Dice Throne: Throwin’ Dice and Takin’ Names
Sometimes your gamer is in the mood for an old fashioned beat down. Head-to-head battle games can scratch this itch, but often end up so complex they take too much mental effort when you just want to swing your (figurative) fists. Collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering are one option, but they can get expensive quickly, and games can drag on. If you want something simpler and faster to scratch that itch, it’s time to try Dice Throne.
Dice Throne is a battling game with asymmetric player powers from Roxley Game Laboratory. Up to six players each pick a hero and battle each other using cards to improve their dice rolls and powers.
How to Play
Dice Throne comes in several series, but no matter which series you’re playing with, start with the most up-to-date ruleset.Select your hero, then take the corresponding board, dice, cards, status effect tokens, and dials for CP and health. Each player draws 4 cards from their deck, sets their dials to 2 CP and 30-50 health, depending on game play conditions.
On your turn, first do Upkeep, resolving any status effects on your hero. Then increase your CP by 1, and draw a card from your deck.
Next, it’s time for the Main Phase, when you may play cards to upgrade your hero’s abilities or gain or lose life or CP. You may also “sell” cards by discarding them for no effect, gaining CP for each discard.
The Offensive Roll phase is the core of Dice Throne. Roll all 5 of your dice and keep at least 1. You may re-roll the remaining dice. As long as you keep at least 1 more, you may re-roll a second time. Once you finish rolling, activate an ability that matches your dice. Some of your cards affect your choice by changing dice or allowing more re-rolls.
If you attack another player, they may perform a Defensive Roll, matching the ability on their own character board. Any damage from the Offensive ability and the Defensive ability are resolved simultaneously.
Finish your turn with a second Main Phase, allowing you to spend more cards.
Whenever a player reaches 0 health, they lose. The last player standing wins!
Each character has different status effect tokens that you can earn from various dice combinations. Save positive status effects on your character to use whenever you want, or apply negative effects immediately to another character to impact their abilities.
You can use these status effects for healing, preventing damage, inflicting damage, allowing/forcing players to re-roll dice, and more, depending on the character in play.
Dice Throne is an easy game to pick up and learn. The core of the game is manipulating your dice to get the best result, leading some people to call it “battle Yahtzee”. However, the wide variety present in the cards and characters keeps games feeling fresh and allows for many different overall strategies.
In card-only battling games (such as Gruff), players must depend on drawing the right cards at the right time. Although you would think that a dice-based game would feel more random than cards because of the luck in the rolls, Dice Throne actually feels more controllable (in some ways). That’s because cards are a vehicle here to upgrade abilities and modify dice rolling, and there are always several paths to victory.
I prefer the more straightforward Season 1 heroes.
I roll the dice, do damage, mess with opponents, and occasionally heal myself.Anitra
I find the Season 2 heroes more dynamic.
The Huntress has a huge cat companion, Nyra, who can attack or defend on her behalf.
I love the Tactician whose abilities are designed to be more flexible and give the player more options.Andrew
Although there are rules for king-of-the-hill or team play, we’ve enjoyed Dice Throne primarily as a one-on-one battle for supremacy. Roxley improved the targeting rules for group play after season 1, but we still find games of 3 or more players feel slanted and longer than necessary.
Art & Components
Just like the straightforward Season 1 heroes, I prefer the simpler graphic design of the Season 1 cards.
The Season 2 cards introduce noise that make the iconography a little less obvious.Anitra
I disagree. I love everything about the Season 2 cards.
There is more going on, but the icons are clear and easy to find, and the layout of the cards is the same.
Manny Trembley did a fantastic job upgrading the art across all aspects of the Season 2 components.Andrew
Regardless of preferences, all of the game components, as with every Roxley production, are top notch. All of the character art from season 1 was excellent, and it has only gotten better with season 2. Even the dice have been upgraded from plain colors to marbled dice, and the die faces in season 2 have colored etching, too.
Season 1 of Dice Thone came in a single box with six characters. Each character has a unique player board and a small tray that contained all of their tokens. Season 2 brought this individual setup to the next level. Consumers have the choice to purchase two-character boxes, or the “Battle Chest” that contains all eight characters. The season 2 character trays actually contain the character’s trifold board inside the package, making game setup even simpler.
If you hate luck in your games you may not appreciate the “battle Yahtzee” aspect of Dice Throne, Likewise, if you’re not a fan of direct combat, Dice Throne definitely isn’t for you.
Dice Throne absolutely scratches the collectible card game itch for us without costing hundreds of dollars and hours of time buying and sorting through expansion packs. I love knowing that the characters I’m playing are complete and I don’t have to search for extra pieces. Our eight-year-old can play Dice Throne easily, and we have a blast sneaking a quick game in before school or work.
If Dice Throne sounds appealing to you, they’re in the middle of their new Kickstarter for Dice Throne Adventures! You even have the chance to purchase the season 1 characters enhanced with the season 2 style, depending on your pledge level.
We love the quick gameplay, wonderful art, and excellent iconography in Dice Throne.
Our Favorite Characters
Even though I don’t mind the luck of the dice, I like to control as much as I can.
The Monk (season 1) and the Tactician (season 2) give me that flexibility.Andrew
I just want to hit my enemies hard. Pyromancer or Barbarian for me.Anitra
I want to stay alive. Shadow Thief lets me avoid damage from attacks and add damage to other people.Asher
Huntress lets me hit hard, dodge away, and split my damage with Nyra.
Moon Elf does less physical damage but her status effects prevent damage so she can stay alive longer.Claire
Roxley Game Laboratories provided The Family Gamers with a promotional copy of Dice Throne: Season 1, and Dice Throne: Season 2, boxes 2 and 4 for this review.
Players: 2-6 (we prefer at 2)
Age Range: 8+
Play Time: 20-40 minutes