Dice Throne: Season One Rerolled was sent to me for review some time ago, unfortunately, thanks to Covid, people getting Covid, people missing game nights because they were near someone with Covid or someone with Covid walked past their house, getting it to the table has not been easy.
Dice Throne, for those who are unaware, is essentially a dice duel between overtly powerful heroes but this is far too simplistic a description because Dice Throne is also a tactical card game too.
You see, each hero is different, they have different powers and abilities, different defensive skills and, most impressively, each hero has its own set of 6 custom dice and a custom deck.
Before I talk about how Dice Throne plays I want to touch on the quality of the components. I love a good quality bit of card and some special dice but above all, I love organisation. I don’t tend to organise everything in my life but I do like a good board game organiser as can be attested to on this very site, so on opening the box I was immediately impressed that each character had its own organisation box.
I think I get as much pleasure from organising and sorting the games I buy (or in this case being sent) as I do from playing them.
So, as I have just alluded to, I was sent this game for review. If you have seen any of the other reviews that will make no difference to me and I will tell you exactly what I think about a product good and bad.
Dice Throne was designed by Nate Chatellier and Manny Trembley. Nate had previously worked as a game designer and senior developer at Niantic Inc before turning his hand to a physical game and Manny Trembly, as well as being credited for creating the game also did the artwork.
And what a thing the artwork is. Each character is different, they have different dice, abilities and decks of cards yet the entire experience from the box to the cards is homogenous and wonderfully on theme.
The mechanics of the game aside the artwork is something that I was instantly drawn to and had previously purchased a few of the individual duel boxes.
In the original big box release, there were six heroes however, this new rerolled box has an additional two characters, they are the Treant and the Ninja, both unique characters with artwork that is equally glorious.
Drilling down into the box you will find a further eight plastic trays that hold the three-section fold-out character board, 6 custom dice unique to each hero, tokens denoting specific skills or traits, CP/Health dials and a deck of cards that you can use to expand your skills as you level up.
Should you wish to travel you could take a couple of hero trays with you for battles on the train for example as the lids are well fitted but I would prefer the duel boxes as they would offer far better protection than the plastic tray alone.
It seems all games must have a theme with a backstory nowadays and Dice Throne is no different to other games in this respect. There is a Mad King who has been challenging people to come and battle him for 1000 years and blah blah blah.
In the end, you do not battle a final enemy, the Mad King isn’t in the game (unless of course you count my friend Rufus but we are not sure he really is the King of Jimbarbia and suspect he only said it because he was wearing a crown from Burger King the time when we met him) which begs the question, why add a story at all?
We have played 1v1 mostly, but there have been a couple of 2v2 battles that worked pretty well and the game will scale to 6 so you can do a free for all, 1v1, 3v3, 2v2v2, or other combinations, but I don’t have enough friends to tell you about that.
The characters play very differently and some will fit your playstyle better than others. For example, I have not won a single game playing as the Monk but I have rarely been defeated as the Pyromancer or Treant.
I tend to go for aggressive characters that like to attack, where defence is also an attack or where you can be a tree, like Groot.
At the start of each round, you first assign your CP or combat points, side note, the first player forgoes their CP accrual in the first round, you can then spend that CP on upgrades. There is a great mechanic where some of your cards will replace the parts of your player card allowing you to attack with more ferocity or defend with more “defocity”?
Through play, you may also acquire the odd lingering injury or mild poisoning that you will handle during the upkeep phase as well as any passives that your character may possess and then you can attack. Once this is resolved you then have another main phase where you can spend more CP before finally selling anything over 6 cards in your hand in exchange for CP. You then pass the turn to your enemy, sorry, friend.
I have a 10-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl who have both fallen in love with the game. Each battle takes about 30-40 minutes to play and because of the way the box holds the character packs, switching between them during one session is very simple.
From deciding to play to rolling the first dice could be as little as two minutes and with eight characters in the box to choose from, and I promise I am not bragging here, my children have been known to choose a hero each without arguing.
Each character will appeal to different play styles but I urge you to try everyone a few times as they are so unique and there is someone here for everyone. From the Barbarian who is a solid choice for your first game as he is not subtle in any way, hit, defend, done to the Shadow Thief, a character you will need to practice with to win consistently.
Shadow Thief is in for the long game, wearing down her foes with poison while growing more powerful every round. There is a gulf of epic proportions between these two characters and in between is everything else to scratch whichever itch you have.
I have purchased a couple of the standalone boxes and one of which is a 2 player box from season two which works just as well with season one but gaming together at the moment has been a tough thing to organise so do not want to comment on the whole of season 2 in comparison to season one.
When we do get together people want to play the games we were playing before COVID hit but even amongst all this, Dice Throne is getting to the table regularly enough for me to be able to write about it.
If it is not clear already, Dice Throne is now one of my “must own” titles along with Wingspan, Scythe, Descent and too many copies of Heroquest. There is something so refreshing about playing a game that isn’t too complicated on the surface, that works when I play with my children but gets deep when you are fighting a better opponent. I lost a game where I had whittled down the Monks health to 1 whilst I was still on 8 health which makes everything about Dice Throne exciting. Everything can change in an instant.
There are so many possible outcomes from each dice roll, so many variables based on your character, their abilities and upgrades that have been played that winning is never assured and it always seems like other players are luckier with their dice rolls. The funny thing is, we all say the same thing. If you are looking for a fast, fun and tactical game with high-quality components then you should look no further than Dice Throne.