Updated: Oct 25
Roll and writes games now come in all levels of complexity. As I have talked about before, the genre really includes things like flip and writes so I include games like Hadrian's Wall and the Welcome To... series. Many games have roll and write versions of them because it is a small form factor and many people tend to enjoy these games. It has become a crowded space though.
Go Goa is a light summer breeze in the midst of this heated market. The game takes about three to five minutes to learn, and then each player is off exploring the small Indian state of Goa. The idyllic setting provides the paradisiacal map as each player traverses the land in search of that perfect vacation.
Before the game begins, each player will get one of the same sheets, a pencil, and 4 objective cards, two from each of the objective card types. Players can choose to keep 2 objectives.
To start, the first player rolls the dice and selects a single die as their direction. A one is due north, and 2 is northeast, 3 is southwest, etc.
Each other player has to select from the remaining two dice in order to set their direction. After all the players set their direction, the remaining two dice are used for either distance travelled or number of deviations for the day. Distance is straightforward. Deviation is either 1 or 2; if the player select a 1-3 they can deviate once, while a 4-6 allows a player to deviate up to twice. Deviations are just turning the direction in any other direction than the player was previously headed.
The game is played over 12 days. Each day the players will mark their route and try to visit beaches, waterfalls, forts, historical sites, and religious sites. Depending on the two objective cards a player keeps at the beginning, each player can score extra points for objectives visited fully. There are also set bonuses for visiting all types of sites, or getting higher number of individual types of sites. Plus, players may visit the three special beaches of Palolem, Colva, and Calangute to be able gain one time dice manipulation bonuses. Don't forget to visit Dudhsagar Falls, most charming spot in all of Goa, to snap that picture and get an additional twenty points.
Go Goa doesn't provide some sort of challenge which will be impossible to navigate except for the most dedicated. Instead, it is a light game with broad appeal as it invites you to a vacation of the mind. It's a holiday by the sea, not a monumental work, but that's the entire point of the game. There is some minimal interaction of the players in terms of that first player die selection, but overall this choice will be made without reference to the other players. Each person will just want to make their best route and see the most stuff. When my 14 year old played the game, he immediately asked to play again and wanted to share it with his friends at our next games meetup.
Two other things that increased our enjoyability of the game, but weren't essential. First, the game has large, chunky dice that are fun to roll. They reminded me of the dice in games like On Tour in the heft of the pieces. Always a good time. Second, the pencils that came with our set had seeds instead of erasers. This means, when they are finished they can be planted, and players have to stick with their choices. I liked this small detail.
Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.
Go Goa by Kheo Games. Designed by Suyog Kamat & Andy Desa, Illustrated by Alecster Silveira
Time 20-30 Minutes
Mechanics: Solo, Pencil and Paper, Route Building, Set Collection