Pour Decisions is a digital roll-and-write game designed by Joey Schouten and published digitally by Eris BV. It has been released in a “digital first” model to mitigate for current shipping issues. Joey explains:
“With the current global shipping and production crisis that is happening, attempting to print and ship a new board game carries too much risk as a small publisher. Instead, I needed to pick up new skills and find a new way to get games to players.”
“Since ‘roll-and-write’ games are ideally suited to play on your phone or tablet, it felt like the most straightforward thing to do.”
In Pour Decisions you are a dice-rolling vintner, conducting the various processes of wine production: growing, harvesting, crushing, fermenting, and pressing. Certain dice (grey, purple, and brown) can be used for only some of the processes, and white dice can be combined with the colored dice to support some spaces, similar to QWIXX.
Each process has its own rules for dice placement. For example, while Harvesting each number placed must be a higher value than the one below it. Crushing requires particular numbers, and Growing has alternating requirements – the next number must be higher, then lower, then higher again.
Similar to many roll-and-write games, completing certain mini-objectives within a section will unlock the ability to complete a space in another process. If you’ve played Ganz Schön Clever or its sequels, you’ve experienced the fun of action A triggering action B, and then B leading to C.
The digital implementation of Pour Decisions was excellent, and I had no issues using the browser version. Iconography is clean and clear, and tool tips for some of the icons made it easy to get reminders as needed. More tool tips (by hovering or right-clicking) would be helpful for some of the other elements. Though I played several times, I still don’t feel like I understand the strategy to earn the most points, so a little more guidance of how the triggering works would be useful.
The music and sound effects are cute and unobtrusive, and options allow for toggling any sounds on and off as needed. It did not include specific colorblind filters or double-coding options, which would help address color vision accessibility needs.
Color Vision Accessibility
First, the dice themselves are distinguished only by color, which could cause an issue for some players. I was able to identify the three colors – gray, purple, and brown – but it would’ve been even better if either grey or purple had been a lighter tone than the other. The three colors having the same brightness slowed me down a little. But as a solo game without any real-time elements, this suited me fine. On top of that, the rules provide a clear description of where each color can be played.
I ran into more trouble trying to connect the dice colors to their icons on the board. As shown the below, the brown die and the brown icon on the board are different hues, which is an accessibility issue for colorblind people. I use color-matching a lot, because I don’t see all the different shades. Exact color matching helps me distinguish the colors.
Talking with Joey about the colors, he shared that he has received comments from some gamers and is working on revisions:
“I’ve gotten (and taken aboard) feedback that the colours could use more contrast from each other, which will appear in the content update I’m working on right now.”
I am not typically a digital board game player, but Pour Decisions has convinced me to try a few more digital experiences. The game is currently available on itch.io and the Google Play Store, with more platforms (such as iOS and Nintendo Switch) coming soon. The team plans to release a physical version via Kickstarter in 2022. To learn learn more, visit Schouten Gaming Services at https://schouten.games.
Colorblind Games received a digital code from the designer in exchange for a review of this game.