Dice With Buddies/Yahtzee With Friends (by Scopely) are two games that are actually the same game. Literally. For no sane reason I can imagine two games have been created by the same company that are EXACTLY ALIKE, to the point where you could (and I have) start a game in, say, Yahtzee, and continue it in Dice. The only difference I can see is the color scheme (Yahtzee goes with the familiar red and yellow while Dice does blue and lighter blue).
Leaving the head scratching over this mystery aside. Dice With Buddies is a worthwhile game (I’m sticking with Dice here because that’s what I’ve kept on my phone… simply because I prefer the blue color scheme), available of 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 play is straightforward Yahtzee, so I won’t get bogged down in that. Scopely does a fine job bringing the game to life, 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 traditional 1 on 1 games vs your Facebook friends or matched strangers, there are daily tournaments and long term “ladder matches” available for play.
In the daily tournaments you play against a group of random players and try to place at or near the top to win prizes of “bonus dice” (which can be used in any game to give you an extra roll to try to improve your score) and “diamonds,” which can be used for replays when things go wrong in a game or to buy custom dice of different styles and color. The collectible custom dice serve no purpose whatsoever in terms of improving your score, but they are fun to look at and, well, collecting them is something to do.
One of the most frustrating, yet strangely compelling, parts of the game are periodic ladder tourneys versus computer opponents in different themes (Clue, 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 position. If you lose a match, you lose position… Unless you spend some of your bonus dice to stay where you are. As you defeat opponents and climb the ladder you receive rewards such as experience points, bonus dice, and diamonds. These tournaments usually last for a few weeks, and at one opponent a day, it can take a while to reach the top (you can play more than once a day by spending – you guessed it – bonus dice).
My favorite play option is one-on-one play against friends or ones provided by the matchmaking system. These games can take anywhere from minutes to days to complete, depending on the turnaround time of both players. Players can even message each other from within the game, offering praise or friendly taunts.
The main drawback to this game, the one thing I find severely lacking, is a play-vs-CPU option. The ladder matches are against the CPU, but as I said, they are only one a day, and the opponents range from laughably easy to frustratingly impossible to beat. A stand-alone player-vs-CPU system is a glaring omission, one I find hard to believe Scopely simply “forgot.” But intentional or not, these are still extremely worthwhile games, and highly recommended.