Getting Into the Game--A Double-Take Review of Dized

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One of the hardest things to do is teach a game well. I’ve known a few people who have an uncanny ability to boil a game down to its essence and teach it in a minimum of time with a maximum of awesomeness. I am not that person. I do okay. So I was excited to hear about Dized, an app that teaches you how to play a game, and is then there for rules questions. Sounds great. So is Dized the gaming guru it promises to be? Or will you be left Dized and confused? Let’s find out!


Dized is a free app you download onto your iOS or Android device. Right now there are three games available: Ice Cool, Kingdomino, and Blood Rage. But many more are coming; Dized is partnering with many of the biggest publishers in the gaming industry to bring you new games.

Jeremiah and I each had a chance to play around with the app, so we’ll each talk about our experience of it, and then come together to review it.

FIRESTONE

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I have both Kingdomino and Blood Rage, but I was the only one who had played Blood Rage, so I decided to do just the rules for Kingdomino, and the whole enchilada with Blood Rage.

One of the great things about Dized is that it breaks down the various pieces into tabs. For Kingdomino that means tabs with Points, Terrain, Territories, Kingdoms, Dominoes, etc. You just click on a tab and it gives an explanation of that feature. There are also sub-tabs with related topics. It’s great. In fact, I was playing the game at a local elementary school, and it had been a while, so I used Dized to help me remember the rules as I taught. It was super helpful.

With Blood Rage, the app asked if it was our first time playing, and I said yes. So it went through everything—from taking the shrink-wrap off the game, to setting everything up. Then the game asks how many of you are playing, which faction you’re playing, where you’re sitting, and then proceeds to walk you through the first Age, giving you options, explaining those options, and then letting you choose what to do.

We were up and running quickly. It had been a while since I played, so having the app waiting by my side to remind my old man brain of the things I’d forgotten was nice. 10-year-olds have lots of questions, and whenever he had one, we’d just go to the app. It was terrific.

JEREMIAH

I have Kingdomino, and just got a copy of Blood Rage. Turns out that NO ONE in my close circle of gaming friends has a copy of Blood Rage, nor had any of us played it! (I know, I know, heresy…) So we were the perfect group to try out this fancy new app that’s supposed to teach you the game.

 This image is taken directly from the app.

This image is taken directly from the app.

So we cracked the shrink wrap, and punched some tiles, and got out all of those sweet minis. Then we fired up the app and told it to teach us, because we had never played—and teach us it did. If you’ve played Blood Rage, you know there are bases that go on certain figures, with different colors to identify whose warriors they are. There are many other components that need sorted out as well (especially for your first time), but Dized walks you through all of it, from the very first step in setting up for the first time. It keeps track of which players are sitting where, thus keeping track of turn order, and helping you with what possible actions you can do on your turn (especially for the first couple turns). Once you got through the first Age, it also stepped you through any scoring, and setup in between the Ages, and at the end of the game. It also sat in wait for any rules questions; you could tap on different topics: actions, pillaging, etc. to get a breakdown of how those mechanisms of the game worked.

So let’s get to our thoughts!

Jeremiah—If there’s one thing I dread, it’s reading a THICK rule book, and then hoping to remember details well enough to convey a bunch of information back to my (sometimes) less-than-attentive friends (you know who you are). Having a step-by-step tutorial geared for exactly what’s in the box is like a stress-relieving gift descending from on high, upon angels’ wings. I was SO excited when I heard about the app.

 Taken directly from the app

Taken directly from the app

Firestone—Being able to teach a game well is a gift. I do pretty well, but Dized is just better. The graphics, the voice—it all helps to keep people’s attention more than just reading a rulebook. I thought it was a cool idea, but I wanted to see what this brought that made it “indispensable.” The folks behind Dized thought through what players really need, and what would really help teach the game.

Jeremiah—The functionality is great. There were a few small rules we weren’t sure of that we couldn’t find within the app. BUT to be fair the question also wasn’t answered in the rulebook; it was only at the end of the Age as we stepped through the process to prepare the next age that our confusion was cleared up. But we went to the app several times with small questions, and they were answered nearly every time! That was huge!

Firestone—Our one complaint came when we played Blood Rage through Age 1 and then had to break for lunch. When we came back we couldn’t easily get to a place where we were before. I basically had to “play” through all of those Age 1 moves quickly to get to the same state we were when we quit, and that was a pain. Some way to “jump ahead” in the tutorial would be good. But it wasn’t a huge deal.

Jeremiah—Dized not only functions great, but the production value is amazing. This isn’t an animated rule book. It’s a fully voiced tutorial. So there’s no tapping on the next step just to read another screen full of text. It talks to you and you listen, just like (hopefully better) you listen to me when I teach you a game. And the graphics and animations are all dead on, thematically, and again of the highest production value!

Firestone—I fully expected this to be well done but basic walkthroughs. So when I saw the animations, and heard that viking-ish voice, I realized they wanted Dized to be something else. Something that doesn’t just teach, but brings you into the game. And studies have shown that we learn MUCH better by experiencing than by just listening.

Jeremiah’s Final Verdict—When will more games be available?! Seriously! I want to learn ALL the games like this!! The app just works. It’s voiced, it’s gorgeous, and it takes a TON of the guess work out of learning a game! Bravo Dized, I can’t wait to see what you’re up to next!

Firestone’s Final Verdict—My final verdict comes from my 10-year-old, who summed Dized up perfectly: "Dad, that app is really cool. Because sometimes I get bored learning new rules, but that made it fun and interesting."  This app IS really cool, and I’ll use it every chance I get.

You can check out the Dixed app right now, and learn Kingdomino, Blood Rage, and Ice Cool—and check out the impressive list of games coming soon. We think you’ll be as excited as we are. Thanks for reading!