Knot Dice and Knot Dice Squared
Designer: Matthew O’Malley
Publisher: Black Oak Games
Year Published: Knot Dice 2016/ Knot Dice Squared 2020
No. of Players: Knot Dice 1-4 / Knot Dice Squared 1-6
Ages: Knot Dice 5+/ Knot Dice Squared 8+
Playing Time: Knot Dice 10-20 Minutes/ Knot Dice Squared 5-30 Minutes
Main mechanic / Theme: Abstract Strategy Puzzle Solving, Pattern Building, and Cooperative
The most fun you will ever have untying knots!
In Knot Dice and Knot Dice Squared players work to create Celtic knot designs by manipulating dice into the correct patterns. Knot Dice was the original game that contained 18 dice that would be used to solve the games. Knot Dice Squared is the expansion that was released this year (2020), which contains an additional 26 dice. Knot Dice contains instructions for a variety of games and puzzles you can play using the original set of dice. Knot Dice Squared requires the original base game to play, but includes new patterned dice that expand on, increase complexity of and offers variations to the original games. These new dice are mixed with the original dice to offer players more puzzles and new games to try.
Gameplay and Mechanisms:
Knot Dice and Knot Dice Squared are really a lot of different games that use the same set of dice to play them. Knot Dice contain two different gameplay modes, puzzles and games. Each gameplay mode has a bunch of different game variants you can play. For example there are 8 different types of puzzle modes. Each mode has varying degrees of difficulty to play at as well. Different player counts are used depending on the puzzle/ game selected. Some games are designed to be played solo, some are cooperative and some are competitive. There is really something for every type of gamer. All games/ puzzles are centered on the idea of creating Celtic knots
In the original Knot Dice all 18 dice are the same and games/ puzzles will have you use set sides of the dice or a certain number of dice to solve the puzzle. In Knot Dice Squared, 4 new types of dice are introduced, which allows players to create more complex knot patterns.
The expansion expands on the basics you learn in the original Knot Dice and allows players to increase the complexity of their games/ puzzles.
Theme, Artwork and Illustration, Graphic Design and Layout:
There may not be a lot of artwork in Knot Dice, but we wanted to comment on the quality of the components. The dice are well made and have a good weight to them. We were surprised how heavy the little box was when we first picked it up, but once you start to play with the pieces you can really tell that because of the heavy pieces the quality is wonderful.
There are so many wonderful things to say about Knot Dice and Knot Dice Squared. The fact that it is both a game and a puzzle, or rather several games and several puzzles is really cool. The game boxes themselves are small and being able to play multiple things from a little package makes Knot Dice a great travel game.
There are so many different kinds of games and puzzles to try that you could get a lot of plays in and still (k)not get through everything for a long time.
Puzzles: So far we have tried Completion Puzzles (1 and 2), Transformation Puzzles, Creation Puzzles and Building Puzzles. The rules for each have been straight-forward and easy to understand. The fact that each type of puzzle comes with ways to increase the difficulty of the puzzle was really fun for us. We started the creation puzzles going, “Wow! This is simple, we feel so smart.” But by the 5th or 6th puzzle on the list our brains were getting a workout! We enjoyed all of the puzzles we have tried, but the creation ones are our favorite so far! They involve taking dice with a specific side showing, and creating a single completely closed knot that is symmetrical both vertically and horizontally.
There is something really satisfying about making the knots in Knot Dice. We are not sure exactly what it is but as the pieces all start to fall into place, it gives us a sense of immense satisfaction to see the knot come together.
Something else we like is that in the middle of the rulebooks there is a page that is a grid to keep track of your dice while doing things like completion puzzles.
Games: One of the first things we love about the games options for Knot Dice is that each game tells you the complexity of the game. This is helpful for new players to start with an easier game and learn about how manipulating the dice works before tackling the harder games. We also like the fact that there are options for cooperative and competitive game play.
There are a lot of exciting games to play between both the base game and the expansion, but one that stood out to us is a solo game called 4 get me knots, where you are working to try and build 8 unique and complete designs, each using a different number of dice. You Score points based on how many you were able to finish.
Close the review with your final thoughts and overview. What type of games is this one similar to? Will people who like game X like this one? Did you think the game was fun? State the things within the game that could be improved upon or that might need a bit of help. What didn’t gel with you and your game group?
Knot Dice and Knot Dice Squared are great options for people who enjoy abstract strategy games. For people who love puzzles, these games can also help bridge the gap between puzzles and tabletop games. Most of the games don’t take up much tablespace either so they are perfect for someone looking for a game with a lot of variety that doesn’t hog a table.
Knot Dice can be a little tricky at first and it took us a little while to understand the difference between the dice in Knot Dice Squared, but be patient and study the dice before playing with them and it will start to make more sense! The picture guide is helpful too. When you are first trying to differentiate the new dice from each other, we recommend looking at that for reference. Once you are familiar with the dice and how they connect (or don’t connect) and the different shapes on each dice, it gets easier to understand how to solve the puzzles and games.
Knot Dice is perfect for a gamer who is looking for a quick game, that gets their brain working. We really loved playing all of the games and puzzles we have tried so far and can’t wait to keep trying the rest of them!