Encore! may not be new to some folks in the gaming industry as it’s been out for a bit but it’s new to me! Encore! is one of those games that was on my “to buy” list for a while but it kept getting beat out by flashier games with better themes — as it doesn’t have a theme. But I am SO GLAD I own it now! We’ve been stuck at home since March and my husband and I play it at least a few times a week as it’s a favorite for both of us.
If you like slightly puzzle-y, slightly frustrating dice games that make you never feel you’ll ever have a perfect game – Encore! is for you! I’d put it on a shelf next to Qwixx, Rolling America, and even Welcome To… despite it not being a dice game.
How to Play
To start Encore! you give everyone a scoresheet and select one player to roll first. They’ll roll all 6 dice and for the first few rolls everyone will select their 2 die combination at the same time, but then it moves to the roller is going to select their 2 dice then remove them from play before letting the others select their 2 dice. One die is going to have a number and the other die is going to have a color, and you need one of each to cross off your boxes. As you can see in the picture below, there are lots of colored boxes on the scoresheets. You have to start the game in the middle column (H) and then you can work your way off from there as long as you’re crossing off a box that is next to, above or below a box you’ve already crossed off. You won’t always be able to cross off every box in a particular section of color and that’s okay — because you ALWAYS have to cross off the EXACT number of boxes on the die. If you roll a 5 red, you must cross off 5 touching red boxes — not 4 not 3 – FIVE. If you don’t have 5 red boxes together in a group, then choose a different pair of dice or skip your turn. There are wilds (? on the number dice and black X on the color die) that allow you to replace one die with the color you want or the number you want. You only get so many of those (! row on the bottom) and unused wilds will earn you points a the end of the game.
Which brings me to how to score. If you are the first player to completely box off a column, you tell the group and you get the top number of points. Anyone after you will get the bottom number of points when they complete the column. The game ends when someone finishes crossing off all of the boxes for 2 of the colors. And same deal as with the columns, if you’re the first to finish a color you get the higher point total and everyone else gets the lower one. Once someone has 2 colors finished, the game is over and you total up the points you earned for completed columns, your remaining wilds, your points for completed colors and then you subtract 2 points for each starred box left uncrossed off on your board. Player with the highest score is the winner!
Like I said in my intro — we really love Encore! It’s challenging every time and I’ve never seen what looks like a “perfect game” so there’s always the desire to play again! The games take a little bit longer than Qwixx because you have to wait for the roller to take their turn before the other players can see what is left and make their decision. So if you play with slow decision makers, this is going to take a bit, but it’s not bad. You just can’t play a super speedy version of this. Still, I love the challenge of Encore! and can’t see it leaving the “frequently played” game area anytime soon.
~$20 Encore! at Amazon also check your local toy and game store
Ages 8 and up