Noodle Roll - A Dice Game about Making Noodles

making noodles...

Earlier this week I described how Lyndsay Peters and I got to talking about a little dice game inspired by my misinterpretation of a key rule in Martian Dice. After discussing several different themes, we settled on noodle-making. Here's the full game as it stands now. We're calling it Noodle Roll.

Players take turns rolling dice several times, keeping sets ("strands") of three or more identical faces, and scoring based on the face value of those sets, plus any bonuses. As play continues, the board’s columns get filled. When two columns are filled, the game ends.

The game supports 2-4 players.

The group shares a supply of 13 standard six-sided dice.

Each player has a supply of cubes in her own color.

Each player gets three Sous-Chefs cards. I imagine a different sous-chef on each card. The face shows the sous-chef standing at attention, ready to take orders. The back shows the sous-chef hard at work making a noodle dish. I'd love it to resemble Jason Deamer's concept art from Ratatouille. One can dream.

The active player gets a player board that looks like this.

The whole group shares a board that looks like this:


First, refresh one Sous-Chef. If none are spent (as would be the case in the first turn) then proceed as follows.

Roll all of the dice.

Now, you must keep one set ("Strand") of three or more identical faces. If there are more than one set available, you must choose only one to keep. Keep this set on the player board in the area designated for your "first strand."

Next, you may roll any remaining dice in pursuit of a second set or you may end your turn. If you do roll again, you may keep another set whose face is equal to or greater than the first set you kept.

  • If you get no legal sets, you may spend one Sous-Chef to combine any pair of faces to produce another face, thereby potentially making a legal set. So if you rolled a 5/5, you could spend one Sous-Chef to combine a 2 and a 3, to make a complete trio of 5/5/5.
  • If you get no legal sets, you may spend one Sous-Chef to simply reroll all of those dice.
  • If you’ve spent all your Sous-Chefs, you cannot continue rolling. You may keep whatever sets have resulted from your last roll.

When you spend Sous-Chefs, turn over their card face-down to indicate that they are occupied following your orders.

Once a set is kept, no more dice may be added to it. If on a later roll you get a set whose face is identical to a set you've already kept, you must keep those sets separate from each other. For example, if you kept a set of 1/1/1, you could keep a second set of 1/1/1 from another roll in the same turn, but those two sets would be separate from each other. They are not cumulative.

Then you can deliver your noodles to the restaurants who demand them, represented by the group board. The colored areas represent restaurants who demand certain types of noodles. On the far left, the restaurant takes noodles 1, 2, or 3. The middle restaurant takes noodles 3 or 4. The restaurant on the far right only takes noodle 5. Noodle 6 is special, as we'll explain below.

  • Deliver Noodles: Put one of your cubes on the lowest unoccupied space of the column that corresponds to the face of your sets. For example, if you get a set of 5/5/5, you would put a cube on the lowest empty space of the “5” column. If you get a set of 3/3/3, you may place your cube in either of the "3" columns of your choice. If you score two identical sets, place the first cube in the lowest unoccupied space, then the second cube on the space above that.
  • Free Cubes: In a set of 6/6/6, you earn a cube that you may place in any column of your choice. Yes, this means you could theoretically spend a Sous-Chef to make a set of sixes in order to get that free cube that would be placed in the 1 column, for example.
  • Score Points: Score a number of points for each set equal to its face value. So a set of 5/5/5 grants you 5 points. Any dice beyond the initial trio in a set scores 1pt per extra die. So a set of 2/2/2/2/2/2 scores you 5 points (2pts for the trio, then 1pt each for the extra three dice). Note: Do NOT score sets of sixes. They are only used to get free cubes.

Pass all dice and the player board to the player to your left. Any Sous-Chefs you've spent remain so until the start of your next turn, at which point one will be refreshed.

The game ends when two columns have reached or crossed a certain height, as noted by the line corresponding to the size of the player group. For example, in a two player game, the game would end when two columns have reached or exceeded three cubes in height.

Score 10pts for each pair of your horizontally adjacent cubes on the board, but only if they’re in the same restaurant, as indicated by the colored backgrounds. Thus, the "5" column has no endgame bonus. Columns 3 and 4 can have an endgame bonus. Columns 1, 2, and 3 allow rows of three adjacent cubes, thus effectively being two pairs, thus two bonuses.

In the example above, the row of three white cubes in the yellow restaurant earn a total bonus of 20pts, because they are considered two pairs of horizontally adjacent cubes. The row of black cubes in the pink restaurant earn 10pts. The single black cube in the blue restaurant earns no bonus.

So, pursuing low-value sets in the short-term can yield big bonuses if you can make pairs on the board. Pursuing the highest value sets yields no endgame bonus at all, but they are the easiest to create with the assistance of Sous-Chefs.


  1. Nice, I will see if my wife is up for trying it.
    Note: last illustration appears to have an erroneous 10pts label above the blue restaurant.

  2. If you are going to go with the noodle theming, I think it's incumbent on you to do custom dice with different noodle types on all the faces -- vermicelli, lo mein, and so on.

  3. I just noticed that! Fixed it now.

  4. I was actually thinking about cylindrical dice so that when you make your sets, it actually looks like a strand of noodle. :)

  5. Is there a "theme reason" for the endgame bonus. What do the pairs represent?

  6. That's something I'd like to figure out if we pursue this further! Mechanically it's a nice balancing act against the high-value sets, but thematically it doesn't have a compelling reason to be there. I've considered making the big board just one restaurant, with each circle representing one table of diners. That still doesn't explain why certain columns of tables would be segregated by their preferences, nor why adjacency would be rewarded.

  7. If you did it as one big restaurant, you could have each circle represent a seat, with each row being a table. (probably need a different layout) Then you could have the table of three seats offer 3 scoring positions (2 adjacent seats) and it could be explained in the theme as generating positive buzz, which will encourage repeat business.

  8. BTW This reminds me a little (just a little) of Ra: The Dice game.

  9. Care to elaborate on the similarities? I've not played it.

  10. Wow, I really do see this being formatted differently now. I see the three-tops being on the far left of the board, with each place setting on the table having a 1, 2, or 3. The two-tops would be the booths for couples, each of those place settings having 3 or 4. The far right is the ramen counter, for single patrons. The adjacency bonus means you've personally served the diners at that table. It's literally first come, first *to* serve. Hm!

  11. It is a dice game, has a board with multiple scoring areas that marked with your colour cubes , most are short term scoring areas, and one is only scored at the end, scoring for rows and columns that you have put your cubes on.

  12. HM! Well that sure does sound like this game. I imagine if the board were laid out like a restaurant floorplan as described in the other thread, the similarities would hopefully not be so obvious. I'll check out a video tutorial for Ra and be sure though. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  13. Check out the video, but I wouldn't worry about it. Your theme is a better match, you have different requirements for cube placement, no larger rounds, you have resource managements (of chefs) etc. etc. It is just similar enough that people who enjoy Ra:tdg will probably also like this. (Which is why I think my wife will be willing to give it a go.)

  14. Thanks! I sure hope it turns out to be something worthwhile. I've also got half a mind to add King of Tokyo-style power cards that can be purchased with points, but that's a whole other can of worms.


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