On its own Dice Throne is already immensely entertaining, but what happens when you pair it with the comics giant Marvel? Turns out you get one of the best pick-up-and-play Marvel experiences around, as The Op and Roxley's Marvel Dice Throne combines the already addictive and easy-to-learn mechanics of the base game and pairs them with the stellar theme and rich roster of characters from the House of Ideas, and it's a combination that is rather difficult to pull away from. I'd play another round of Marvel Dice Throne in a heartbeat, and any Marvel fan is absolutely going to feel the same way.
Dice Throne is a versus-style game that gives you each a unique character to play, and you activate their special abilities by rolling dice and amassing the needed combination of symbols. The dice all have varying symbols that match your character's ability load out, but many times you have several different options you can pursue between your allowed re-rolls. The added element of risk vs reward provides each turn with just enough unpredictability, and while you can push things too far and end up with nothing to do, those times are few and far between, so most turns end in some sort of forward movement.
This time around Dice Throne has the Marvel canon at its disposal, and it utilizes the theme to great effect. The game features Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Scarlet Witch, Thor, Spider-Man, Loki, Black Widow, and Doctor Strange, and each character you control feels truly distinct. Your play style and approach will change considerably from character to character thanks to a bevy of offensive and defensive powers, status effects, and character cards, and you can't help but feel as if you're embodying the character you know so well from the comics and films.
Some characters feel more authentic than others of course, and much of that will depend on your personal love of certain heroes and villains, but so much fun can be had just in diving into new characters and seeing how they change your own personal approach to the game. Anyone who knows me knows I always play as Captain Marvel at any given opportunity, and Marvel Dice Throne didn't disappoint, as Carol hits hard with powerful blasts that can be enhanced with a bit of planning by her Cosmic Ray effect. You can also obtain Radiance to boost her defensive abilities, and for her obtaining these boosts and knowing when to use them becomes incredibly important. That said, you do have to bring your own Chewie or Goose to the table to truly complete things.
Scarlet Witch on the other hand is all about manipulation, but that isn't relegated to just your own dice. Scarlet takes a bit to get the hang of but once you have a grasp on her status effects and abilities, she is a monster. You can frequently manipulate your own dice or have one of your dice replace an opponent's dice during all of their rolls that turn, and that can cause havoc if you're on the wrong side of that equation...like when I had a huge attack from Cap all ready to go when Scarlet turned one die to throw it all to the wind. The way all of the systems work together and how fun the central dice-rolling mechanic continues to be, even after several replays in a row, that impresses me the most, and I enjoyed my time boosting damage and defense with Black Panther, webbing up enemies and delivering key combos with Spider-Man, and utilizing spells to draft more cards and re-roll my dice with Doctor Strange.
One of the most unexpected surprises was playing Black Widow, who might just be my favorite character in the game. Her cards allow her to gain cards and turn dice rolls in her favor at key moments, and her Agility Status Effect is immensely handy in keeping her health up, making up for her low Defense Roll early on. Widow is all about Ability Upgrades, which can be purchased with Combat Points and make your abilities even more powerful. For Widow, she gets bonuses for having several in play, and this feeds into her Covert Ops Status Effect, which allows you to pull more of these to the front of your deck, and that's not even factoring in her Time Bombs, which deal damage to other players. She's such a unique mix of melee, deck manipulation, and range that I just wanted to play as her over and over again, but the same can be said for so many characters in this core box.
Presentation matters as well, and The Op and Roxley knocked that out of the park. The individual containers from GameTrayz hold everything for the character and look delightfully sleek, and the boards and components all look stunning and feel weighty when they hit the table. I had the Battlechest so the game has a few fun upgrades and a die-cast Mjolnir, though I got the most use out of the GameTrayz and promo cards. Each character comes with an active special ability and a unique card for their deck, and I found these added yet one more layer of strategy to the game, as if you use the second ability you flip the card over and that's it for the game. Not at all necessary but I enjoyed what they brought to the experience.
If I had any sort of nitpick, it would mostly come down to subjective preference. Black Panther didn't feel quite as fun to play as others, and that was mostly tied to his status effects. They are effective and I'm sure some will adore playing with his set of abilities, but I often found myself not having quite as much fun with him, and all I can narrow it down to is lack of versatility, as other characters just feel as if they have more layers of options and abilities to take note of each turn. Again, small gripe and the only other one would be a lack of fully co-op play, but if you're going to start incorporating bosses to fight and the like, you're pretty much making another game so I get it.
It's difficult to find criticisms of Marvel Dice Throne, as it takes the already compelling gameplay of the original and pairs it with one of my favorite themes, embracing what makes Marvel's characters so special and unique and translating that to gameplay that anyone can enjoy after just a few turns. Marvel Dice Throne is a game I would recommend to anyone for a fantastic time; but for Marvel fans, it's one of the most entertaining experiences you'll find.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Published By: The Op and Roxley
Designed By: Gavan Brown, Nate Chatellier, and Manny Trembley
Artwork By: Damien Mammoliti and Manny Trembley
Marvel Dice Throne is available now.
Review copy provided by the publisher.0comments