Designers: James Ernest, Mark C. MacKinnon
Publisher: Dyskami Publishing Company
Play Time: 5-60 Min
Rules Available Online: Yes
BGG: Sailor Moon Crystal: Dice Challenge
“The Pretty Guardians and their allies need your help to defeat the Dark Kingdom and the Black Moon! Square off in one-on-one dice battles or team up for larger action!”
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge is not only a retheme of the Cheapass Games classic Button Men, but it also has the honor of being the game with the longest name in my collection. Dyskami Publishing Company taken Button Men put a glossy coat of chrome over it in the form of the popular magic girl anime, and created something that both fans of Sailor Moon and Button Men can enjoy. The two games are even fully compatible!
If you’ve ever played Button Men, then Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge will be no problem to learn. They’re exactly the same! Well…almost. Even though the games are fully compatible, there are a few differences in how the characters play.
For the purposes of this review, I’m going to cover the standard rules for a 2-player game. There are variant rules for more players in the game’s rulebook.
At the start of the game each player chooses a character or selects one at random. They then take the dice, or tokens in the case of a 1 or 2, from the top of their card (noted in red), roll them, and place them above their card in their Active Pool. Each player also takes the dice listed on the middle of their card (noted in yellow) and places them below the card as their Reserve. If a character has a special power that requires the use of a certain token that is also taken.
The player with the lowest roll on a single die goes first. In the case of a tie compare two other dice. The goal of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge is to capture your opponent’s dice by rolling equal or higher than the opponent’s dice. This can be done in two ways:
- Power Attack: A player uses one of their active dice to capture an opponent’s die of equal or lesser value. They then reroll that die.
- Skill Attack: A player uses multiple dice that add up to the exact amount of an opponent’s die to capture it. All dice used in the attack are rerolled.
Special powers can also be used when applicable to bring in Reserve dice, steal dice, change die faces, and more. If a player can’t make an attack they must pass. The round ends with both players pass or one player has no more dice. The winner of the round gets a Victory Token, and the first player to 3 Victory Tokens wins the game.
One last note. If a player loses a round they may then bring in one of their Reserve dice into their Active Pool, thus giving them more dice to roll during the next round.
- Badge Holders
( = Good, = Bad, = Exceptional)
I have to admit that I had never played Button Men before playing Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge, so it was my first foray into the world of the Cheapass classic. While the game is extremely light, I was not disappointed. It’s quick, easy to learn, kinda portable (more on that in a bit), and contains enough variety in its characters to keep it interesting and dynamic. The characters’ special powers also add a nice twist to the gameplay to mitigate some of the luck. It’s a game of taking chances. Every time you use a higher number to steal an opponent’s die you’re forcing yourself to reroll that die, possibly rolling a lower number and making it easier for your opponent to retaliate and capture it. The use of Reserve dice lets a player who has fallen behind have a chance to catch up, and some characters even rely more on the ability to bring in their Reserves instead of their starting Action Pool.
My main gripe with the game is the size of its box. It’s way too big for what you get inside and I would have much-preferred something smaller and more durable to take the game with me when I travel. It’s easily fixed with a homebrew solution, but I feel Dyskami Publishing should have taken this into consideration. Also, the inclusion of the lanyards and badge holders, along with the special cards to show your ready for a game while at a convention, are a nice touch but completely unnecessary as I doubt most people will ever get much use out of them.
All in all my kids and I have had a blast with this game so far, and it’s great that each game really takes no more than 10 minutes to play. I don’t think the box has yet to make it back on our shelf as the kids always seem to be playing it while home on Summer vacation. It’s by no means a brain burner or the most stragegic, but it certainly has its place among our filler games. I’m actually looking forward to getting some Button Men products to mix into the game for even more diversity.
A copy of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge was provided free for review by Dyskami Publishing Company
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.