Updated: May 16, 2019
Dice Throne Season One
Designer: Nate Chatellier & Manny Trembley
Artist: Manny Trembley
Player Count: 2-6
Age Appropriateness: 8+
Playtime: 20-40 Minutes
The theme of this fantasy fighting game is quite amazing and leaves you wanting more and more knowledge of the backstory of each hero's origins and more information on the Mad King. Six characters come inside the box. Each are brandished with a vague title instead of names due to the Mad King claiming they have not gained the privilege of having their names known yet. I soaked up every little bit of backstory I could find which lies on the player boards, status effect leaflets, and comics that can be found online. Dive into this wonderful world that reminds me of Mortal Kombat in that heroes are fighting each other in a tournament in order to fight the final boss, the Mad King.
"Dice Throne is a game of intriguing dice, tactical card play, powerful heroes, and unique abilities.
It's a fast-paced 2-6 player combat game (1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 2v2v2, or free-for-all). Select from a variety of heroes that play and feel completely distinct from one another. Attack opponents and activate abilities by rolling your hero's unique set of five dice. Accumulate combat points and spend them on cards that have a large range of effects, such as granting permanent hero upgrades, applying status effects, and manipulating dice directly--yours, your teammate's, or even your opponent's."
What We Think
Gameplay & Rules
Dice Throne is a player vs player game that involves many different varaints of play styles. In this game you will be using dice and cards in order to defeat your opponents. However, the dice are the main components used in order to roll and activate the abilities that each character has on their hero board to cause damage to your opponents. "Battle Yahtzee" is a term that has become popular describing this game that is sometimes combined with the game Magic the Gathering as another description of the game. Winning in Dice Throne consist of knocking down the opponent(s) to zero health. The strategy of how you knock out the opponent is up to you and is where much of the replayability lies along with the evergrowing hero count. In this season there are six heroes: Shadow Thief, Pyromancer, Barbarian, Monk, Paladin, Moon Elf. Season 2 adds eight more heroes to the tournament, making the journey to the Mad King even more difficult.
Now back to the actual battle which is quite simple, but deceptively strategic considering the luck of the rolling dice. Whatever the player count, a player's turn is broken down into eight different phases.
Upkeep Phase - This phase is where status effects are resolved
Income Phase - This phase you will be drawing one card and gaining one CP (combat point)
Main Phase (MP) - This phase is where you play blue Main Phase cards such as upgrades/action cards or sell cards for one CP each
Offensive Roll Phase (ORP) - This phase is where the dice chunking fun begins and also where yellow roll phase action cards can be played
Targeting Phase - This phase is only activated if more than two players are present and consist of figuring out who will be targeted by the ORP. Each opponent is assigned a number or range on a die and then that die is rolled to determine the target
Defensive Roll Phase (DRP) - This phase you can still play roll phase action cards and opponents will defend if the damage is defendable
Main Phase 2 (MP2) - This phase is identical to the MP
Discard Phase - This phase you are made to sell cards if you make it to this phase with more than six cards.
The Turn Order card is very helpful for beginners, especially since the cards are color coded to the phases mentioned on the Turn Order card. The rulebook flows perfectly and is written well, making it easy to understand the gameplay. This is important because there are many instances that may prove confusing at first that can be remedied just by looking at the glossary in the rule book or the status effect leaflet. Damage is an important factor that is explained with a chart in the rulebook. I won't go into great detail, but you need to know there is defendable damage that will be defended against in the DRP and undefendable damage that skips the opponent's defensive roll. Also, in terms of damage, the ultimate cannot be altered except by altering the dice causing the ultimate. Go ahead and ingrain this into your head early on to hinder so many questions. Most of the cards are specific to each hero's abilities/status effects and easy to understand as long as you look at the key words written on them and match the color of the card to the phase to know when it can be used. The only exception are the reds cards which are instant cards and can be played anytime just like the status effects. There is a debate on the size of the decks and different variants to play the game using the deck in different ways. For example, some feel the deck does not get utilized enough and some cards will not been used or seen. I feel the deck sizes are balanced, especially since some characters are balanced by focusing some of their abilites on card draw. The replayability in this game is insane. Add together the hero count, strategic approach to each hero, hero specific decks, hero specific status effects, and you have an abundance of battles that will bring an unique experience each time. On top of all that replayability the designers have created such well balanced characters. Not one hero feels too overpowered compared to another, but you can easily find yourself attracted to certain heroes based on your play style. Some heroes are straight forward while others are more complex which are actually noted in the rulebook. I quickly became addicted to this game and will never turn down an opportunity to play it. The gameplay is so fast, especially with seasoned players, but offers such a strategic battle that you wouldn't expect at first when hearing the term Battle Yahtzee. Play conservative for some for sure damage or play aggressive like I like to do and press your luck for some serious damage!
Components & Art
Manny Trembley is easily one of my favorite artists and I cannot wait to see other games full of his beautiful art in the future! Besides doing the art, he co-designed Dice Throne with Nate! The art is one of the reasons this game is so immersive. You wouldn't think a dice game would come with such a great thematic experience, but Dice Throne blows up that belief. This fantasy world really pushes a comic like feel that I really enjoy. One day I hope there will be an abundance of comics with the Dice Throne world, and origin stories of each hero would be pretty legit as well. Now back to the components and art! The box is adorned with awesome art of each hero surrounding the Mad King. Inside, the components work very well with this game, but become even better in season two in my opinion. Each hero comes with hero specific dice (6), player board (1), status effect leaflet (1) , combat points tracker (1), health tracker (1), and deck of cards (1). I'm somewhat of a dice collector so each hero having different dice was a very pleasing component for me. For example, the Pyromancer has fireballs and blaze emblems on her dice while the Shadow Thief has daggers and moneybags on his. The cardboard quality is well made for the player boards and status effects tokens. I would recommend laminating the status effect leaflet though just to add some extra protection to it. All of these components are brilliantly illustrated by Manny which really adds to the fun of choosing your hero for battle.The components fit perfectly into the box which are divided into 6 separate inserts for each hero. It is quite nice to be able to pull out a hero's insert and have the majority of what you need to quickly begin your battle. The only negative from the components would be the status tokens storage as there is not an ideal way I have found of keeping them sorted. I resorted to just throwing them all underneath the inserts and grabbing the ones I need when battling. Overall though, these components are great and work perfectly for gameplay.
Here at Green Akers Games we love games. It sometimes can be difficult to be a reviewer since almost every game has at least something to love about it! So what we like to do is simply let our readers/viewers know if we think this game is a game we’d choose to pay for, play, and recommend to others without hesitation. A 3 out of 3 is a perfect score while anything less means the game has missed the mark somewhere in our eyes! Please keep in mind, our perception of or feelings about any game should not trump your feelings about that game. We believe that if a game interests you that you should at least give it a shot! Utilize your local FLGS or local gaming group to test out games before you decide to go all in!
Dice Throne gets a 3/3 from us. I recommend this game for everyone to add to their collection no matter their normal genre of games may be. This is one of the few games that I enjoy losing in almost as much as winning and I am super competitive. Every battle I have had has come down the wire and brought such a fun experience to the table each playthrough. I cannot really think of a negative for this game. The only thing even close would be for the player boards to match season 2 player boards, but that is in the works for a remastered version as well. The player boards still work well in this first season, I just love uniformity so the remastered version will be in my future purchases for sure. I would also have no problem paying for Dice Throne at it's current price point or pulling it out of the closet on the regular to play! I want to play it so often I resort to even playing it over Facebook Messenger with other raving fans. Please remember, just because we like the game does not mean YOU will since not every game is for everyone. However, this dice chunking game sucks you into an addiction that is really hard to beat. This will be such a great addition to you collection! Be sure to join the Dice Throne Community on Facebook where you can stay up to date with future Dice Throne related games and have any questions about the game answered there as well!
Below is a link to buy Dice Throne Season One as well as a link to BGG to see more reviews and content. Be on the lookout for Dice Throne Adventures coming to Kickstarter July 16, 2019!! We’d also love you to join us in the comments section with your thoughts. Create a member profile and let us know what you think!