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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Monday 29 January 2018

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Dice Throne

Game: Dice Throne

Publisher: Mind Bottling Games

Designer: Nate Chatellier, Manny Trembley

Year: 2018

Dice Throne pits different hero classes against each other in  tournament of champions. Heroes travel from far and wide to try and win the respect of the King and, of course his throne. Perhaps you'll battle hero vs. hero or team up in different battles to make the most of your different powers and abilities.

Playing as distinct heroes, such as the Barbarian, the Pyromancer or the monk you'll each have your own abilities, activated by your custom dice and modified by your custom deck. The very asymmetrical powers have the potential to create an exciting dice rolling game for 2-6 players that can be played in different team or free-for-all combinations.


The first thing to do in a game of Dice Throne is select your hero, each hero comes with a board with their abilities, a character sheet explaining their special rules, tokens for status effects, 5 uniquely printed dice, a deck of cards, a health tracker and a cp tracker. Each hero has a unique playstyle, and the manual is kind enough to point out which are easier to play, the barbarian fights with much less sophistication than the paladin afterall.

The game proceeds with each player getting a turn to fight before moving on to the next player.  Each turn you gain a cp and draw a card from your deck, cp is (mostly) used to play these cards, which are largely a combination of upgrades to your combat skills and dice modifiers that help you or hinder your opponents. Next you will get a chance to roll your 5 dice to attempt an attack, you may re-roll as many dice as you want, and then re-roll a second time, but then you have to stick with what you rolled. Each character has multiple attacks depending on the symbols you rolled or if you rolled a straight (die have a number from 1-6 as well as a face symbol). Once you have decided the attack you are performing you have to randomize a target, assuming you have more than one, at which point your target will have the opportunity to roll some dice to perform a defense.

All the classes have their own unique flair, some are great at absorbing damage, while others are less consistent, but sometimes able to completely dodge all incoming damage, others have little care for defense and respond to being hit by attacking their attacker back! Eventually players will run out of health and be knocked out of the game, the last hero still standing is the winner.

This pyromancer has managed to upgrade on of their attacks and their defensive ability. spending cp to do this seems like a sound investment, but sometimes the dice don't want to let you roll your new upgrades!

Amy’s Final Thoughts

Dice Throne does a great job of presenting you with 6 unique play-styles that all seem relatively balanced. The pyromancer is great at doing huge amounts of damage, but they have almost no defense, the paladin can endure withering attacks, but lacks a reliable attack himself and can easily waste a turn to bad luck. Luck is always a factor in dice games, but with 2 rerolls available to you, in addition to a lot of cards giving you dice modifiers, being unable to do anything on your turn is a rare occurrence. Not being able to do what you wanted to do is very common however. In a 2 player game should you fail to attack on one of your turns then you are almost sure to lose, this is probably a statement to the great balance in the game, but is extremely frustrating when it happens.

I was very pleasantly surprised with Dice Throne, while the game isn't overly deep, it does provide a great, light dice throwing game for 2 players. Set up is very quick as each class has it's own plastic insert that can be removed from the box to instantly have everything you need. The game itself is fast and fluid, with enough combat cards allowing you to manipulate your opponent that you have to pay attention even when it's not your turn.

The rules can be a little confusing in places, particularly when it comes to each classes' unique abilities. I'm sure a lot of these could have been simplified, or simply better explained, to help you when you are playing with/against a class for the first time. They have done a good job of making each class perform as your would expect it to if you have encountered them in any other form of game, which does help mitigate this problem. At the end of a day Dice Throne is a good, but not fantastic dice chucker, if you really enjoy dice games then it is well worth buying, if dice games aren't normally your thing, then it's still worth giving it a try if you get the opportunity.

The insert for each character is a very welcome addition, though in my experience the status tokens did tend to move around the box over time.

Fi’s Final Thoughts

I'm not the kind of gamer who likes chucking dice. Dice luck has been the failing of many games we've reviewed recently. However, when it's done well I have been known to enjoy games with dice - my favourite game is XCOM and I also went through a phase of loving Dice Masters. We played through the characters in Dice Throne sequentially, starting with the most simple and I was initially very underwhelmed. However, now we've played with all of the characters, I'm really impressed by the balance of the characters and the complexity of some of the decisions you can make.
Custom dice are often cool to look at, but arrange them into a small chair and they look pretty good too!
In Dice Throne, you're definitely trying to make the most of your luck in your combat rolls, but you are also making decisions about how offensive or defensively you want to play. You often have to decide between a large attack or the option to build up some special abilities for next turn. If your opponent has a great defense then maybe you want to concentrate on an un-defendable attack. If your best attacks rely on high combat points then maybe you sacrifice the idea of playing some modifier card for a few rounds so that you can make one killer blow.

As a two player game I've really enjoyed Dice Throne. I can also see that it might be interesting as the 2v2 or the other team options in the rulebook. Some of your cards can be played to benefit another player and I'd be interested to see what other synergies you might be able to find. The free-for-all game introduces the allocation of a random target for your damage which I do not like the idea of, as surely in multi-player games the group tends to target the strongest player? That said, as a two player game I definitely recommend giving Dice Throne a try - it's one of the best short dice games I've played in a long while.

The Good
  • The different character complexities work well for players of different experience. For us, the most complex ones made the game interesting.
  • Dice Throne is a dice combat game with some good opportunity for tactical play and luck mitigation.

The Bad
  • You're rolling dice so it's still possible to have an awful roll and one bad turn might lose you the game.
  • We've only played with two players, but the multiplayer rules have some random assigning of damage that seems very unfair and chaotic.
The Verdict
6.5/10 Dice Throne is a really good example of a competitive dice rolling game. The characters feel really unique, giving many different two-player combinations. Dice rolling might not be our favourite mechanism in a game, but Dice Throne is a game we would happily play some more.

Dice Throne was a review copy provided to the Board Game Exposure reviewer collective.

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