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Roll-and-Move

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The Board Game mechanic where you roll a die and move your playing piece according to the result. Fancier variations may have you roll multiple dice, spin a spinner or draw a card from a deck instead. They may also include dice custom-made for the game. In some games, the results dictate where you go, while other games may give you some choice (such as the result deciding the number of spaces, but you get to choose the direction).

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The board is usually some kind of connected area you walk around on until you've reached a certain goal, or a track where whoever finishes first wins. Most roll-and-move games provide tension by including spaces that are desirable to land on, and/or spaces you really don't want to land on. Some games mix things up by giving you an Extra Turn for certain rolls (typically a 6 if you roll one d6, or rolling doubles if you roll two), or by having special results on the spinner/cards/custom dice that do things other than just making you move.

The roll-and-move mechanic is in the peculiar position of being frequently associated with its medium while being an Undead Horse Trope: It is shunned by the more competitive board gamers, who feel that it makes a game too much of a Luck-Based Mission and gives players too little control over what happens. However, while it's not as ubiquitous as it once was, it still sees use in family games due to its simplicity, in particular in games aimed at a young audience (which want to avoid complicated rules and tricky decisions) and games where the board mostly serves to provide some structure to the experience (e.g. Trivial Pursuit, which is primarily about answering questions). It also shows up in several family games considered classics (at least outside of hobby gamer circles).

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Modern uses of roll-and-move often try to put twists on the mechanic to alleviate the Luck-Based Mission problem and give players more options. A common approach is including a Luck Manipulation Mechanic, such as giving the option to reroll dice or having limited-use items that let you choose the result you want. Some games also implement the mechanic differently, such as giving you multiple game pieces and letting you choose which one to move. Such modified approaches to roll-and-move even show up in hobby games from time to time.

Not to be confused with Rolling Attack and Unnecessary Combat Roll.

See also Luck-Based Mission and Luck Manipulation Mechanic. Compare Randomized Damage Attack and Random Drop.


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Examples:

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    Board Games — Licensed 
  • Aladdin: The Game (based on Aladdin) involves spinning a 3D Genie spinner to determine your movement.
  • Anna & Elsa (based on Frozen (2013)) is a race to reach Elsa's ice castle. You spin to move, and may end up on spaces with effects like "miss a turn" or "move four spaces forward". There are also a few forks in the path, where the spinner determines which one you'll take.
  • Aristocats (based on The Aristocats) is a racing game where you spin a spinner with values 1-4 on it and move accordingly. Most of the special spaces send you a little forwards or backwards, though there are some nastier ones like "you're stuck here until you spin a 1".
  • The 1992 Bambi game is a 2-player racing game with a more complicated variation: A spinner is used to determine a random colour, then a dial is turned to that colour, revealing a picture in a window. If Bambi or Thumper is revealed, the respective player moves one space (or two if they are running). If both characters are shown, whoever is behind moves to the space occupied by the leader. The goal is to land on a Win space (normal game) or collect four Clover Pieces (advanced game).
  • Donald Duck board games:
    • In Donald Duck Money Bag, a game about collecting money bags, you spin a spinner to determine how many spaces you'll move.
    • Donald Duck's Party Game for Young Folks features four pawns that move around on a circular board. On your turn, you spin a spinner to determine which pawn will move and how far it'll move. Some spaces make you do things like performing a dance or mooing like a cow. The goal is to collect three prizes by landing on "Take a Prize" spaces.
    • Donald Duck's Wagon Trail Game is a Snakes And Ladders-like racing game where you spin a spinner to move, and whoever reaches the destination first wins. Some spaces let you take shortcuts or send you back.
    • Huey, Dewey, and Louie Ice Cream Cone is a racing game where you spin a spinner and move that many spaces. The twist is that if you spin Pluto or land on a Pluto space, you lose one of your ice cream scoops, and if you lose all three, you have to go back to the beginning to replenish your supply.
    • Walt Disney Donald Duck Game (Treasure Hunt) is a racing game where you roll a die and move your playing piece accordingly. The goal is to reach the centre of the board first. There are also some spaces with various effects.
  • In Ullaredspelet, a Licensed Game based on the store "Gekås Ullared", you walk around in the store and try to grab every item on your shopping list. You roll a die to decide how many spaces you'll move, though you get to choose the direction. Most spaces do nothing, but there are some that let you draw chance cards or give you an item on your list.
  • Several Licensed W.I.T.C.H. roll-and-move games exist:
    • Danish publisher Litas Spil released W.I.T.C.H.: Det magiske spil ("W.I.T.C.H.: The Magical Game"), where you roll a d12 to determine where you'll move.
    • In W.I.T.C.H.: Orakelet kaller! ("W.I.T.C.H.: The Oracle Calls!"), you want your pieces to reach the centre of the board without getting caught by the Banshee, which sends pieces back to the beginning. Both the players' pieces and the Banshee roll a dice to determine how far they'll move.

    Board Games — Other 
  • The Kohner Toy Company produced two roll-and-move games. Both use a single die to advance colored tokens around the game board's perimeter. The die is contained within a clear hemisphere called the Pop-O-Matic:
    • Trouble Kohner requires four tokens to advance once around the perimeter from a starting area to a finishing lane. A roll of six is required to deploy a token from the starting area onto the playfield, and an exact count to advance a token into the finishing lane, where it cannot be captured. Any token on the perimeter is vulnerable to capture when an opponent's token lands on the same space by exact count. The captured token is returned to the starting area, and must restart its loop around the perimeter all over again. The first player to nest all four tokens in the finishing lane wins.
    Chorus: Pop-O-Matic pops the dice / Pop a six, and you move twice / Race your men around the track / And try to send the others back. That's Pop-O-Matic Trouble.
    • Headache: Similar to Trouble, except there is no finishing lane nor any other safety space. Conical tokens move clockwise around the perimeter, aiming to capture opposing tokens by exact count. Rather than restarting the captured tokens, they remain beneath the capturing token as though devoured. In a four-player game, it's possible for the winner to have a sixteen-token tall tower as the sole surviving token.
  • In Afrikan Tahti, you roll a die to determine how far you'll move your token. You can go to cities with markers on them, and are allowed to stop there even if your roll overshoots it. Then you can pay to turn over the marker in the city. The markers have a variety of effects, and you win if you find the "Star of Africa" one and return to one of the starting cities. (The other win condition is to find a Visa after someone finds the Star of Africa, and then beat them to one of the starting cities.)
  • Atmosfear lets players move depending on how much they roll with one or two dice, unless they're instructed otherwise.
  • In Backgammon, you roll two dice, and then choose pieces to move according to the two individual results.
  • Betrayal at House on the Hill: While players can move a number of spaces up to their Speed stat, monster tokens are the exception, where they roll dice equal to their Speed value instead. Since each die has a value of 0 to 2, this means they can move anywhere between 0 and double their Speed stat per turn.
  • Camel Up: One of the actions you can take during your turn is revealing a die from the Pyramid, then rolling it and moving the Camel of its colour the indicated number of spaces on the race track. The game is about betting on how the Camels will perform in the race.
  • Candy Land: Movement is determined entirely by drawing a card from a deck (in most versions of the game) or spinning a spinner (in the 2013 version). You go to the next space of the indicated colour (the deck also had some cards that sent you to a fixed space on the board). Most spaces have no effect, though there are a few "lose a turn" ones, and some versions of the game have spaces that make you skip ahead a bit. Whoever finishes the linear racing track first wins. As a result, the game is simple and fully luck-based. This is intentional, as it's designed so that even very young children can play it.
  • Can't Stop features a complex roll-and-move variation where you roll four dice and divide them into two pairs. The chosen sums determine how pieces are placed and moved.
  • There is some evidence that Chess was played with dice between the 11th and 14th century in Europe. The dice determined which piece you would move, though you got to choose where it'd move.
  • In Clue, you roll a die to move around in the hallway and try to reach a room so that you can ask a "clue" question regarding that room to gain information. You can also go for a Red Bonus space. In either case, you don't need an exact roll as long as the result is large enough to let you reach the room.
  • In the racing game Formula D, you roll the die corresponding to what gear you've chosen to be in, and then move your car forward the number of spaces you roll.
  • Funny Bunny is a racing game where you draw cards to determine how many spaces you'll move one of your bunnies, and whoever reaches the top of the carrot wins. The gimmick is that the game takes place on a hill-shaped plastic board where some of the spaces can turn into holes (or back) when the carrot is turned, and some cards make you turn the carrot instead of moving a bunny. If a bunny lands on an open hole or has a hole open up underneath it, it'll drop under the board, and you lose if you lose all your bunnies.
  • The Game of Life has a wheel divided into ten sections, each numbered one to ten. In each player's turn, the player spins the wheel and moves their playing piece (a small car) along a track around the map a number of spaces equal to their spin. Each player can take actions depending on which spaces they land on along the track.
  • The Goose Game has each player roll 2d6 for each move, and double their move if they land on a space multiple of 9. Not only is it entirely luck-based, the rules also explicitly mention gambling (paying a convened sum whenever you land on a "bad" space).
  • HeroQuest base rules required players to roll 2d6 to determine how far their heroes could move on their turn, with many groups house-ruling to ignore this and instead using constant movement rates, depending on the hero.
  • Ludo is a racing game where players aim to free their tokens from their yard by rolling a 6, have them complete a lap on the shared play area, then enter their home column and home triangle. On each turn, you roll a die and choose a token to move according to the die value rolled (you need the exact roll to enter your home triangle). You can capture opposing tokens by landing on them (which sends them back to their yard), or land on your own tokens to form a block. The game also applies a "rolling a 6 = Extra Turn" rule if your yard is empty, though if your third consecutive roll is also a six, you won't be allowed to move and the turn immediately passes to the next player. Similar games use similar rules.
  • Mice and Mystics: Player characters and most NPCs each roll a die on their turn to determine how many spaces they can move. PCs add their base Move to that number and have free rein of the map region, whereas NPCs don't and move according to specific rules.
  • Monopoly has you roll two dice to determine how far you'll move on the circular game board. It has the "Extra Turn of you roll doubles" rule, though you go directly to jail if you roll doubles for the third time in one turn. Most of the spaces are properties: you get to buy it if unowned, otherwise you're paying rent to its owner. There are also spaces like Chance, which make you draw a random card with some effect, and the "tax" spaces that make you pay money to the bank.
  • In Mouse Trap (1963), players roll a die and move accordingly. In the first part of the game, you'll move your mouse along a linear track where most spaces make you build a part of the trap, though there are ones that give or take away cheese and ones that send you backwards or forwards. In the second part, you try to get your opponents' mice caughtnote  by landing on the "Turn Crank" space, which lets you activate the trap targetting the "Cheese Wheel" space and hope it works. If you're on Turn Crank, you can pay cheese to select an opponent's mouse and roll a die to move it (hopefully to the Cheese Wheel).
  • In Oxford Dilemma, you roll two dice to determine how you'll move on the board. The colour on the space you land on determines the category of the word you'll have to spell.
  • Parcheesi involves rolling fives to start tokens from a starting corral, then advancing them around the board on a common track until they can be entered into the Home space in the center by exact count. A player that has two or more tokens on the game track can pair them on a space to create a barrier that blocks the progress of all rearward tokens.
  • Rap Rat: You roll a die to determine where you'll move on the circular board. If you land on a space of your colour, you get one part of a Cheese Jigsaw Puzzle. You have to collect 10 pieces in order to win. 
  • Snakes And Ladders is an entirely luck-based game where you roll a single die to determine how many spaces you will move on the linear track, and you win if you finish first. "Ladder" spaces let you skip ahead if you land on them, while "snake" spaces will send you back. In ancient India, the luck-based nature of the game was associated with traditional Hindu philosophy and a focus on destiny.
  • Sorry uses a special deck of cards to determine how you may move your pawns. Some cards give you two actions to choose from (e.g. a 10 letting you move a pawn 10 spaces forwards or 1 space backwards), and you get to choose which of your pawns you want to move. The game's "dangerous" spaces are the slides, which get pawns sent back to their starting space if a piece lands exactly on the start of the slide and gets to "slide down".
  • In Talisman, a die roll determines how many spaces you'll move, though you usually get to choose the direction, and some of the spaces give you decisions to make. Also, the Revised Fourth Edition added the fate point mechanic, which allows you to reroll a die.
  • Trivial Pursuit has you roll a die to determine how many spaces you'll move on the wheel-shaped board, though you get to choose the direction. The space you land on usually serves to determine the category of the question you'll be asked.
  • The board mini-game Voyages has the players roll 3d6 exactly once per turn. Each player must then pick one die to determine the direction their ship travels in (on a hexagonal grid) and another, to determine how far it goes (the remaining roll is then used to fill up the "ship duties" bar). The players can also mitigate the randomness by "exhausting" one of their sailors to shift a roll result up or down by 1.
  • In Xia Legends Of A Drift System, you roll a die to move you ship based on the engine you have installed, with bigger engines allowing you to roll dice with more sides. The smallest engines only let you roll a d4, while the biggest lets you roll a d12. You can also install a GPS, which will automatically add 2 to your die roll, up to the maximum number on the die you rolled.
  • Zombies!!! is a heavily dice-based game that uses dice rolls to determine your movement and how the zombies will move.

    Card Games 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has a card called "Sekitori - Musomaru", a Rank 6 Xyz Monster that can move around the field during your opponent's Battle Phase by rolling a die, then shifting it across the Main Monster Zones clockwise based on the number rolled. If it lands in your opponent's Main Monster Zone and there is a monster there, it absorbs that card as Xyz Material, and if it has more than 6 Xyz Material after using this effect, you instantly win the duel.

    Video Games 
  • Beauty and the Beast: A Board Game Adventure: the player rolls a die to move across the board, and moves the allotted number of spaces. Any spaces that get added to or subtracted from the roll of the die depend on how well the player does in the mini-games. If the player loses at Stage 1, they will get one space subtracted from their roll, if they advance to Stage 2 but lose there, they will have one space added, if they advance to Stage 3 but lose there, they'll have two spaces added, and if they complete Stage 3, they'll have four spaces added. In the bonus mini-game, "Gaston's Spittoons", the bonus the player will get will depend on their performance. If Gaston misses, the reward is two extra spaces added to the roll of the die. If he spits into a normal spittoon, a horseshoe will be added to the roll of the die for several turns, allowing them to move two extra spaces on those turns, and if he spits into the spittoon with a star on it, they will get to roll again. In Story Mode, Gaston rolls the same number on every turn, and in order to win, Belle must roll higher than him to get to the Beast's Castle before him and win the game.
  • Cuphead: The King Dice fight is a Boss Bonanza set up as an homage to the Gunstar Heroes Dice Palace, this time modeled after a craps game. In this case, the die is spinning in the air on its own, and you parry it to determine how it lands. (The die spins in a consistent pattern, at a consistent speed, so in this case rolling the desired number is a test of skill, not luck.) Depending on how well or poorly you roll, you fight as few as three or as many as nine minibosses before fighting King Dice himself.
  • A level in Devil May Cry 4 involves Nero being locked in a room with a life-sized board game. Hitting the die moves a Nero piece on the board, and based on the space landed, produces a variety of results. The goal of the game is to land on the final space with an exact roll, which unlocks the door and allows Nero to proceed. When Dante later encounters the same room in his campaign, he decides to cut the middleman and cleaves the die in half, destroying it and unlocking the doors immediately.
  • Eye Toy: Monkey Mania's board game portions have you roll dice to see how many spaces you'll move.
  • For the King: When a player character begins their turn in The Overworld, their total hexes of movement are set by their successes on a number of skill rolls, usually against their Speed statistic (Talent when boating; Luck when flying). The number and difficulty of rolls are affected by factors like terrain, weather, and equipped items; and there are a few means of gaining extra movement points.
  • Fortune Street is a series of computer board games with many parallels to Monopoly, which includes rolling dice to determine where you'll move on the board with buyable properties on it.
  • Gunstar Heroes has the Dice Palace immediately before the boss fight with Black. There's a game board hovering in the air, and a giant die on the floor that you roll by shooting. Depending on which space you land on, you get transported into a short level, a miniboss fight, a bonus room full of powerups... or the second-to-last space that sends you back to the beginning of the board. Reaching the last space lets you proceed to the boss fight against Black himself... who also abides by Roll-and-Move rules. He's in a giant mecha, and before every attack he rolls a die, then walks the number of steps he just rolled.
  • The board game parts of Mario Party games have you roll dice to see how many spaces you'll move. The spaces have effects like making you gain or lose coins, triggering a mini-game, giving you a chance to buy an item, or affecting the board in some way. The games also tend to feature items that can manipulate dice rolls.
  • Touhou Cannonball has a board game part where you roll dice and move your character accordingly.
  • Wii Party's Board Game Island has players roll two dice to determine how many spaces they'll move, with some of them having special effects. The twist is that one of your dice is always a standard d6, and how good the other one is depends on how well you performed in the mini-game at the start of that round. Also, rolling doubles lets you roll another die.

    In-Universe Examples 
Films — Live-Action
  • Jumanji: The titular board game lets the player roll the dice, causing the game piece he or she chooses move on its own. The game piece moves depending on the number the player has rolled.
  • The Ten Commandments (1956): Nefretiri and Sethi are playing a game of Hounds and Jackals on something like a cribbage board. Sethi gloats, "My jackals have your hounds at bay." Nefretiri rubs three stiff reeds, then throws them onto the board. "Triples!" she exults, and Sethi can only sigh in defeat.

Literature

Western Animation

  • The Amazing World of Gumball: In Dodge or Dare, on your turn, you roll the dice and then take a dare card. If you choose to do the dare, your token moves that many spaces. If not, you move half that many spaces and take a dodge card.


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