Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Thursday 21 January 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Marvel Dice Masters – Age of Ultron Starter Set

Game Title: Marvel Dice Masters – Age of Ultron Starter Set

Designer: Mike Elliot & Eric Lang 

Manufacturer: WizKids Games

Year: 2015

We’re a bit late to the game on the Dice Masters band wagon – Age of Ultron is our first experience with the game. We really enjoy deck-building games and Amy is a fan of the Marvel Universe – especially the Avengers and X-Men. Unfortunately the Avengers vs. X-Men starter set appears to no longer be available.

Dice Masters is in some ways like a collectable card game in that you preselect your characters before the game begins, but in some ways has elements of a deck-building card game in that you have to decide which dice to purchase and add to your bag. You may select up to 8 character cards for each game and each card can be assigned with up to 4 dice and you can have 14 character dice in total. Each character also comes in a number of different varieties – no matter which card you choose, you get the same dice but the cards have different special abilities.

You start the game with 8 basic dice in your bag and their sides represent Sidekicks, who are essentially weak character dice with no special abilities, and different types of energy which can be spent to purchase the character dice you have chosen or common action dice from the centre. The dice you spend and buy go into a discard pile and any characters you roll can be fielded (better characters have a fielding cost so you must spend varying amounts of energy to field them). You then choose which fielded characters will attack this turn. Your opponent can choose to block your attack with character dice they have available and depending on their relative attack and defence values dice may be knocked out in this manner, or your opponent might let the attack through which will start to whittle away their 20 health points. The loser is the first person to lose all their health.

The most characters each player can choose from the starter set is 4 with 2 dice per character, but in the full game, once you've bought additional boosters, you can have up to 8 characters. You can choose to buy any of your character dice or central action dice if you roll enough energy on your turn (cost in the top left). Plus for characters you must roll at least one dice which matches the energy type depicted in the top left.
The game is not without its flaws – there are some dice which seem overpowered vs. other cards of the same cost, we have found that a player fielding Hulk on his Level 3 side can often break the flow of the game and we also sometimes find that the game goes too quickly without us having the opportunity to purchase many dice at all. In spite of all of this, I really enjoy this game. For some reason I don’t mind that someone has taken deck-building, which I normally thrive on the predictability of, and added dice luck. I love that as we play more and more I’m still learning more about effective combos I can trigger, which is often pretty challenging to achieve. 

The different actions that are available to choose from in the starter set. The dice either give you the special action or 2 energy to spend.
This is really Amy’s game – it’s her choice how much we end up spending on expanding our collection, but so far we’re buying booster packs at regular intervals (at £1 it’s hard not to buy them) and Amy has the Collector’s box which is starting to look cool as we buy more dice. We’re getting a lot of play out of this game and I can’t see us stopping enjoying it any time soon. Marvel Dice Masters gets an 8.5/10 from the Yellow Meeple.

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