Alright friends and fans, things are about to get super stoked in here, because I'm about to tell you about my current favorite board game, Dice Masters. Trust me, you'll want to play this one for sure. It's a game full of heroes, villains, fantasy characters, combat, magic, and, most importantly, tons of dice rolling!! (If you couldn't tell, I really like to roll dice.) Let's get to it. Here are 5 reasons why I love Dice Masters, and you should too.
1. Two-Player Game Worth Playing
Remember back to when we talked about the lack of 2-player games in the world? Well, this game gives me hope for the future! (And that's about all I can hang on to with what's going on in our political world today.) But anyways...for a two-player game with, in reality, not a lot going on, it winds up being a different experience every single time. Don't pipe up yet, we'll get into that. But this new take on two-player only games is definitely something I can get behind.
2. Deck Building Made Simpler, but Even More Fun
In the game, players can build a team with cards and dice. Unlike a typical deck-builder in which players will buy cards throughout the game with the in-game currency to put into their hand, players start with 1-8 cards (characters) and will spend "energy" to buy their dice which they can eventually use to fortify their army, fight their opponent, and come out the victor! It's great to pre-pick your team and know exactly what you'll have at your disposal throughout the game.
Alright, don't let your head spin, I know it sounds a little confusing. Allow my fabulous pictures below to demonstrate a bit.
3. Crossover Galore!
Dice Masters has a bunch of different sets, and more to come, ranging from Marvel and DC heroes and villains, Dungeons and Dragons characters, Yu-Gi-Oh characters, and even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. While some people will play all within one set, others, like myself, enjoy making teams that could never occur even in the most ideal stories.
Let's start with the contradiction that is this game: Mysterium is a cooperative, one-VS-many board game. If you don't know what that means I'll try to put it simply - In most one-VS-many games, one player plays against the rest who play on a team (they very often use the "heroes VS the dungeon lord bad guy" kind of story). And in cooperative games...you work together, hopefully you knew that one. So in this game, the one player isn't trying to defeat the many, but is helping them succeed.
Players only have a certain amount of time to make guesses, and only a certain amount of turns to get all of their clues or else they lose automatically. Plus, they only have pictures, which they can not show to other players, to figure out the mystery. These elements make it not only more interesting than Clue (because rolling and moving gets pretty annoying) but also make deduction more difficult so players really have to work together in order to succeed.
No, we aren't actually going to the town in France (boom just gave you the definition of the game, and a quick geography lesson), we're just learning how to play the game. This is one of the simplest games I have ever played, so it baffles me that it comes with 7 pages of instructions - that's excessive if you ask me. But, if you really want me to hold your hand, I can walk you through the game one step at a time.
Step 3: Take all of the tiles out of the box and place them face down. You can slide them around the table to shuffle them up if you really want to, but it's pretty unlikely that anyone would have memorized each and every tile and where it was in the pile. So spare yourself the silly steps.
Step 4: Pick your turn order and proceed as such (see bullets below) for every turn. Literally every. single. turn. They are all exactly the same until you run out of tiles. It's not that exciting, I promise.
Let's not beat around the bush - sometimes you just want to sit at home with your -
And that's cool, right? (Maybe we should steer clear of hanging out with parents, but you get the idea.) But watching a movie or TV show every weekend gets old quick...especially when you've already binged anything worth watching on Netflix.
So you pull out a board game! Oh...well, sorry, but that copy of Guess Who that you had to blow a layer of dust off of just isn't going to cut it. And don't even try to pull out checkers or chess in front of experienced gamers...those are peasant games. In my own experience, I've come to realize that there aren't a heck of a lot of strictly two-player games out there for us frequent board gamers, and what is out there isn't always the most diverse. It doesn't seem very fair if you ask me
There's a good chunk of two-player games that are war themed, because wars frequently have only two sides (obviously...like how did you not immediately think that?), and lean heavily toward strategy. But just like in life, people get sick of thinking about war, so let's put Stratego back on the shelf.
Other themed games are nice, like the English-major friendly game Wordspot (and check out that nifty box), but most of those are so basic that you get sick of those fast too. I mean, let's be honest, you can only do so much with what is, basically, nothing more than a fancy word search at it's core.
I want more variety in my two-player options. I want deck-builders (this is exactly what it sounds like), cooperative mystery games, and dice games. I want to have as much fun as people who have a bunch of friends...but none of the cheesiness of "party games" (games meant for large groups, typically trivia).
I know what you're all saying. No, really, I can hear your thoughts through the screen. There's plenty of games made for 2-4 or more players! No. Stop it. You don't know what you're talking about. That's rude! No. That's honest.
Games that say 2-to-X players more often than not mean "Hey, go find some friends because you're going to need them in order to enjoy this game at all." Games that support more players usually have a set of "special rules" for two players which will typically include taking out (the fun) elements in the game, making things easier, or muddling up the actual goal of the game so that nothing makes sense - there's no balance when there's less players, so I hate only having two players for games that call for more.
I think a lot of people who like board games would agree that we need more two-player options; we shouldn't be punished for not having friends! ... I mean, wanting to spend quality time with that special someone! So give us more strictly 2-player games, it'll do the world a favor.
Look at that, I made a rhyme!
Red Dragon Inn is a game where adventurers (the playable characters in the game) stop at ...go on guess... yupp, an Inn, have a few drinks together, and maybe gamble a bit. You want to keep up your strength, and keep down your drunkenness, all while weakening others and making them drink, a lot.
This is not only one of my favorite games, but also a game I tend to dominant at. No really, I've only lost this game twice, and I've played over forty times. Some would probably argue that it's dumb luck and there's no real strategy to winning this simple game, but I care to disagree. So here are a few tips I tend to follow which may help you win a few rounds of Red Dragon Inn too.
1. Pick a Character you Like and Understand - I have to admit, I'm often guilty of picking my character based on who looks the coolest, but I learned in this game, that's not the best choice. All of the playable characters have their own individual deck of cards, which means they all have abilities and powers specific to them. Some are better at cheating during gambling, some are so strong they make their opponents lose fortitude (what your strength is called in the game), and others have magic that allows them to avoid drinking.
So sure, choose someone you like to look at, (you'll have to stare at their mug the whole game between your cards and your player mat) but also try out different characters until you find one or two whose powers you like and can use expertly (like by combining cards and chaining their effects to wreck your opponent).