01 February 2016
Superheroes in the palm of your hand, with the latest Two-Player Starter Set.
Wizkids | Collectable card/dice | £16.99 | 1-2 players | 30 minutes | www.wizkidsgames.com
Just imagine, for a moment, the unbridled power of TheIncredible Hulk, with hisability to smash buildings (if not entire streets), withstand missile blasts and punch people several miles. Now imagine again that this immense powerhouse of anger, strength and rage is squeezed into a little tiny green die that fits in between your fingers. Well, that’s the concept of Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers - Age of Ultron, the collectable dice/card game that puts the power of Marvel’s greatest heroes in the palm of your hand.
Age of Ultron is the latest expansion for the Marvel Dice Masters range, which adds a host of characters from the recent film, along with other Marvel favourites like Daredevil, Rocket Raccoon and Spider-Woman. Each of these super heroes comes with their own custom dice and playing card. The Starter Set (reviewed here) includes everything you need to get started (rules, 44 dice and 38 cards) or is a great way to instantly expand your collection with some new characters.
But what if you’ve never played it before? Is this a good entry point? Well, it’s a resounding yes. To newcomers Dice Masters can seem an incomprehensible mess of random dice throwing, cards and character damage. However, if you sit down and learn the basics from an experienced player, you’ll see there’s a truly graceful flow to the game that makes learning everything incredibly easy.
The premise is that you start with eight basic dice in play that are then used to generate energy to bring the better dice (superheroes, special abilities, etc.) into your potential dice pool. However, there’s a very simple flow chart to follow for each turn – roll at least four dice, generate energy to add extra dice to the potential pool or use the energy to ‘field’ character dice and then choose whether or not to attack your opponent. Once you’re in the groove of this concept then adding extra layers of gameplay, e.g. more character cards and abilities, becomes a breeze.
As for the superheroes, many come with a range of super powers that all have tactical effects in the game. On the most basic level, they’ll just attack your opponent (who must choose to block them with his own dice or take the damage) but many have special abilities, e.g. one of the Captain America cards deals damage to your opponent when you take non-combat damage. However, others actually help to buff other superheroes in your team, e.g. Iron Man’s Teamwatch ability that gives him +1 attack if you field another Avenger.
Perhaps the only niggle with Dice Masters – and this could really be applied to any collectable card game – is the Starter Set is only the beginning and to expand your game and become more competitive you’ll need to pick up the mystery booster packs, which contain two cards and their corresponding dice. But, if you just want a just quick game with a mate, this is the perfect pick-up.
This latest two-player starter set is really a great entry into this superbly strategic game. Don’t be put off by the potentially confusing rules because Marvel Dice Masters is a tactical masterpiece.
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