The Brown Messiah
When I’m not spending my time doing articles for Nerdd, streaming, or working, I’m thinking about a game that I have been playing for a little under two years now. At first I was drawn to it because it has a comic book superhero feel to it. But as I kept playing and learning more about this game, I have come to really enjoy it and the people I play it with. It’s a game of strategy and luck where you take the comic world’s greatest heroes and pit them against each other.
Dice Masters is a collectible card and dice game based off comic books across Marvel, DC, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles licenses, as well as the universe of Dungeons and Dragons and the Yu-Gi-Oh card game. It’s similar to other collectible card games or “CCGs” – like Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon – where you build decks of cards to battle other players. In Dice Masters, you build a “team” of characters and and actions to throwdown. Players start with 20 life points and the player to reduce the their opponent’s life to 0 wins the match. Now, in that aspect it’s like Pokemon and Magic, but Dice Masters has a “Deck Building” aspect incorporated into it, which is why I found an attraction to the game.
In deck building games like Marvel Legendary or Dominion, you are given a deck of cards with base resources that, when played, either generate currency or an effect – be it damage or special effects. But instead, Dice Masters uses a bag which you draw and cycle dice through instead of drawing cards from a deck, like in other CCGs and deck builders. It also cuts out that shuffling aspect that I take issue with. The randomness of a dice roll added to the chaos of what may be drawn from the bag creates an awesome gameplay experience where everything is up to chance. No matter how good your team is, it is all based on the dice rolls and good strategy.
Dice Masters is produced and developed by Wizkids, who also owns the popular miniatures game Heroclix. Wizkids hosts regional tournaments often, so there is support for a competitive scene across the nation and even internationally.
One other thing that makes this game so unique is the board that it is played on. The board is made up of different zones. The characters and actions interact with each other and different zones on the board. Dice are purchased and placed in one zone to be cycled through your bag when you refill. Dice Masters is awesome because the mechanics are very robust and interactions between the dice and the board can be really fun. You also get to roll a bunch of dice, which is one of my favorite things to do. One of my all time favorite memories was when I played a team where I was rolling at least eight to 10 dice each turn. That was a lot of fun.
As I said, it is based off Marvel, DC, D&D, and TMNT licenses. All the superstars are there for certain, including Batman, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, and Black Widow. Dice Masters was released in April 2014 and since then has seen a release of 13 full booster pack sets, 12 starter sets, 2 TMNT Collector Boxes, and 2 Team Packs. There’s a total of one Yu-gi-oh , two D&D, four DC, and nine Marvel sets. All these sets can be played independently or mixed together. You can play Dragons with the Justice League or Batman with the Turtles. That is where the creativity comes in and it can be a lot of fun. Some of my favorite character cards are Storm from X-Men, Constantine the Hellblazer, The Punisher, and the Blue Eyes White Dragon of course.
The community behind the game is the best part about the game. All the players I have ever met are excellent people. They are kind, funny, intelligent people who love the game. I have travelled to Orlando and Ohio and will soon be heading to Las Vegas for tournaments, and have met some of the greatest people. The community spans around the world and thanks to Facebook and reddit, we all stay connected and discuss tactics and rulings. Some even contribute by producing accessories like dice bags, towers, play surfaces and mats, and even rolling trays. My best purchase was from a guy named Glenn who’s from Australia. He designed the coolest Rick and Morty playmat for me and I absolutely adore it.
The competitive side of things can be a lot fun, with five different formats that include certain legal sets that are allowed in play and banned lists. These formats are called: Golden Age, which includes every card that exists or will exist; Modern Age, which includes sets from War of Light to the The Defenders; Team Pack, which will rotate every year and includes a banned list; a Rainbow Draft format, where you pass cards in groups of eight and build your team from the pod of cards passed along; a lesser known Doubles Format, where you and a friend play against another duo; and finally, The Professional Dice Circuit’s Prime format, which includes sets from World’s Finest to The Defenders Team Pack.
I currently contribute and help out with a podcast that a bunch of us local players from Utah created to help out the game. The podcast provides informative content to listeners and players to help them be successful in Dice Masters and have fun. We are called Double Burst. We have been around for almost a year, and a fun year it has been, too. We will soon be launching our 52nd episode! It has been a blast hanging out with these guys playing the game and becoming good friends.
If you ever want to check out the game go to the official Wizkids page here. Check out your local game store and see if they have it in stock, and if you see some people playing it, ask them about it. I guarantee that they will take time to introduce you to the game and tell you all about it. Whether you play casually or competitively, Dice Masters has great gameplay and is a lot of fun, with a variety of different formats to choose from. Good luck out there, and may the rolls be with you.