Dice Masters - Board Game Box Shot

Dice Masters

| Published: 2014
40 2 5

Dice Masters offers limitless fun and replayability through epic dice duels based on your favorite franchises.

go to: Who would enjoy this game?

Overview

What happens when the mad scientists behind Quarriors decide to radically overhaul a genre they invented in the name of innovation? You end up with a brand new concept – Collectible Dice Building Game – that is exactly the mix of Quarriors and Magic: The Gathering you would expect and hope for from that description. There are also enough different sets available to almost every gamer’s theme preferences: Marvel, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Dungeons & Dragons, DC Comics and more to come!

Dice Masters demo game setup

Justice League Set demo game set-up with printed PDF playmats

Set Up

Note: There are multiple ways to set up a game of Dice Masters (Draft Teams, Basic Teams, Tournament Teams). The following is a brief look at setting up the demo game from a 2-player Starter Set (which will end up looking similar to the photo above).

Set-up begins by selecting three Basic Action Cards. Each Dice Masters Starter Set has four sets of Basic Action dice (identical other than color). Each of these sets of dice are assigned to one of the Basic Action Cards by placing the dice on top of the cards and a corresponding “color card” underneath so that you can easily tell which colored dice belong to which action.

Dice Masters action card and action dice

Basic action card and dice from the Justice League set

Both players now select two different characters that they will be purchasing dice from during the game. Players put their chosen characters in front of them, to one side (since all the dice action happens directly in front of each player), and also put the matching character dice on top of the cards.

Dice Masters Batman card and dice

Character card and dice from the Justice League set

Collector’s note: The idea with collectible games is that you “bring your own,” so beyond the 2-player starter set, both players would choose from their pool of collected characters (warriors, demons, super heroes, villains). It may be just one die if that’s all you’ve managed to collect for that creature, but you can place dice up to the maximum dice count printed on the card (usually around 4).

Dice Masters Basic Dice

Basic Dice

Players each get a dice bag and eight basic dice to begin the game (depending on your set they can be called “sidekicks” or “npcs”, but the dice are the same).

Gameplay

On your turn you will draw four dice from your bag and roll them. Half of the faces are characters, while the other half are the energy. For reference, the bottom of each basic action and character card will show an image of each side of the die.

Unlike it’s granddaddy Quarriors, Dice Masters allows you to re-roll some or all of your dice once if your initial roll is insufficient for your plans. This makes Dice Masters the more strategy-friendly option… although it’s still dice.

Once you’ve completed your roll you’ll decide what to do with your results. The energy rolled can be used for purchasing character dice, putting characters (that you just rolled) in your field area as well as performing special actions.

Additional dice purchased go into your “used” pile and won’t be available to you until you have to refill your empty draw bag.

Dice Masters Creature Dice

Dice from the Dungeons & Dragons set

Once you’ve fielded any characters you wish to, you must choose which, if any, characters you’d like to attack with. If you choose not to attack, the dice will sit on the field indefinitely waiting to attack or block (unless your opponent has a creature with the ability to mess with your field).

If you choose to attack, you select which characters from your field you’d like to attack with and push them forward into the “attack” area. Your opponent then has the opportunity to assign any creatures they have waiting in their field to block with. The top right number on a die is its attack value; the bottom right number is its defense value. You will compare those numbers on both the attacking and blocking die and determine who survives and who is knocked out. Any KO’d character moves to their controller’s “ready” pile and is rolled along with the four dice they draw from their bag on their next turn. Any character that is blocked but doesn’t die returns to their field (you do not re-roll) and lives to attack (or block) another day.

If an attacking die goes unblocked your opponent (NOT their characters in the field) takes damage equal to the unblocked characters’s attack value. Any character that scores damage directly on your opponent has served its purpose and is moved off the field and into the “used” pile.

When you run out of dice to draw from your bag, you’ll place all the dice in your used pile back into the bag, give it a shake and then draw. So what started out as just 8 basic dice to draw from will become a mix of basic dice and the character and basic action dice you’ve purchased. This allows you to customize your dice pool during the game based on your own strategies as well as adapting to what you see your opponent purchasing.

In the beginner’s game each player has 10 life points. Play goes back and forth until one player has reduced their opponent’s life to 0.

Getting Started, Collecting and Customizing

Entering the world of Dice Masters with a 2-player starter set is a great way to get started. With the variety of characters and basic action cards they offer you’ll enjoy hours and hours of fun for less than two tickets to a movie.

Dice Masters Starter Sets

If you find that you’re really enjoying the game and want to add even more replayability, characters and dice… it’s time to start collecting! WizKids offers booster packs and great accessories for each set of Dice Masters. Let’s take a look at how you can expand your collection:

Booster Packs: While you’ll get 8 characters in a 2-player starter set, a complete set of Dice Masters (Marvel Uncanny X-Men, Yu-Gi-Oh!, D&D, etc.) has over 30 characters. Because this is a collectible game, you can’t just go to a store and buy the complete set. Instead, you build your collection through 99 cent booster packs. Each Booster pack comes with two random characters and one die for each character. You won’t know what characters you’re going to get, and they range from common to super-rare.

Dice Masters booster packs

If you like collecting, you’ll have a blast each time you open a booster pack to see what characters and dice you’re going to get. Like with most collectible games, there’s nothing more thrilling than pulling out a rare card! The beauty of these booster packs over those of collectible card games is that even if you get a duplicate card, you can still use the character die because each character card typically allows you to bring 4 of its character dice along with it.

Playmats: The printable playmats offered on WizKids’ site are great for making sure you don’t lose track of where your dice go during gameplay, and we highly recommend playing with them. But if you’re ready to add some bells and whistles to your play area, WizKids makes large playmats that let you keep all your current game’s cards and dice nicely organized, along with a life tracking area at the bottom. Each playmat is for one player, so if you’re going to get one for use at home, you’ll want to buy two so you have one for each player. If you’re getting into organized and competitive play it’s very likely you’re opponents will all have their own.

Dice Masters Play Mats

Collector’s Box: There are a lot of great things you’ll get in a collector’s box. The biggest perk is the awesome box with trays for easy storage of all your dice and cards. Beyond that you’ll also get everything you’d need for one player to play the game, along with 4 booster packs, a fabric dice bag, and more.

Dice Masters Collector's Box

images © WizKids

Components

Quite appropriately, the dice in Dice Masters are outstanding. The images on them are sharp and clean, and the dice themselves are quite colorful. The cards are average in quality, but contain outstanding illustrations (not surprising given the properties licensed).

For an even better look at the components and quality, watch our unboxing video of the Dungeons & Dragons 2-Player Starter Set below. There’s even a bonus at the end where we open a couple booster packs.

Learning Curve

For those unfamiliar with dice-building (or deck-building), there will be a decent learning curve. Even those with Quarriors experience will have to get used to several new ways of doing things.

Because your dice will move to many different areas on the table, rather than trying to imagine where those areas are, WizKids offers a free PDF that you can download and print for each player. We can’t recommend those highly enough. And if you’re really enjoying the game, you can get one of the playmats for your favorite set like we mentioned above.

While all of this can be picked up in under a half hour, Dice Masters being a collectible game means tournaments and organized play will be a big deal… and as is the case with these kinds of games, you’ll need to spend money on your path to success.

Who would enjoy this game?

Family Gamer {maybe}
The rules and decisions to be made can get quite deep, but if you have family members that enjoy 2-player collectible card games, you should definitely check this game out. For less than $15 for a 2-player starter set you really can’t go wrong!
Strategy Gamer {yes}
It is a dice game, but re-rolls negate a lot of uncertainty. The real strategy lies in which characters you choose for your game (as well as basic action cards if playing the basic or tournament rules). The player with the better complement of characters will be tough to beat.
Casual Gamer {yes}
The different sets (and not-too-complex rules) make this perfect for Casual Gamers. If WizKids doesn’t already have a set that appeals to your theme preferences, it’s probably on the way.
Avid Gamer {yes}
In addition to being a game you can carry just about anywhere, the availability of several different (and extremely popular) themes makes Dice Masters very easy to rope players into.
Power Gamer {yes}
Another big part of the game comes with tracking down the Rare and Super-Rare cards. Power Gamers will love the search for the most powerful characters, and they’ll love riding their finds to victory over less-dedicated collectors.

Final Thoughts

Just like Quarriors was a unique approach to an ever expanding genre of deck-building games, Dice Masters stands out among games like Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon in the Collectible Card Game genre. On top of being a game with great mechanics and plenty of replayability, WizKids made the genius move of working with companies like Marvel, DC Comics, Wizards of the Coast and Konami to combine their most popular franchises to the Dice Masters game. So you’ve got everything from superheroes and villains from the Marvel and DC universes to fantasy creatures from Dungeons & Dragons to the anime world of Yu-Gi-Oh!

Dice Masters is also a dream game for fans of dice rolling games and custom dice. The dice are very well designed and too much fun to collect. We’re sure many Dice Masters fans will collect many, if not all, of the different sets.

Dice Masters Dice

Dice from the Dungeons & Dragons set

The only caution based on our own experience is that it’s very fun to get those booster packs, and even though they only cost a dollar, the price does add up over time. At the same time, that makes Dice Masters that much more appealing because you’re not forced to buy a $50-100 game with tons of cards and dice. You can test the waters with less than $15, and then expand the game as much as you like with booster packs, other themed sets and other accessories.

dicebuilding1

The other shining star in this game is the dice-building. Where most collectible card games have you customizing a deck before the game, and then you hope you draw the cards you need, in Dice Masters both players bring their forces to the table and build their dice pools on the fly, adapting to what they see their opponent doing. It’s extremely fresh and fun.

If you like custom dice, dice rolling mechanics, 2-player dueling games and collecting, find your nearest game store, choose your favorite theme, and get this game!

Micro-review of Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men

Micro-review of Marvel Dice Masters: Uncanny X-Men

We’d like to thank WizKids for providing us with all the 2-player starter sets, as well as some booster packs and accessories.

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