Dice Hospital is a dice manipulation game in which you must treat patients and manage your hospital to the best of your ability, scoring points for discharging patients and losing points for, well, killing them!
Patients are represented by dice, with a wellness scale of 0 being literally dead and over 6, the patient is full recovered and able to be discharged.
Each round starts with a drafting phase where you will admit an ambulance of three new patients to your hospital and then choose to either build a new room onto your hospital or hire a new specialist.
Each room within your hospital has it’s own unique treatment and each specialist can help treat different patients in various ways. During the treatment phase, you will send each of your staff to a room within your hospital which triggers different healing effects. These healing effects increase your dice values, any patients that are not treated in a round will suffer neglect and their health will deteriorate, decreasing their dice by 1.
Any patients on 0 will be taken to the morgue, whilst patients who have been healed passed 6 will head to the discharge lounge, ready to be returned to the supply. The more patients you discharge in a single round, the more points they are worth, while fatalities are worth negative points at the end of the game, rightly so!!
Oh and your hospital is limited to only 12 beds and if you don’t make room for your new patients at the beginning of the next round, you’ll have to kill off the old ones to make room! Doesn’t seem extreme at all…
|Player Count||1 – 4 players|
|Play Time||45 – 90 mins|
|Weight||2.13 / 5|
|Publisher||Alley Cat Games|
Disclaimer: This game was provided by the publisher, but my reviews are always 100% honest and all photos and opinions are my own!
For a light-medium game, I found it delightfully ‘thinky’! It’s one of those games where you need that bit of forethought and planning ahead and the more you play, the more you can refine your strategies.
Considering it’s a game with dice, it never feels particularly luck based either. You draft the dice and can usually make them work so it doesn’t feel like bad rolls are ever forced on you. And sometimes it even pays to neglect patients a little before you start treating them!
The drafting aspect is interesting and great for balancing the game. When you roll the dice to place into the ambulances, you place the dice into the numbered ambulances, with the sickest dice in ambulance number one through to the healthiest dice in the highest numbered ambulance. Obviously the healthier the dice, the easier they are to treat and discharge quickly, but after choosing an ambulance, you then draft hospital rooms or specialists, in ambulance order, from lowest to highest. So if there is a room or specialist you really want, it pays to take the sicker patients to get first choice!
The game can cause some analysis paralysis for those prone to it, during the treatment phase, especially in later rounds when you have more patients, more specialists and more rooms to consider! However the treatment phase is played simultaneously which does help reduce the waiting time a little. Played with more decisive players who know the game, Dice Hospital is a pretty quick game, a fact which doesn’t change much from a 2 player or a 4 player game.
AESTHETICS & COMPONENTS 7/10
Dice Hospital definitely has the nostalgic feel of Theme Hospital for those who remember that beauty of a video game! The artwork is nice with some really thoughtful touches like the little dice patients in each room which are adorable!
There’s also clearly a lot of though gone into diversity in this game with many races and genders represented in the specialist roles which should always be recognised as a great thing!
Component wise, there are very cute custom meeples and the tiles, cards and dice are of a good quality although nothing special.
RULES & TEACHING 7/10
The rulebook is well written and illustrated nicely. There are a lot of reference pages to make absolutely sure all the symbols used throughout the game are clear. The game also comes with useful player aids which if you’ve been here before, you know, I live for good player aids!
The rules are straight forward which in theory makes it an easy game to teach, but there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the strategy. I actually taught this to a non-gamer (his gaming abilities had been slightly oversold to me so I thought this would be ok) and while he picked up the rules easily enough, he was somewhat overwhelmed by the choices to make and the more puzzly aspect of the game.
Due to the quick gameplay and easy set up, Dice Hospital is a great option for a thinky game in under an hour which is a real sweet spot in my opinion so I can see this game getting plenty of table time.
There are additional variations to increase difficulty or add new challenges as well as a dedicated solo mode. I’d love to try the deluxe add-ons as these not only add some great component upgrades but also some new gameplay.
OVERALL SCORE 30/40 = 7.5
… you enjoy dice manipulation games with little luck
… you want a light yet thinky game and you don’t suffer from analysis paralysis
… you want to relive your Theme Hospital glory days in analog form!
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