Dice Throne (Mind Bottling Games) Board Game Review

7
An extremely well put together, elegantly designed game that somehow feels generic.

"Do I just hate games?" I wondered as I played Dice Throne. "I'm pretty sure I don't hate games, but I'm starting to feel like I hate games." 

Dice Throne is an extremely well put together game that supports 1v1, 2v2 and 3v3 combat, with a total of six different characters: barbarian, monk, moon elf, pyromancer, shadow thief, and paladin. Each of these characters comes with their own deck, board, and dice, and everything fits neatly within their own assorted slots. The game feels good. It looks good. And there's a lot going on in it.

Each character has their own board and abilities, and through Yahtzee style rolling, they can charge up and upgrade their powers. It's very King-of-Tokyo in the sense that everyone has their own combat points and hit points, but special characters have different abilities (paladins heal, thieves draw extra cards). 

But there's something about it I just didn't like...

The Elimination Mode Was Weird

Part of it was that I just played it in the wrong mode. 2v2 combat and 3v3 combat sounds fantastic and it isn't supported in a lot of games. We played with three players, which was a modified free for all. Modified meant that we couldn't choose who to target. We rolled for damage and then rolled for the player that we hit.

And that sucked. Because the reason someone would do that is to average out damage, so everyone is able to play for longer. But players do that normally; most gamers are aware that it's more fun (and better strategically) not to target someone specifically from the outset. The modified free-for-all meant once one player was doing very well, there was nothing we could do about it; they would win.

The other problem I had with the game: it's generic. In the game text and cards, there's absolutely no personality. It's a Target special. 

That being said...

The Game Is Remarkably Well Put Together

If you like King of Tokyo, you'll like this. You can tell that a lot of care and attention went into the building of this game, absolutely. Mind Bottling Games put effort into every aspect of the game, from the drawing board to the cards. But that's part of what didn't resonate well with me.

With the card pool as it is (most characters will see ten or twelve cards during play, it's a fast game), and the dice drafting, everything in the game seemed extremely random. There was very little room for strategy because everything was extremely random. And that made a lot of the game feel like an effort in futility: roll the dice, see if you die.

There also was, in our opinion, one two many stages. You do deck management, roll your dice, and then are allowed to do deck management again.

What I did like, however, was the defensive stage. Every time you attack, there's a defensive roll on your attack. That keeps other people engaged during your turn and also means that you're never truly safe.

Anyone who likes elimination games and fast, casual games will probably like Dice Throne. It definitely seems like an evolution of King of Tokyo. That I didn't particularly jive with it seems more an indictment of me as a person than the game itself. Now, what I can't stop thinking about is a game like this, but set in the world of The Last Avatar....