We’ve covered Dice Throne (focusing on Season One) in the past, describing the game as “what you get when you mix Magic: The Gathering and Yahtzee“. And while it’s true, that description fails to capture what really makes the game special. It’s a thematic, asymmetrical, furious, efficient, and combat-driven game in a sleek package that packs a wallop. It’s unsurprising then, in hindsight, that when Dice Thrones publisher Roxley Games sought to bring Season 2 to the market, that over 7700 people contributed nearly a $1M CAD (or roughly $700K USD) to add playable characters to the core rule set. The game itself is pretty easy to pick up and learn, and you can see for yourself with this 7-minute episode of How to Play:
The premise reads like an arcade fighting game: “For a thousand years, the Mad King has sat atop his high throne seeking a worthy challenger. Each year, the undefeated King hosts a tournament of champions offering heroes from all corners of the globe the opportunity to finally dethrone him.” Season Two’s playable heroes are a Gunslinger, Samurai, Huntress, Cursed Pirate, Tactician, Artificer, Seraph and Vampire Lord. They’re all pretty rad.
Each unique character wields a unique set of dice, cards, and mechanics. Despite the fact that each character has their own playstyle, approach, and complexity level, there is minimal mental overhead – a testament to the smart component and game aid design, with readily accessible information that keeps mental overhead low and fun factor high. It is the asymmetry of the game that gives the game depth: each hero feels like a different experience when playing with or against.
Additionally, each character has its own tray (which can handily double as a dice tray) with its unique components, so you can pick your hero and get rolling in less than a minute. Most gamers will appreciate the high component quality and thoughtful packaging, especially when it comes time to set up and put the game away.
The gameplay is pretty straightforward. Players have control points that allow them to play cards at various points in a turn. At the heart of the game, players roll dice (with a set number of rerolls) with the outcome allowing them to take an action as outlined on their board: attack to opponents, resource generation, healing or a combination thereof. The heart of the game is a mechanically streamlined turn sequence that players simply follow and play out. It would be a mistake, however, to assume the game’s accessibility means this game is strategically shallow. It is, in fact, the opposite: it’s tactically rich as a play experience.
There are persistent effects, push-your-luck mechanics, dice drafting, hand management, resource management, and the constant companion that is opportunity cost: every choice a player is presented with is a great one, but because there’s a plethora of choice, the challenge is making the right choice at the right time. This is a high-confrontation, head-to-head game where you can also be your own worst enemy. While 1v1 is likely the most common way to play, the other game modes change the dynamic of the game by adding more players, more options and more strategies. You get a sense of that depth with this episode of Game the Game:
There’s a lot to enjoy within this game, and it’s accessible to everyone, from the most casual gamer to the hardcore enthusiast. The Battle Chest of Dice Thrones Season 2 contains all the playable heroes of the season (priced at $89), but if you’re not sure about diving deep into the game, or would just prefer a travel-friendly package (the Battle Chest is admittedly hefty), Season 2 also offers head-to-head pairings of the heroes in smaller battle boxes for $25 each. Each battle box (there’s 4 in total) carries a unique hero and you can collect all 8 playable heroes in this format as well.
The Dice Throne core ruleset is a well-designed one, which grows in depth as more characters are added. It’s no wonder there are already people clamouring for a season 3 of the game. Until then, we’ll continue to thoroughly enjoy Seasons One and Two.
Thanks to Roxley Games for partnering with us on this article. Claim your copy of Dice Throne Season Two here!