first sorted from low to high. The die in the middle is the median; this value determines the temperature for this round. All dice with a value higher than the temperature are placed above the captain’s tile. These dice represent tourists who find it too cold outside and need a little bit more convincing to take a seat on a chair on one their boats this round.
Players choose a die and use it to fill seats on the corresponding colour of boat. Players can use the northern lights die to increase the value of the die that was chosen. They may fill seats, and when they have filled a row of seats, they have sold a group ticket of the corresponding colour (excursion), which in turn allows them to earn points during excursions. If players want to use the northern lights die and/or dice with a higher value than temperature, they have to cross out fire symbols to keep these tourists warm. They tick off as many symbols as the value of the die or dice used. As a result, you can only do this a limited number of times during the game.
Each round, the round marker moves as many steps on the game board as the temperature of the round. Depending on the location of this marker on the game board, players can send certain tourists on an excursion. The village must not be too far away, and villages have a colour or colours and a value per colour. Each time players send tourists from a certain boat on an excursion in a village of this colour, they take this group from that boat to earn points. More tickets for that particular boat equals more points, as the value of the village is multiplied by the amount of tickets from the boat in the same colour as the chosen village.
RiverSide is a wonderfully simple, but deep dice game. Like Clever, you try to earn as many bonuses as possible, because every time you fill a row of seats, you get a one-off bonus in addition to a ticket. This way, you try to fill as many boats as possible at the same time. As a result, you are faced with choices. Which boat and which row(s) will I fill? Dice with a higher value yield more tourists and therefore more tickets and bonuses, but they also cost fire (or heat?) and can therefore only be chosen in a limited way. You want to score a lot with excursions, but at the beginning of the game it is better to score fewer points, because in subsequent rounds, excursions of a certain colour do have to yield more points to count. RiverSide is also very varied due to the modular game board and the varying amount of rounds. A perfect holiday and also perfect to play on holiday!