Calvin’s Commentaries: Dice Throne

Some games just impress from the time you glimpse the box on a shelf, through to the moment the game is set up on the table to play.

That is the ‘Wow’ factor of Dice Throne from designer Gavan Brown of Roxley Games.

This is a beautifully created game.

The artwork, from the box to the play mats, to the character cards, is all outstanding. As in any art, it might not excite everyone, but it is in my mind clean, vibrant, and aesthetically pleasing.

As the name implies, dice are a huge part of this game, and the dice here are custom-designed, with easy to read faces. The dice are another huge win for the game.

While I am not as fanatical about game boxes as some in our group, kudos are due here for the box insert where there are molded slots for everything, making keeping the different characters, the cards, dice, boards etc., well separated.

But what about gameplay?
Well, this is a ‘battle royal’ with players each having a character with special abilities. The abilities are triggered by rolling the dice which are also unique to the character. At the point of rolling dice, the game becomes very much Yahtzee. As an example, a small straight will trigger some power a character has, a large straight a different power.

Personally, I am not the biggest fan of dice-dominated games, and that is what this one is. In the case of Dice Throne, there are some interesting mechanics at play which help. For example, if you are going to attack in a multi-player game you roll a dice which randomly picks who is attacked. It stops everyone beating up on the weakest player, which is good in terms of giving everyone a better chance.

It is also frustrating as good strategy might well suggest attacking a different foe.

The dice rolls already dictate what you can do, and that becomes even more directed if, for example, you are low in health points, you are pigeon-holed into rolling for health, (if your character has that ability).

Add in the decision of who to attack being a dice roll, and your in-game choices are relatively scant.

But the theme suggests randomness.

As the website, (www. notes; “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.”

If you can focus on the theme of an arena battle the game is light fun.

A dice game that gets a nod from me, which in itself makes Dice Throne different from most of the genre.

Thanks to fellow gamers Jeff Chasse, Trevor Lyons and Adam Daniels for their help in running through this game for review.

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