My first impressions of the Nations Dice game were that it was adorable. While it didn’t bring all the nuance in Nations it does a great job presenting the same gameplay arc in a short amount of time. Improvements, leaders, colonies and wonders each help your empire along the path to glory through four ages.
Being a dice game it’s not nearly as fiddly as the worker placement and bit heavy resource management elements in Nations is. Improvements will generally trade one of your generic dice, the source of most of your resources now, into a more specialized version or at the higher levels just plain adding dice to your pool. Events are now just opportunities, very important ones, to add VP with food and military power. While they are not punitive if you fail to get them nations that don’t will fall behind. Books, are still an important race to win for the VP trickle they provide. All in all a great compression of what makes Nations a compelling game to play.
And that compression may be an issue for some. It isn’t quite as nuanced as the full blown Nations experience is. The four brief rounds fly by and if you’re hungry for a full on civ building experience you maybe a little unsatisfied. If that’s the case, great play the original Nations. The dice game is perfect for winding down or a patch between deeper games.