Think of perhaps shuffleboard with dice. Think, for example, of a shuffleboard that is on five levels, with, where there were once pucks to slide, dice to, well, slide perhaps or flick or shove. A shuffleboard looking pretty much exactly like this.

Think further of the role, or roll, of luck – how the dice, even though you try to slide them everso carefully, tend to change faces when they descend a level. There’s an intimation of the possibility that one could control all of this, making the die land 6-up even by the time it reaches the X4 level after having knocked all the opponents’ dice to off-table oblivion. On the other hand, there’s an unavoidable element of luck which makes a 7-year-old often as successful as a 57-year-old. Think of this, and you’ll understand, almost immediately, why Tumblin’ Dice has received a Major Fun Family Game award.

If you know shuffleboard, you’ll know how to play Tumblin’ Dice. When I introduced the game at the Tasting, I asked my fellow Tasters to play the game without looking at the rules. With almost no discussion, they played almost exactly the way the designer had intended them to. Because the game was so easy to figure out, it is exceptionally welcome in a variety of settings, especially recreation centers, classrooms and my house.

Speaking of classrooms, the game requires enough arithmetical calculations to make it actually useful in almost any elementary school setting. When a die lands in special scoring sections of the board, the face value of the die is multiplied by a given factor. So, in figuring out a total score players exercise both additional and multiplication, and, one might argue, even algebraic skills.

But don’t let its educational implications fool you. Tumblin-Dice is an invitation to minutes or hours of play, for kids, for adults, for the whole darn community. Did I mention adults? The kind of adults who might be interested in playing, um, professionally?

It’s made as well as it plays – a big, polished, two-piece all wood, table-worthy game that you might never put away. Ever.

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