Tabletop Game Review – Marvel Dice Throne

Marvel Dice Throne by The Op
Price: ~$50.00 (4 heroes)/~$30.00 (2 heroes)
Players:
2 to 6
Playtime:
20 to 40 minutes
Perfect for:
Duos and groups of Marvel fans who enjoy direct, asymmetrical combat with a balance of luck, probability, and strategy.

Marvel Dice Throne is a game of battling heroes! Players take control of an iconic comic book character (Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Loki, Thor, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man are all available now) attempting to defeat their opponent(s). Such contests may occur in a one-on-one fashion, or teams can compete to achieve a joint victory.

To begin Marvel Dice Throne two to six players select their hero. Each character comes neatly packaged with its own player board, tokens, card deck, health dial, combat point tracker, and custom dice. The number of players determines the amount of starting hit points. At the core of a players’ turn, the hero will roll their five dice up to three times, locking in desirable results. Once complete, the player will use the dice combination to activate one of their abilities. This may be a direct attack on an opponent, or perhaps gaining a power-up to be used on a future turn. In addition, players (on either team) can spend accumulated combat points to activate effect cards from their hand. Such activation’s might allow for the blocking of damage or the re-roll of dice. Depending on the type of damage, opponents may be able to attempt to negate the strength of the attack or deal retaliatory hits through their own rolls. Play continues until all but one person or team has remaining hit points and all others have been eliminated.

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What works in Marvel Dice Throne is its asymmetrical engagement and scalability. In the official description, the publisher notes that the game was “painstakingly designed and balanced.” This is not an exaggeration. Each character provides a uniquely rich and deep play/combat style, different from their peers. The result is that each playthrough experience feels new and fresh as players adapt to variations in style whether playing as a particular hero, against them, or on a team. Furthermore, the gameplay has a wonderful balance of luck and strategy. While the core mechanic involves dice rolling, players maintain a great deal of control over their plans given the options and upgrades at their disposal. And yet, there will be those times where a person rolls five 6’s—often triggering an ultimate attack—that will result in boisterous cheers of achievement or dismay.

Adding to Marvel Dice Throne’s high replay value is its ability to accommodate multiple player numbers with ease, and its adjustable complexity. Players can battle head-to-head, as part of a group, or even in a battle-royale manner. This works well given the fluidity of many of the cards’ ability which allow for the transference of their effects onto others. Furthermore, new players can opt to take charge of rather simple characters (like Black Panther and Spider-Man) who still have variance in their attacks but are rather straightforward and provide good entry to the rules and mechanics. On the other end of the spectrum is Doctor Strange who can chain together multiple spells and abilities over time and is far more complicated to control. Point being: there’s something for everyone, depending on the desired game style.

Players who don’t enjoy games of conflict may not enjoy Marvel Dice Throne as much as others. The core mechanic is battling and eliminating players by any means, sometimes through duplicitous activity. Individuals who don’t enjoy feeling targeted or attacked are likely to find Marvel Dice Throne aggressive. One way to mitigate this is to institute a house rule where, when presented with a choice, players always attack an opponent with the most remaining health. Finally, up to six players can partake in a Marvel Dice Throne game but note that this is only recommended for experienced groups.

Marvel Dice Throne is an excellent battle game. The variability and blend of gameplay style give high marks for replay value, engagement, and entertainment. It thus comes with the strongest level of recommendation. Two bonuses: 1) set up and clean up are super easy thanks to well designed storage units, and 2) Marvel Dice Throne is fully compatible with other Dice Throne titles to mix and match characters for even more options.

Recommended if you like: King of Tokyo, Unmatched, Disney Sorcerer’s Arena

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