Publisher: Roxley Games / The Op
Player Count: 2-6 Players
Dedicated Solo mode: No
Game Length: 20-40 Minutes
The hugely popular Dice Throne series gets the Marvel treatment in this latest edition of the card playing, dice rolling battle for greatness.
Choose between Thor, Spider-Man, Loki and the Scarlet Witch available in the base game or add Doctor Strange, Black Widow, Black Panther and Captain Marvel through the expansions. Each character has their own strategies and abilities giving you a unique experience no matter which side you’re on. Roll handfuls of dice to activate special abilities and upgrade your character in this tug-of-war, crowd-pleasing combat game.
PLAYING A TURN
The concept is simple: the first player rolls their dice, choses their attack then their opponent rolls for defense. While that’s not all there is to it, you can get an idea of how straightforward the gameplay is for Marvel Dice Throne. Where the game excels is in the presentation and personality infused in each individual character. Each character has its own set of rules and abilities that require its own unique strategy to master.
Each character begins a game with its own base set of actions. Throughout the game you’re managing a heath dial and combo points. Your health dial obviously determines your ability to sustain injury. You’ll be able to exchange combo points to activate cards you’ll draw throughout the game. These cards can provide you instant turn bonuses while others can be used to upgrade your character board to provide more impactful and exciting abilities.
Similar to a game of Yahtzee, the active player will roll 5 dice with the ability to re-roll a total of 3 times to gain their desired combo. Each character has their own custom dice equipped with personalized icons specific to that character and their universe. While multiple abilities can possibly be triggered on one turn, most actions require a set, a run or some unique pairing of symbols. Damage is inflicted on their opponent and then the opponent has an opportunity to respond with any combo cards and a roll of the dice to provide a counter attack.
Where each player truly defines its unique abilities is in their personal play tokens. These tokens can be earned in a variety of ways (I’ll dissect each character individually below) and used to enhance attacks, limit their opponents or just cause trouble.
Play continues until one player’s health has been depleted entirely and a champion is crowned.
UNIQUE GAME EXPERIENCES
Dice Throne is beautifully illustrated and produced. Each character has these unique, dice-cut boards that unfold. The dice for each character is unique along with custom tokens and a number of special combo cards. Despite all that, each character is a truly asymmetrical strategy that stems from their base actions, upgrades and unique token abilities. I want to briefly break down each character, identifying unique abilities and standout features just to showcase a bit of the game’s depth. Players also have the opportunity to share these tokens so while they’re associated with a certain character that doesn’t mean they’re exclusive to them—this can affect team games or temporary alliances.
THOR – BASE GAME CHARACTER
Thor brings a lot of power to the game with a number of potentially undefendable attacks. A standard turn only allows you to draw 1 additional combo card where Thor can collect Electrokinesis tokens that allow him to draw additional cards which equate to more possibilities. What would a Thor character be without Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer? Thor can throw this at an opponent inflicting damage and later retrieve it. Thor doesn’t have a terribly great base defense, but he makes up for it in offense.
SPIDER-MAN – BASE GAME CHARACTER
Spider-Man is a great beginner character for players. Technically, Miles Morales: Spider-Man, you’ll have a fairly balanced attack and defense board with less complicated token abilities. Spider-Man has speed on his side since he can spend Combo tokens to bring a 2nd attack on a turn. When webbed tokens are activated, his attacks are undefendable. Spider-Man’s unique effect is his ability to turn invisible. This token defends against a typically undefendable attack.
SCARLET WITCH – BASE GAME CHARACTER
Scarlet Witch can be a challenging, but very powerful character if used properly. She has a unique board that uses her spell casting abilities as well as provides a strong defensive skill set that, instead of inflicting damage on the opponent, helps her reload her tokens for a future turn. The Scarlet Witch can change die symbols, exchange and opponents die for one of her own, steal opponents abilities and build attack multipliers with her Crackle effect.
LOKI – BASE GAME CHARACTER
Loki is the god of mischief, and his toolset reflects that persona. His token abilities are a bit of a gamble that can either punish an opponent or benefit them. With the Illusion effect, an opponent chooses between 3 cards: one a benefit, one neutral and one destructive. The Bag of Tricks forces an opponent to roll a die and deal with the repercussions (good or bad). Using the Spellbound token will actually deactivate one of their opponents board actions for that turn. Loki can be a lot of fun, but in a game of dice rolling, it adds even more luck to the pot.
DOCTOR STRANGE – DOCTOR STRANGE VS BLACK WIDOW EXPANSION
Stephen Strange comes with a set spell cards that can be prepared and executed during play… even casting spells from your discard pile makes him even more dangerous. Using Crimson Bands, Doctor Strange can limit an opponent’s ability to play cards. Other tokens allow you to draw additional combo cards and the Deja Vu token allows you to completely restart your roll if things aren’t going your way.
BLACK WIDOW – DOCTOR STRANGE VS BLACK WIDOW EXPANSION
All about espionage, Black Widow can be elusive, deflecting damage. Using Cover Ops, she plays a card drawing game where she can potentially search her deck for board upgrades. Black Widow also has a time bomb token that can be played on an opponent. During each turn, the opponent has to roll a dice and the outcome will either advance the token or defuse it. Once the token reaches zero it causes damage.
BLACK PANTHER – BLACK PANTHER VS CAPTAIN MARVEL EXPANSION
Black Panther has 8 Kinetic Energy tokens. You can increase attacks by 1 for every 2 you have on your board and they restart when you reach the maximum of 8. But… upon reaching 8, you also get a haul where you gain combo points, draw cards and deal 5 damage. So it’s really about choosing the right time to cash in and get the most out of the process. The Vibrant Suit token prevents 3 damage as long as its worn. Depending on the length this token is active, it could mean 2 or 3 more turns in the game and that’s big time.
CAPTAIN MARVEL – BLACK PANTHER VS CAPTAIN MARVEL EXPANSION
Tokens like the Cosmic Ray will give Captain Marvel the ability to add to their attack by rolling additional dice. The Cosmic Flare deals damage to all opponents. It’s not super powerful (only 1 damage), but it is widespread. Finally the Radiance token allows you to change any dice to any value. Captain Marvel seems to have plenty of punch on her board, but the tokens are just ok in my opinion.
PROS & CONS
➕ Fairly easy to teach
➕ Quick game time
➕ Asymmetrical characters provide plenty of unique experiences
➕ Beautiful, thematic production
➕ Great replayability
➕ Expansions extend the game in unique ways
➕ Dice rolls lead to lots of exciting turns
➖ It’s tough to say if every character is truly balanced
➖ Limited number of combo cards are revealed each game – I want more!!!
WHY WOULD YOU LIKE THIS GAME?
This is one of the best dice chuckers out there. There are so many fun choices and combos you can build. The game plays quickly and there is tons of variability with different battle combos. Fans of dice games are going to enjoy this version of Yahtzee on steroids.
BEST THING ABOUT THIS GAME?
The best thing is how different each character plays. I loved discovering each hero or villain’s abilities and working to implement the best strategy to use them.
When I picked up Marvel Dice Throne I had never played any of the Dice Throne series from Roxley. I had heard great things about it, but how much fun could a souped up game of Yahtzee be? Additionally, I was feeling a little Marvel exhaustion at the time. I had reviewed Marvel Battleworld which was really for the kids, Marvel: Remix which is a fun, reskinned version of Fantasy Realms and Marvel United that just didn’t sit right with me or my kids. So while I was curious about the Dice Throne line, I wasn’t thrilled to be playing ANOTHER Marvel game.
Thankfully, the beautiful production and artwork were just the beginning. Marvel Dice Throne is a great balance of game length, quality, fun and depth. I love the replayability with the different characters. This is fun for kids of all ages… there really isn’t much here not to like. It is a dice chucker and I know that doesn’t work for everyone, but there’s always going to be a level of excitement rolling dice. The different choices for each character guarantees something cool will happen each turn – so you’re left with nothing from a bad roll.
I was really surprised how different each character plays. And that’s not just trying to learn the character you’re using… Learning your opponents, their abilities and how to defend them is just as much a part of that discovery. On top of that, different players are going to use different characters differently. Add in the player upgrades and combo abilities and there is a lot of depth to this game, but you don’t need to explore all of it to enjoy it.
Another major plus for the game is that it’s really accessible. The individual character abilities might seem a little intimidating at first, but a quick overview of those abilities and you’ll be playing in no time. I think this is also something that works as a family game. The mechanics are fairly simple and younger kids are going to enjoy the characters and theme.
The game also has flexible play modes providing setup for 2v2, 3 player and even games up to 6.
I didn’t know what to expect getting into this, but I’m really glad I had the opportunity to play this. I’m also excited that they made this available in retail stores. This is the type of game that can really cross over and bring new, potential gamers to the hobby. With its beautiful production and exciting actions, it can really serve as a bridge to an entire world of board gaming. Marvel Dice Throne is definitely going to have a place in my collection and I look forward to perfecting my strategies for all the available characters… and hopefully future characters 🙂