Dice Throne Season One was a successful Kickstarter in early 2017, finding its retail release in January of 2018. As of this writing, Dice Throne Season Two is currently live on Kickstarter, offering a cadre of new heroes for the players to take control of. Season One offers six heroes, each with varying play styles that provide players a chance to use their powers to destroy their enemies and claim the Dice Throne as their own! Dice Throne Season One can be purchased through the publisher’s website for $45.
In Dice Throne, players begin by choosing one of six heroes with varying complexity and play styles. While play varies somewhat depending on whether players fight in a free-for-all or in teams, the primary aim is to be the last one standing, with your opponents losing all of their hit points before you do. On their turns, players roll hero-specific dice to use their powers, which are dictated by their dice results and player boards. Players may spend “Combat Points” (or CPs) to play cards which can be used to adjust dice rolls (either to improve your own, or mess with your buddy!) and to upgrade their player board abilities into more powerful versions.
The base mechanics of the game are not particularly complicated and can be explained quickly and easily to new players. Each hero has access to status effects that can buff themselves and hamstring their enemies, which provide some small changes to the base mechanics in an interesting and meaningful way. Games tend to last about 20 minutes, so even if you’re eliminated, it’s not long until you’re back in the next game.
For a game that doesn’t take too much space on your shelf, Dice Throne Season One has a large number of components that are well thought out and beautifully produced. In addition to the rule book, each hero has five custom dice, a hero board, a player aid card explaining status effects, a hit point dial, a combat point dial, a deck of 32 hero cards, a turn order aid, and a number of hero-specific status effect token (the total of which is 72 tokens for the entire game). Most impressive is the attention to detail in the artwork for the game. Each component (the boards, each dial, and the card backs) all contain unique art of the hero, in gorgeous color and a dynamic style. In addition, all the components are housed in individually removable plastic inserts that are neat and help reduce the game’s footprint on your table.
The dice themselves are also quality and beautiful, as you might expect from a game that is focused on dice rolling. The dice are clearly printed and easy to read, and the material is a beautiful marbled color that matches the hero.
Dice Throne Season One has been one of the best surprises I’ve gotten from Kickstarter in the past year. For a game with relatively simple components and mechanics, it offers a huge amount of replayability and fun. Dice games can often be fairly hit or miss with me, but the “bend your luck” elements of the game (the ability to impact dice with cards) mitigates the challenges of many other dice games where you might feel like your fate is outside of your control. I’ve played the game many times since receiving it, and I can say fairly confidently that the only time a player cannot do anything on their turn, it’s because they pressed their luck further than they should and didn’t manage their resources well enough to mitigate the rolls. I’ve found that even players who typically do not like dice-based games enjoy Dice Throne.
Another aspect of the game that I’ve been impressed with is the overall balance of the six heroes. While some are straightforward (such as the Barbarian and Moon Elf), and some considerably more complex (the Shadow Thief takes planning, but feels great when your plan comes together!) all heroes have felt like they have equal chance at winning each game. There are some combinations that get a little powerful, such as the Pyromancer in a team game, but it’s far from impossible to mitigate some of that power. Finally, the ability to play in so many different ways, including up to six players in a free for all or teams of two or three, gives this game an amount of replayability that all but guarantees you’ll get your money’s worth of plays out of it.
Mike is creative arts therapist and tabletop enthusiast from the Seattle area. While he loves all forms of tabletop games, his particular interests are in roleplaying games, story based games, as well as discussing diversity and visibility in the gaming community.