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Dice With Buddies / Yahtzee With Friends (by Scopely) are two games that are actually the same game. Literally. For no reasonable reason, I can imagine that two games were made by the same company that are EXACTLY SIMILAR, to the point where you could (and I) 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 makes the blues and blues lighter).

Leaving his head scratching his head on this mystery aside. Dice With Buddies is an interesting game (I’m sticking with Dice here because that’s what I kept on my phone … just because I prefer the blue color scheme), available on Android, iOS and Facebook. Everyone has played Yahtzee, and if you haven’t, where did you grow up? Or maybe I’m just old …

Either way, the game is simple Yahtzee, so I’m not going to get bogged down in that. Scopely does a great job bringing the game to life, adding creative touches to simple, straightforward play. 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 1-on-1 games against your Facebook friends or 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 get to the top or near the top to win “bonus dice” prizes (which can be used in any game to give you an extra roll. to try and improve your score) and “diamonds”, which can be used for reruns when things go wrong in a game or to purchase custom dice of different styles and colors. Custom collectable dice don’t do any good in terms of improving your score, but they’re fun to watch and, well, collecting them is something to do.

One of the most frustrating, yet oddly fascinating, parts of the game are periodic ladder tournaments against computer opponents in different themes (Clue, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Valentine’s Day, you get the idea). You have to play every day to keep climbing the ranks or risk losing your position. If you lose a match, you lose your position … unless you spend some of your bonus dice to stay where you are. When you beat opponents and climb the ranks, you receive rewards such as experience points, bonus dice, and diamonds. These tournaments usually last a few weeks, and at one opponent per day it can take a while to get to the top (you can play more than once per day by spending – you guessed it – bonus dice).

My favorite game option is head-to-head play against friends or those provided by the matchmaking system. These games can take anywhere from a few minutes to several days, depending on the running time of both players. Players can even send messages to each other from within the game, offering praise or friendly taunts.

The main downside to this game, the only thing I sorely miss, is a play-vs-CPU option. Ladder matches are against the CPU, but like I said, they’re only one per day, and opponents range from ridiculously easy to frustrating impossible to beat. A standalone player vs. CPU system is a glaring omission, one that I find it hard to believe Scopely simply “forgot”. But intentional or not, these are still extremely interesting games and highly recommended.

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