The roll and write games coming from the team at Motor City Gameworks are some of the best around. When we heard that a New Orleans based roll and write was in development, we had to check it out.
French Quarter is the fourth game in the “loaded roll and write” series. Players are experiencing all that New Orleans has to offer with the music, culture and celebrations. So, let’s dig into this game inspired by this area of New Orleans.
A City of Music
New Orleans is unlike any city we’ve been to as a family. There are musicians and entertainers on every corner along with amazing food on every block. French Quarter draws inspiration from the city to give you a roll and write experience on the game table.
Each player is given a double game sheet and a pencil/pen. At the start of each of the 8 rounds, the colorful dice are rolled and added to the transportation cards in the middle of the table. These cards allow players to travel around the legendary downtown streets of New Orleans.
Players draft a die tied to these movement cards, awarding them icons and a die number that will be added to a building on their map as your meeple moves around the city. Assigning these numbers are important as the Second Line musicians travel around the French Quarter. The player who chooses the pink die will dictate which direction the band travels, giving points to the buildings that have been numbered in the city.
Taking it to the Streets
French Quarter is loaded with icons, representing the experiences that you’ll find in the city. Players can collect sets of musicians and entertainers from the buildings around the city. This can pay off big time for players who dedicate themselves to seeing the variety of performers around the city.
There are 5 main icon types that are shown as balconies on the left player sheet. These represent the food, social activities and more that this area is known for. Each milestone you achieve on these balconies can award bonuses (windows) or scoring multipliers (fleur-de-lis) for the end of the game. Umbrella icons are super useful as you earn wild actions for every three umbrellas.
At the end of the game, players will look at the streets where they have numbered buildings. The fleur-de-lis multipliers will allow you to score points for the buildings on the city streets.
A Snapshot of the Culture
Just like any of the other roll and writes in this series (Motor City, Three Sisters, Fleet the Dice Game), there are loads of ways to earn points. One thing that makes French Quarter an interesting design is the lack of dice mitigation. Players can’t just modify die values during the game. This forces players to work around previous decisions and problem solve as the city fills up.
My biggest surprise with French Quarter is the New Orleans feel that is packed into this box. The culture of the city is represented in so many of the design choices that the team made. Even using the “Socialize” die too often will slow your movement when choosing the “Walk” die because you’ve partied a little too hard.
French Quarter isn’t as difficult to learn and teach as Motor City. It honestly fits nicely in the middle of this series as far as difficulty is concerned. After a handful of plays, it doesn’t feel as “combo-tastic” as Fleet or Three Sisters. Bonuses are easy to keep track of and the gameplay is smooth from turn to turn.
French Quarter draws on the deep and rich culture of New Orleans to create one of the most thematic roll and writes around. If you’ve enjoyed any of the designs from the team at Motor City Gameworks, this game is absolutely worth checking out.
You can visit the French Quarter Kickstarter campaign starting on May 30, 2023.
A prototype of the game was provided for this coverage. Components and rules covered in this preview are not finalized. Read more about our preview policies at One Board Family.