Any dice game review is required by law to compare the new game to Yahtzee (if we don't, we lose our right to ever roll a d6 again). So, let's get this out of the way early: the Roll Through The Ages app [$2.99], released last week, shares but three features with Yahtzee: it uses dice, you roll them three times (keeping the ones you like between throws) and you mark things off on a scorecard after each roll.
Instead of collecting simple numbers, in Roll Through The Ages, the goal is to quickly build up an ancient civilization from three small cities to, well, that's the challenge: do you go for more cities? Monuments? Developments? Goods? Or a little bit of everything?
RTtA (which is how the name appears when installed on your iDevice) faithfully implements the tabletop game, but it doesn't do so elegantly. Right now, the app is pretty much a trial-and-error mess with no tutorial or well-written rulebook explaining what it is you want to actually do in the game. Still, by using the limited in-app help menu and some online resources (the video pasted at the bottom of this review was quite helpful), we managed to struggle through.
Of course, anyone who's played the tabletop version of Roll Through The Ages should be able to adapt to the iPhone version in mere minutes. The app had better improve fast, thought, in order to attract people who aren't familiar with the dice version, lest it suffer the fate of getting lost in the never-ending barrage of good game apps. Thankfully, there's some precedent for board game apps that start weak and improve quickly. The Small World app didn't have a good way to learn the game at the beginning, either, but look at it now.
Read on to see if you want to give RTtA a chance now, wait for the improvements to come or pass altogether.