L. Sahara McGirt
Tabletop Review: Marvel Dice Throne
What started as a Kickstarter campaign last year that raised over $2 million in funding is now hitting retail stores Target and Barnes & Nobles through a partnership with The Op games. If you're like me and browse the board games section at Target every time you come in, you may have seen Marvel Dice Throne on the shelf and wondered if maybe it's a game you want to check out.
I received a copy of the 4-hero box and both 2-hero boxes and played a few rounds with my nephew and brother. The 4-hero box comes with Marvel's Loki, Scarlet Witch, Thor, and Miles Morales' Spider-Man. The 2-hero boxes have Captain Marvel and Black Panther, then Dr. Strange and Black Widow. Marvel Dice Throne is for 2-6 players in 1v1 or teams 2v2 or 3v3 format with an estimated game time of 30 minutes and recommended age minimum of 8+ years.
Marvel Dice Throne takes a few rounds to learn and get into the gist of things. Your first game will obviously take longer than 30 minutes if you've never played a Dice Throne game and need to familiarize yourself with the rules. In fact, that first game might make you feel as if it's a little overcomplicated with the steps involved in gameplay, but once players get into the rhythm of things, it goes much easier and faster. The involvement of cards, dice, health and combat points can seem overwhelming at first, but as you gain confidence in playing, all of the parts work to create a fun, partially strategic, partially luck-based game that can provide plenty of chances to create upsets in who is winning.
As I learned while playing with my 9-year-old nephew, Marvel Dice Throne leaves plenty of chances for the other player to turn the tables on you with a lucky dice throw. I had him down to 6 HP when he suddenly rolled five perfect 6s, used Black Panther's ultimate ability in combination with a unique status effect, and completely wiped out my Black Widow's last 14 HP. I was so devastated by the win that I was equally impressed with the game's mechanics allowing such an upset of the status quo.
Strategy is all well and good in Marvel Dice Throne as you can combine your use of cards with dice-rolling to reroll dice, upgrade your attacks, and give yourself an advantage in gameplay, but ultimately, the game can come down to the perfect dice roll as exemplified by the above anecdote. Status effects, in combination with attacks and defense moves, keep the gameplay interesting and just long enough to be exciting. Each of the Marvel Heroes comes with abilities and effects that are perfectly canon-based and will make you want to try different heroes out for different strategies and game variations.
So far, I've played Thor, Black Widow, and Captain Marvel up against Loki, Black Panther, Spider-Man, and Dr. Strange, and while I have favorites (Thor, Loki), I will certainly be playing the other heroes to get a feel for how they play out.
After experiencing Marvel Dice Throne, I would say 8+ is perfect for the age minimum as younger children might not enjoy the sometimes complicated gameplay. The game is great in the 1v1 format. If you're looking to do a free-for-all game with more than 2 players, be ready for the game to take longer. With additional players, if you're looking to keep to a 30-minute run, there's no need to up your health points from the base 50 by more than 5-10 points per player. For a longer game, add on to the HP.
This Game Looks Good
As for the aesthetics of Marvel Dice Throne, this game is very good-looking. The stylistic artwork of each of the Marvel heroes' game boards, leaflets, tokens, health and combat dials, etc., is vibrant. Each hero comes with their own dice, and the designs and colors suit their perspective hero. There are a lot of moving pieces to this game, so you'll want to keep track of them, but the packaging makes it easy with covered trays for each hero. All pieces fit within the trays and boxes, so if you're a stickler for good board game organization, Marvel Dice Throne has it down, thanks to Game Trayz.
A Great Competitive Game
Whether you're a fan of Marvel or you're looking for a fun competitive game for game nights with friends, Marvel Dice Throne is a whole lot of fun and worth the buy. You can find it at your local Target or order it from the Op website.