Dice on Fire Review: Milestones

Ever wanted to build a bunch of stuff in the old-time European countryside? Well you're in luck - there's about a million boardgames that let you do just that! Milestones is one, and today I'm going to see if there's anything that sets it apart from the crowd.

Image source

The Basics

Players take on roles as competing land developers, seeking to build roads, markets and homes in key locations (the milestones of the title) which are laid out in a grid on the board. Players develop a little resource gathering machine to build these structures, by employing woodsmen, farmers, stone masons, and so on.

The Deeper Stuff

So you gather your resources and develop on the milestone-grid. Each development that you manage to complete awards you a certain amount of victory points. Milestones uses a first-past-the-post victory condition, meaning that players need to be quick off their mark, constructing their resource systems and figuring out the most efficient way to play them.

Players also need to remain aware of the ever present king and his ridiculous taxation laws! If you don't spend your resources at the first opportunity, he takes away any excess. And if you have more than two employees, he steals one - this means you're stuck in a near-constant battle of attrition with him. Do you pay two gold to get more workers and have him steal them within four turns? It's a tough call sometimes!

Developing the milestone grid introduces a fun set of challenges. Each structure (roads, markets and houses) follows strict placement rules, meaning it can be very easy to screw over other players - which is always fun.

To the right is the milestone-grid. Image source

How it Plays Out

Milestones uses a really cool combination of game mechanics when it comes to structuring which player actions can occur at any one time. Each player has their own action board, where they place workers in whatever order they want them to be accessed in the future. Various combinations can net you additional resources and additional gold, so there are a lot of strategies and alternative play-styles that open up through this simple mechanism. Setting up your mechanism can take a lot of thought, but once it's all in place, play proceeds at a generally quick pace, meaning there is very little downtime for players.

The way you set up your resource system can be very beautiful in its simplicity - how I wish I could say the same for the milestones-grid itself! Players are presented with an enormous grid of triangles with numbers and potential for play all over the place. On the one hand, it's great to have options, but on the other, you may only end up using a third of the board, and honestly, too many options for yourself and other players can mean that setting up a tough decision or sabotaging another player's turn is increasingly cumbersome. In this aspect, Milestones needed to make cuts to streamline gameplay.

Component Quality

This is pretty high quality production, with a big board, thick tokens and tons and tons of little wooden bits. I was very pleased with the components.

Colour-Blind Info

Coloured cubes are used to indicate the different resources. Surprisingly, I had no trouble with them at all, but if you're a colour-blind player, you might have to spend some time with a sharpie, fixing them.


Normally, a game with a weak theme (see, Eurogame) has to do a lot of work to impress me, but I really did enjoy Milestones, for the most part. It's a reasonably complex game of a decent length, but not incredibly punishing to strategically naive players like myself. And it is a very satisfying game to play, when you have your resource machine in place and ticking away nicely. I'd recommend it to players who want a longer game which isn't too taxing on the grey-matter.