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Review: Marvel Heroes Battle Dice April 10, 2006

Posted by webofwebhead in CMG, Reviews.
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Battle Dice is the newest "dice game" on the market, descended from Dragon Dice way back in the day.  It turns the idea of dice games on its head, and has a strong license…is this a potent mix for a good game?  Read on to find out…

The Battle Dice game has two elements, the miniatures, and the dice.  The dice deserve special mention, because they are the most unique element of the game by far.  Though the dice look like oversized six siders, they actually double as figure holders during the game.  The dice are hollow, with a spring loaded top.  Squeeze the sides, the top pops open, and you place a figure inside.  Why?  Read on.

Not only do the dice hold the figures during play, they also have game text on the inside of the lid.  This allows you to both customize your force and your dice selection.  Back to the figures for a moment.  The minis are slightly smaller in scale than HeroClix figs, but maitain a decent amount of detail for their size.  Their scale is inconsistent by design, since each figure must fit in a die, Sentinels are as big as Wolverine.  Still each fig captures the essence of the character well.  Each hex base shows the figures name and team on the top, and contains all of the figures stats on the bottom.  Figure stats are similar to the old Overpower game, but expanded to six categories, Intelligence, Strength, Speed, Durability, Energy Projection, and Fighting Skills.  (Speed and Durability were not a part of Overpower.)  Stats can range from 0 to 6, with a figure like the Hulk scoring 6's in Strength and Durability, and 0 in Energy Projection.

Most figures also have Super Powers, sort of like HeroClix figures.  However, each power a figure has is tied to a Stat by sharing a color, so someone like Doctor Doom might have Ranged attack powers tied to their Intellect and Speed stats.  Powers do everything from add numbers to attacks to allow you to view an opponents hidden figures.  Finally, each base shows a single digit cost for the figure, which goes towards your team total.  Again, nothing new to most any CMG.

The game is of course about Battles…hence the name, and the basics of the battle are this.  Choose your figures and dice, hide your figures from your opponent in the dice, each choose one die to roll each turn.  Low roll chooses the stat for the battle.  Open the dice, add the roll to the chosen stat for each figure, check for any powers and apply those as needed, high number wins, low number gets captured.  Once you are out of figs, you lose ('natch).  If a die is left empty because the figure inside was captured, you can instead you the game text of the die to add to your next battle.  That's the jist.  Even the highest point figs will have at least one low stat, so there is always the outside chance to win a mismatch.

Needless to say, as cmgs go, this one is on the simple side, which is fine.  It's targetted correctly to grade school kids, and Playmates is putting on the full court press by handing out a quarter of a million Spider-Man figs to grade schoolers.  The first set has really encompassed many of the big name figs, with more to come.  Also, just like Overpower, HeroClix and VS. before it, DC is set to follow Marvels footsteps with a DC release due later this year.

One more thing worth pointing out, the game has very nice looking accesories.  The packaging is slick, rulebooks look nice, the dice case that comes with the starter is very nice.  Each line will have "dice thrower" figures, in Marvels case massive Hulk and Thing statues that have spring loaded arms.  DC will have Shazam! and Green Lantern statues for the same purpose.  Deluxe carrying cases are also planned.  Finally, the chase figures in the set are "clear" plastic versions of existing figs, so though they look cool, they aren't any more powerful than their counterparts in the normal sets.

Verdict:

Battle Dice is a fun, simple game that faces close competition with HeroClix.  If you are a comics fan that has avoided HeroClix because it seemed over complicated, but are interested in minis gaming, Battle Dice is probably for you, give it a shot.  The price point on the boosters and starters is inline with other minis games, and one Starter is enough for two players to play good guys versus bad guys.

Best Trait: Super cool mondo accessories, like the Green Lantern dice thrower…that both are collectible in their own right, and add to the game.

Worst Trait: The constraint on the scale of the figures makes for some odd looking teams.

Game Title: Marvel Heroes Battle Dice

Release Date: Out Now

Publisher: Playmates

Product Reviewed: 1 Starter, 2 Boosters, spoilers on website

On the web: http://www.marvelbattledice.com

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Comments»

1. Forbeck.com » Battle Dice News - April 20, 2006

[…] In the meantime, Web of Webhead has a kind review of the original game. […]

2. Web of Webhead » Live from Protospiel - July 16, 2006

[…] What’s Protospiel you may ask?  It’s a small con for game designers…attendees bring their prototype games for playtesting and peer review.  Though I didn’t have a game for review, I attended today to catch the Guest of Honor speaker, Matt Forbeck.  Mr. Forbeck is a professional game designer and author who until today I’ve only known through email.  His most recent game credit is Marvel Heroes Battle Dice, a game reviewed here a little while back. […]


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