Pick your fighter, grab your dice, and battle all the way to the top and claim the Dice Throne.
Designers: Nate Chatellier, Manny Trembley
Publishers: Mind Bottling Games, Roxley
Players: 2 – 6
Time: 20 – 40 minutes
Alright, so just in case I’m starting to sound like a broken record or more aptly, you the reader has noticed that I’ve been review simpler board games….. I know.
I really do enjoy much more in depth games (terraforming mars and the thing are coming soon!). But at the same time, it’s great having a fun game that’s quick to teach and play, which is random/different enough that you can play it multiple times (there’s a trend here with a lot of things I’ve examined so far). So enter Dice Throne.
Dice Throne is a 2 to 6 player game where players pick a fighter, grab their custom set of dice, and duke it out on the battle field. So let’s start with the first item picking a character. The base game for season one comes with 6 fighters. The Barbarian, Monk, Paladin, Pyromancer, Shadow Thief and Moon Elf. Not all fighters will be a given person’s cup of tea, but there will be one that you can enjoy playing. From the simple Barbarian with basic attacks and powerful healing, to the Shadow Thief who manipulates command points and action cards to wreak havoc on her opponents.
Ok, so you’ve picked your character and you’re ready to fight! Well let’s slow down just a little bit and look at the flow of the game. This basically comes down to generate income (command points), draw a card, perform your roll, opponent defends, next player. Now that we know where we’re going, let’s begin.
Generating income and drawing your card, easy enough, right? When the game starts each player has 4 cards, and 2 CP. Each turn you gain one more of each and can discard any action card you don’t want to generate another CP for each that you discard. So what do the cards do for us? Well, I like to put these into 4 categories. The first modifies income (typically by improving your own rather than hindering your opponent). This can be gaining extra CP or extra cards. The second modifies dice rolls (either your own or your opponents). The third prevents or adds damage to attacks. And the last but most interesting are upgrades to your fighter’s attacks. Each card has a cost associated with it, listed on the upper left corner of the card. To play the card, pay the cost.
Okay, now we can finally get to the combat! This game likes to be played in teams, so having an even number of players helps. But there are free for all rules if you don’t want to (or can’t play teams). Each player or team has a health pool. When this health pool hits zero that player or team is out. So how do we hurt them? With our dice of course.
Each character has a nice little set of themed dice that are unique to them, as well as a unique player board. The player board has all of the attacks and defenses a player can employ. Each attack has a required set of dice to activate it, as well as damage, healing or effects for each. So grab your dice and make you’re initial roll! Based on the initial roll, you can start aiming for which attack to perform. You have 3 rolls total (think King of Tokyo or Yahtzee) to make your attack. Most of the time, you will have an option to use (even if it isn’t what you wanted), but sometimes the attack is botched and you don’t get to attack (this sucks, but it’s rare). Once the attack is declared, the opponent makes a single defense roll (rather than the 3 you get for attack) as dictated by their character board.
Remember my mention of upgrades? These upgrade cards basically sit on top of your player board and make the attacks stronger. They rarely make it easier to get the attack, they just become stronger.
Some of you playing may also be wondering when I’m going to talk about status effects…. well here we are! So I want to keep this somewhat short and let everybody figure these out on their own (have the thrill of dropping an unknown ailment on your opponent feels so good). But I should explain a bit. All characters have a set of status that can either cause harm to opponents or give buffs to yourself. The different attacks on your player board will grant these, and the power ups tend to make it easier to use these. All in all, it adds a nice little wrinkle to the plans of your enemy!
That’s it really. Grab a character, some dice, and fight. It’s very easy to teach and play, and unique enough to keep most busy. That being said, it is a simple game with not a whole lot of depth. Many players will prefer to play something a bit meatier and that’s completely understandable. But having a varied collection of games that can be picked up and played is an excellent assent.
One closing note! At the time of this breakdown, Dice Throne has a kickstarter in the works for a second season of Dice Throne (the kickstarter page can be found here). The new expansion will add a slew of new characters and is completely compatible with the original base game.
- Quick to teach and play.
- Enough variety between characters to keep the game interesting.
- Allows for team based, and free for all gameplay.
- Game expansion on the way.
- Might not be meaty enough for experienced board gamers.
- Gameplay is fairly repetitive (characters are different, but requirements for attack are largely the same).
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