I feel pretty guilty admitting this, but Dice Throne is one of those games I have had since it was delivered and I’ve left it sat in its cellophane. Not touched it or even considered playing it. I won’t lie, I think it was out of stubbornness. The Kickstarter ended and the developers immediately announced ‘Season 2’, which, as a backer, frustrated me as I felt they’d kept some awesome looking content separate for the sake of it… (Kickstarter moan finished!)
Let me give you a crash course…
- Every player takes on the role of a hero/combatant who is competing for the ‘Dice Throne’.
- The game can be played in teams or solo but it’s effectively last man standing.
- Each character is unique and plays slightly different, but the mechanics are the same; roll dice and activate abilities.
- The aim is to reduce your opponents’ health to zero through a range of attacks and abilities.
- Every turn, players resolve previous status effects, draw a card and then begin their turn.
- Players then upgrade their abilities using the cards from their independent deck of cards by spending CP (combat points). Better abilities can often mean more damage output or added status effects for the same dice cost. Or they can sell cards for CP.
- To attack, players roll dice (up to 3 times to get desired outcomes) and choose abilities based on the result. With such a range of abilities it’s hard to roll so badly you’ll be unable to do anything.
- Players defend when attacked (unless stated otherwise) and the defence has specific effects against the attacking player based on the dice roll.
- After the attack/defence, the main player can again choose cards to play to upgrade abilities or sell cards
Despite my frustrations, the game is very well finished visually. The little compartments inside the box make for easy storage and management. All players can easily take their character’s cards, trackers and dice without needing to sift through a whole deck. The cards and dice are all very well made and the theming for each character is clear! We found the CP and health trackers extremely helpful as well, allowing us to easily keep track of both our own stats and our opponents. The aesthetics aside, the game is very enjoyable to play and it made me think a few turns ahead to ensure I could win easily. The mechanics were simple enough, I described them as super powered Yahtzee (name dropping the title), but it’s so much more than that! It’s a game you could win by going all out and taking huge risks to get the dice rolls you want, but also one where you can see benefit in taking your time, upgrading abilities and hitting smaller amounts requiring easily achievable dice combos more frequently.My partner took the lead on this one, learning the rules as she went with me patiently waiting and learning alongside.. and it was hard going. The game itself isn’t complicated, it’s very fun! But I feel that was drained by the slow going rules; the book isn’t very explanatory and I outright refused to watch a how to play video. Were there more details within the initial stages of the rulebook we’d have flown through and played many more games of it. I’ll admit that I can’t be too bothered by this though , these are the original rules from the initial Kickstarter and there are more than likely revised versions available.When we got down to it, the game flowed well and made clear sense. There’s a good balance between the randomness of dice rolls and choice of ability, your loss would be down to bad decisions and not down to bad rolls. The abilities often come with associated status effects which encourage you to choose less powerful attacks over those requiring complex dice combos. I played as the Pyromaniac and she as the Moon Elf. My play style suited me beautifully, all attack and no defence. Even my defensive abilities just did damage, but I still took the full whack of punishment! The Moon Elf was very different in style, all attacks linked to hindering an opponent’s ability to attack or take actions, and the defensive ability reduced the damage taken by half and increased their ability to dodge. In reality I have no idea how I won. No matter how much damage I output, she did more and took less. The only calling card for the Pyromaniac was its ability to store up power in the form of Fire Mastery tokens, which then increased the damage of some attacks, one of which couldn’t be defended against. The slowest part of playing 1v1 was the speed we collected cards; one per turn. I found myself buying lots of ability upgrades quickly and then waiting from turn to turn to get more of a tactical edge, whereas my partner had no upgrades but was playing cards for instant effect to ruin many of my turns.
- Despite me complaining about season 2, it’s a huge pro as you can buy the new characters as instant additions without introducing huge mechanic changes.
- The game is easy to pick up when you know the rules, and changing from character to character is more a change in tactic than learning how to play again.
- The gameplay is fantastic and playing in lager groups would have a far different feel to playing 1v1.
- The idea that every character is different and has unique skills appeals as it gives a player ownership of mastering how to play a character and keeps you guessing what an opposing character might do.
- The rule book!!! Very hard to kick off as it seems to require prior knowledge of how to play. (This may have been resolved in a revised version)
- 1v1 is a very slow paced game that ends quickly. Your turns don’t amount to much other than a damage output and you’ll end the game quickly before you can make improvements to your abilities or implement a proper battle plan.
- The super abilities are like an overpowered pipe dream. Getting them should guarantee a victory but it’s a waste of a turn to try!