Best Roll and Write Games

I’ve rounded up seven of the top roll-and-write games. My top choice is Railroad Ink.

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Roll & write gaming is an increasingly popular gaming genre. This type of game involves getting a scoresheet, something happening each turn, and making decisions by marking something off that sheet.

It all started with the Yahtzee, but roll & write games have broadened to include new games with immersive themes and pretty clever mechanics.

Railroad Ink has wide appeal. Not only can you play it with the family, but you can also play it among friends or by yourself. The map to fill is good quality, and it has solid mechanics.

But there are several good options on the list. In this article, you’ll read all about the best roll-and-write board games, including who they’re suited for, how many players, and other important information.

Ready to get started? Let’s roll… and write!

Roll and Write Board Games: At a Glance

The roll-n-write genre appeals to gamers for different reasons. If you’re searching for a fun, unique theme, you might like Dinosaur Island: Rawr N Write, Super Skill Pinball, or Dungeons Dice and Danger.

Do you enjoy civilization or route-building? Go with Lost Cities, Roll Through the Ages, or Dinosaur Island: Rawr N Write.

If you want a game that plays well solo, you might consider Super Skill Pinball, Railroad Ink, Fleet: The Dice Game, or Dungeons Dice and Danger.

If you’re playing with the whole family, I’d go with Fleet: The Dice Game, Railroad Ink, Roll Through the Ages, Lost Cities, or Dinosaur Island. These games are appropriate for kids.

Roll and Write Game Reviews

Railroad Ink: Best Overall

Players: 1-6

Playing Time: 30 minutes

Age: 8+

In Railroad Ink, your goal is to connect as many exits on your board as possible. But instead of filling in a score sheet, you draw the routes on your erasable boards to create transport lines and link exits.

Score points by optimizing the available symbols and connecting exits. But you’ll lose points for each incomplete route. This tension requires you to combine risk versus reward gameplay with spatial thinking.

This Deep Blue Edition allows you to add rivers and lakes to your map, along with potential ferry routes.

There are several editions available to choose from, including Blazing Red, Lush Green, or Shining Yellow. Each edition has its own theme and map for you to explore.

This reminds me of a roll & write version of Ticket to Ride or a train-themed version of Yahtzee.

This game shines in the mechanics. It combines simple rules with a 7×7 grid map and multiple dice for high variability. You can play this game again and again.

Horrible Guild Railroad Ink: Deep Blue Edition - Roll Dice and Draw Railways and Routes, 7 Rounds to Expand Your Rail Map - Expansion Dice Included Ages 8 & Up (Packaging may vary)

Railroad Ink is a good game for groups and single players. Several buyers said they enjoyed solo play, while others said it was fun with multiple players.

There are only six map boards included. But theoretically, you could have more players if you drew the gridlines on paper and used a pen or pencil to draw the lines.

This write dice game has high-quality components, including clear custom dice and solid boards. However, the dry-erase markers are lacking. Multiple buyers complained about them.

That’s an easy fix, though. You can supply your own markers. And since this game is affordable, you won’t be out a lot of dough.

Railroad Ink is highly entertaining and one of my favorite roll & write games.


  • Great for multiple players or solo
  • Portable, easy to transport
  • Easy to learn
  • High replay value
  • Unique dice
  • Other editions available


  • Dry-erase markers aren’t great

Fleet: The Dice Game: Best Complex Game

Players: 1-4

Playing Time: 30-45 minutes

Age: 8+

Fleet: The Dice Game is a strategic roll-and-write game that’s based on the original game of Fleet. Step into Ridback Bay as you seek to earn points and reap the rewards. This game is suited for 1-4 players.

Here’s how it works:

As the owner of a fishing fleet, you’ll decide whether to use the dice to buy licenses for the type of seafood shown on the dice or to launch a boat and catch it.

The dice game Fleet is played over 10 rounds, with each round having phases. Your objective is to have the most points at the end of the game.

In the boat phase, the player rolls dice. Each player selects one die to use immediately. By selecting a die, players can check off the matching boat type on their sheet, which unlocks license powers and boat launches to catch fish.

The town phase is similar in mechanics to the boat phase, except this phase allows players to access special buildings in the Wharf that unlock bonuses, harbor ships to earn points, or go to the market and gain income or activate bonus actions.

Fishing happens between phases in the even rounds.

This game is all about using the dice to your favor by weighing the pros and cons of each potential option. The gameplay is fast, fun, and immersive.

Card Games Eagle-Gryphon Games Fleet: The Dice Game (2nd Edition)

The game features high-quality components. The mock mother-of-pearl dice have colorful symbols on them. Each player gets two player sheets that are laid out side by side.

Fleet: The Dice Game works well in a group or for single players. In the solo mode, you battle Captain Ruth as she tries to disrupt your progress.

Buyers loved the thematic play and high level of strategy required. They were surprised at the number of decisions and found it to be fast-paced and engaging.

A few felt the rules were a bit challenging to learn. Others said it was easy to learn. But they all agreed that it’s difficult to master. Which means you can play it repeatedly without getting bored.

Fleet: The Dice Game is a great game for those who enjoy roll and writes that challenge and captivate.


  • Includes strategy
  • Highly thematic
  • Works as a solo-player game
  • High replay value
  • Portable


  • Learning curve

Super-Skill Pinball: Best for Solo Play

Players: 1-4

Playing Time: 30 minutes

Age: 12+

Travel back in time to your childhood playing pinball at the arcade in Super-Skill Pinball. While it might sound difficult to create a thematic experience within the roll-and-write genre, this game is pretty clever in its theme and mechanics.

Choose one of the four unique tables and matching backglass for scorekeeping and enter at the top. Then, roll a shared pair of dice. Select one of the two dice results and move your pinball to a bumper, spinner, or target one level below with a matching number.

When the ball drops to the flippers, pick which flipper’s roll to use and send the ball to the top of the table. It’s up to you to maximize your score through various bonuses. These include multiball, score multipliers, and more.

You can’t use a box more than once, so that limits how many times you can flip the ball before it drains. After using 3 pinballs, your game is over. Once all the players have played all of their pinballs, tally your points to see who is the winner.

This is a fun board game for 1-4 players. With a quick setup and a small footprint, you can take it anywhere. A tracker is included for you to record your high scores.

WizKids Super-Skill Pinball: 4-Cade

Buyers enjoyed Super-Skill Pinball and the fun theme. They liked the simplicity of the rules, as well as the high-quality score sheet and tables.

There is a fair bit of luck in this game, which is common in dice-rolling games. However, the game still involves strategy in determining where you should move your pinball.


  • Thematic experience
  • Easy to learn
  • Quick to set up
  • Works for single players
  • Good quality components


  • Some felt it relied too much on luck

Lost Cities: Best for Families

Players: 2-5

Playing Time: 30 minutes

Age: 8+

The original Lost Cities card game was published in 1999, but this Lost Cities Roll & Write version is the newest addition to the series.

Start your expeditions on the six colored paths with the smallest possible numbers on the dice. You’ll decide whether you want to continue with the expedition or begin a new one.

This game includes three six-sided color dice and three 10-sided number dice. On each dice roll, players choose one number and one color, marking the combination on their sheet.

Players take turns rolling and selecting dice until all players have crossed all eight bridges or are “exhausted,” which means they’ve reached the end of the dice column.

At that point, players total their scores. The player with the highest score wins.

Lost Cities has simple rules and a quick play time. It’s also portable and lightweight, so it’s great for travel.

This game is suitable for children as young as eight, so it’s ideal for family game nights. But if you enjoy single-player roll & write games, this one won’t work.

Thames & Kosmos Lost Cities: Roll & Write | A Family Friendly Game from Kosmos Games |by Reiner Knizia | for 2 to 5 Players, Ages 8 and up

Buyers agreed that this was an entertaining roll & write version of the classic game, but you shouldn’t expect it to be as tense or heavy as the original Lost Cities board game.

If you go into it with the right expectations, however, you’ll likely find yourself coming back to Lost Cities again and again.


  • Simple rules
  • Quick playtime
  • Small, portable
  • Great for families


  • Can’t play solo

Dinosaur Island: Rawr N Write: Overall Runner-Up

Players: 1-4

Playing Time: 30-45 minutes

Age: 10+

Dinosaur Island: Rawr N Write brings the excitement of dinosaurs to roll & write games in this version of Dinosaur Island.

Your goal is to draw the most exciting dinosaur theme park. Collect DNA to make dinosaurs, hire specialists to use their unique abilities, and build attractions and special buildings to enhance your visitor experience.

But you must put some effort into keeping your park secure, or the dinosaurs might just escape and terrorize your visitors!

Dinosaur Island’s game mechanics are unique. This is a dice drafting game where players use the drafted dice as workers in a worker placement phase.

Then, a puzzle ensues as you try to fit all your attractions and Dinosaurs into your park while building roads and routes to the exits for bonus points.

So it actually combines multiple game types into one.

You draw the layout of your park, store and spend resources, and record your progress on your park sheet. At the end of the game, the player with the highest score wins.

There is a lot going on with this game, so expect the first run-through to take a little longer. But once you get past the initial learning curve, it brings plenty of excitement and fun.

Dinosaur Island Rawr and Write Board Game - Build Your Dino Theme Park! Strategy Game, Fun Family Game for Kids and Adults, Ages 10+, 1-4 Players, 30-45 Minute Playtime, Made by Pandasaurus Games

Buyers liked the quality of the game components, including the chunky amber dice and the double-sided player sheet pads. They enjoyed the dice drafting and the depth, too. This is a heavier roll-n-write game.

If you want a roll & write with a cool sci-fi theme that will challenge you, Dinosaur Island: Rawr N Write is a great choice.


  • High-quality components
  • Fast-paced, exciting
  • Includes strategy
  • Highly variable
  • Can play as single player


  • Learning curve

Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age: Best Civilization-Building Game

Players: 1-4

Playing Time: 30-45 minutes

Age: 8+

If you like building civilizations, you need to try Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age. From the designer of smash hit Pandemic, this roll & write dice game is full of strategic thinking and irresistible fun.

As the name indicates, Roll Through the Ages: Bronze Age is a dice game. This roll & write has players rolling seven special dice in order to collect workers and gain commodities to develop their civilization.

The symbols on the dice represent workers, food, goods, money, and disaster. The goal is to score the most points by becoming the most advanced and prestigious civilization. The way to achieve that prestige is through acquiring cities, monuments, and developments while avoiding disasters.

Each player starts with three cities. Each city must be fed, or famine ensues and costs the player points. Players build up their infrastructure. Once all monuments or developments are built, the game ends. Points are counted, and the civilization with the most wins.

Bard Roll Through The Ages: The Bronze Age

Buyers liked the easy setup and portability of this game. Roll Through the Ages is a great option for traveling or as a time filler.

That being said, it does have its limitations. There’s limited player interaction, so when your opponents are rolling dice, you have nothing to do. This can make the game boring after a while.

This game is also on the pricey side, especially within this genre. But if you enjoy a good dice roll or building a civilization, it might be worth it.


  • Quick setup
  • Portable, easy to transport
  • Easy to learn
  • Great for families
  • Civilization-building mechanics


  • Too much downtime between turns
  • Pricey

Dungeons Dice and Danger: Best for Replay Value

Players: 1-4

Playing Time: 30-45 minutes

Age: 12+

Last but not least, we have Dungeons, Dice, and Danger, published by Ravensburger. This new game will have you making your way through dungeons, battling whimsical monsters, and collecting treasures.

Your goal is to win victory points by exploring realms and gaining loot. Each realm has a different foe, including Annoyed Animals, Defiant Dinosaurs, Puzzled Pyramid, and Clumsy Cultists.

The game ends when the first player defeats their last Monster. Players finish the current round, then proceed to score. Whoever collects more points wins the game.

Dungeons, Dice, and Danger has a good replay value, so you can play again and again. Buyers liked the whimsical illustrations and the quick setup. The rules are easy to learn, as well, so you can start playing in no time.

Ravensburger Dungeons, Dice & Danger – an Easy to Learn Roll and Write Strategy Game for Ages 12 and Up

Buyers liked that the game works for solo play or for multiple players. They enjoyed the multiple pathways to win and the strategy involved.

Some buyers mentioned the game components are quite simple. We’re talking wooden dice, pre-sharpened pencils with no erasers, etc. However, that wasn’t a deal-breaker for most of them.

This is a roll-n-write game you’ll be coming back to time and time again.


  • Great replay value
  • Works for single or multiple players
  • Immersive dungeon crawler theme
  • Whimsical illustrations
  • Easy to learn
  • Quick setup


  • Game components are basic

Roll and Write Game Buying Guide

If you’re going to get a roll-n-write board game, it’s important to know what to expect and look for.

Obviously, luck will be a factor in these board games. Other games are built entirely on strategy. While this genre might include some strategic thinking, be prepared for luck to play a role.

Sometimes these board games can have great player interaction, but not always. If you’re looking for a game full of great conversation, you’ll have to be careful about which game you choose.

Of course, you always want to choose games with good-quality components. A thick scoring sheet, sturdy board, and quality dice will make the game more enjoyable.

Best Roll & Write Games: Last Thoughts

My top choice for roll & write games is Railroad Ink. It has great reviews, an engaging theme, plenty of expansions, and solid components. It’s great for the family, for single players, and for small groups.