Written By Hank Park (future Lawyer/board game enthusiast)
Dice Hospital is a game that keeps you on your toes as you try to discharge as many patients from your hospital as you can without letting neglect lead any of the others to the morgue. In quick summary, Dice Hospital is divided into 8 rounds, each of which consists of patient intake, improving your hospital, treating (and neglecting) patients, and discharging them for points. And the best part? Each patient is represented by a simple 6-sided die: a 6 meaning they’re one step away from being discharged, while a 1 means they’re just one step away from the morgue, for negative points.
There are a couple mechanics in this game that really require you to assess what kind of hospital you want to run, and by doing so, decide in what kind of strategy you want to use. For instance, discharging more patients at once gives you more points: 1 patient discharged gives 1 point, while 2 patients discharged gives 3 points. This means you might want to keep patients hovering around 5 or 6 until you have enough of them to discharge for a large point sum. However, you run the risk of not having room for intake, as you must take 3 new patients each round. If you can’t fit them, any overflow immediately goes to the morgue! And speaking of intake; taking sicker patients allows you to pick what improvements to your hospital you’ll make earlier than those who take healthier patients. Again, finding a nice balance between risk and reward plays a heavy theme in this game.
However, the true beauty of this game lies in the treatment phase, where you assign your nurses to different wards in your hospital to treat different dice. Each ward can only be used once, but dice can be treated multiple times in one round if you’d like. However, any dice that are untouched by the end of the round are considered neglected and go down one pip in health. The puzzle aspect of this game is the fact that all wards treat patients differently – you might have one ward that simply increases a green die by 1, but another ward might require 3 green dice that are all one apart (ie 3, 4, 5) in order to be treated! On top of that, some nurses might have special abilities that allow you to treat multiple patients, which can be combined with the aforementioned ward abilities!
As confusing and stressful as it might sound, there is nothing more satisfying in this game than pulling off a wonderful chain of treatment plans and discharging half of your hospital’s patients at once for a huge point combo. That being said, I did lose my first game doing so to an opponent that discharged patients in smaller chunks throughout the game, so I’m sure there’s a healthy balance there to be found as well. If you like games that involve engine building and puzzle solving, Dice Hospital is definitely one I’d recommend.