Stop Hitting Yourself!
Everybody loves Dice Throne – am I right? Those lovely trays with the folded characters and the individual dice and counters… being able to just crack out a couple of characters and swinging for it… a trading card vibe without the trading card cost. Yeah, it’s a big thing, and since it pulled the master stroke of releasing a Marvel Themed Season, it’s been getting new fans from all quarters.
How Long Have I Been Out?
If, however, you have just woken from a very long, enchanted sleep/coma, you may not be familiar with the Throne of Dice (TBH until last year, I had NO IDEA what I was missing, and I had been in neither. I think). Dice Throne is a dice-and-card based PVP game that owes more to fighting games like Street Fighter than dice games like Role Player. The object of the game is knock out your opponent(s). To do this, on your turn you will roll your dice up to three times to try and carry out the most devastating attack that your character has at its disposal. Cards from your character’s deck can be used to alter the results of dice, protect you from damage or even upgrade your attacks for the cost of Combat Points, gained over the course of the game. Attacks can be activated be either having the right symbols showing or a run of numbers. Your opponent can then, for the most part, defend against these attacks, which may result in them blocking damage, healing damage or just hitting back. Players can also gain effects which can affect themselves positively or their opponents negatively. Each player starts with 50 HP – when that’s done, it’s KO.
Up to speed? Good. Let’s head to Wakanda first.
Get This Man A Shield
Black Panther, thanks to Chadwick Boseman’s peerless portrayal and tragic loss, has become a very popular character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the films, he was a fighter, a statesman, a scientist and one heck of a role model. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really translate into a dice-chucker like this, but he is definitely a fighter, and one who can definitely give back more than he gets.
He has the usual straight damage attack with his Vibranium Claws and a couple of attacks that deal undefendable damage, but the real strength of this character is in his Passive Ability, Energy Absorption.
Every time Black Panther takes damage, a Kinetic Energy token is added to his board. For every two Kinetic Energy counters on his board, he does one extra damage in attacks. Then, once he reaches eight Kinetic Energy counters, all counters can be taken off the board to gain two Combat Points, draw two cards and do five undefendable damage to one opponent. This is really thematically strong, as well as bonkers strong in the game – that scene where everyone is putting the beat-down on T’Challa, then suddenly he unleashes with a seimic blast that scatters his enemies like nine-pins? That. The Passive ability can also be upgraded to reach critical mass at seven counters. And that is how I lost the game to my younger son the first time.
Black Panther can also gain Vibranium Suit which is, to be honest, woefully disappointing. It only prevents three damage, which is not going to make much difference at all as with Black Panther you are, in essence, sticking out your chin and going ‘come on, pal – the first one’s free’.
Wot No Killer Space Cat?
Another character who might not have been considered A-list in the Marvel Universe for comic dilletantes – and I count myself as one of these with regards to Marvel (2000AD all the way – Splundid Vur Thrigg!) – but who is top tier with regards to power level is Captain Marvel. Imbued with Cosmic Power, she is about hitting very hard indeed whilst occasionally blocking damage as well.
Whereas she doesn’t have a Passive ability, she can build up Cosmic Flares over time (up to three) that do one damage to all opponents for every Cosmic Flare she has charged up at the beginning of her turn. She will, however, lose a Flare at the beginning of every turn, making her similar to Pyromancer from the first season of Dice Throne. There are also Radiance tokens that can be used to change a dice to six in their Defensive Roll Phase, allowing them to dish out and negate one damage per six rolled. Up to two of these can be stored, so you can’t really get enough of them to make much difference.
The most effective Status Effect is Cosmic Ray, a single token that allows you to roll two dice and choose one of the rolled amounts to do that much extra damage to your opponent, though it cannot be spent on the turn it was gained. And that is how I lost the game to my younger son the second time.
They also seem to have missed a trick here with regards to the Marvel Cinematic Universe – no Space Cat. Thor gets his hammer – why can’t Colonel Danvers get a Damage Over Time cat that she throws at her opponents? It could be called DOT. Yep.
Both characters are capable of dealing substantial damage, but it is clear which is the most powerful of the two - the King of Wakanda himself, Black Panther. Though he doesn’t have the combo-tastic link attacks of Miles Morales’ Spiderman or the troll-ability of Loki and Scarlet Witch, his passive ability means that he can dish out just the right amount of damage at just the right time and is more than capable of really ruining your day/play. This is not to say that Captain Marvel doesn’t have her pros, but with the condition on not being able to use the Cosmic Ray as soon as she gets it, she feels a bit ‘nerfed’ by comparison. Please prove me wrong… I am after all, terrible at dice games.
Still love them, though.