My friends got me Dairyman about five months ago during their trip to Japan. They were drawn in by the cute artwork, and they thought that I would enjoy it. (Side note, my friends are the best!) This cute little push-your-luck dice game is all about milking cows in the barn and making cheese and ice cream. Plus, who doesn’t love ice cream?
Dairyman, originally published by Homosapiens Lab in Japan, is now made by Tasty Minstrel Games in America. From what I can see online, the TMG game is a little bit bigger vs. my Japanese version, which is the size of a juice box and easily fits into your bag. Funny enough, the artwork even has a straw drawn on the side of the box (like with real juice boxes) and a hole at the top for the “straw.”
The game plays 2-4 players in about 30 mins. You are a dairy farmer milking cows and filling milk orders. To set up, place all three barns in a row, shuffle the milk tiles and place them in a stack. Take the first three milk tiles and lay them on the table. This makes up the order display, and it refills up to three at the start of the next person’s turn.
On your turn, you roll all the white dice and the yellow dice. You then choose two to three dice that equal exactly 10 to lock into the first barn. You can either lock in more sets of dice (equaling 10) into the first barn, or push your luck and roll the remaining dice.
You then repeat the action, taking two to three dice equaling exactly 10 to lock into the second barn. You can then reroll again to lock dice into the third barn. If you roll dice the third time, you immediately get a freeze token (which I’ll explain later what they do).
When you decide to stop rolling, you can take one of milk tiles on display that equals to number of pips on the dice you’ve locked in the barn. Say you managed to get three sets of 10, then you can take 30 points of milk tiles to put into your supply.
But if you reroll your dice and cannot make totals equaling 10, then you bust, your milk spoils, and you take backorder token (the red squares). When it’s your turn again, you then roll a red die along with the other dice in your hands. The backorder tiles are worth minus 5 points at the end of the game if you still have them. When the last backorder tile is taken during the game, everybody returns their backorder tiles and those players must discard a milk token with the highest value from their supply.
As you collect milk tiles, you can process them into cheese and ice cream, which are worth more victory points. This is where the freeze tokens come into play. On the top right of some of the milk tiles, there’s a freeze icon. You can spend your freeze tokens to process these milk tiles into ice cream. Other tiles display a yellow dice. During your turn, you can lock in the yellow dice to turn these milk tiles into cheese, thus giving you more points and special abilities such as rerolling a certain dice roll.
The game continues until there are not enough milk tiles to refill the order display back to three tiles. The game ends immediately, and players add the value of the tiles in front of them (subtracting any backorder tiles they have). The person with the most points wins the game.
This artwork in this game is so cute and it’s a fun push-your-luck game that you can literally carry anywhere. It’s a solid game that comes in a teeny-tiny box. What are some of your favorite push-your-luck games?