The Popularity of Dice Masters

“The latest Dice Masters set includes cards from the popular Green Arrow and Flash series.”
“The latest Dice Masters set includes cards from the popular Green Arrow and Flash series.”

At The Game Table Café we believe in combining great food (sandwiches, baked goods and Coffee) with great board games.  One of the games that gets a great deal of play in the Café is Dice Masters.  We always have a great turnout for our tournaments and see plenty of boosters being opened. But what is it about Dice Masters that makes it such a popular game? What about the game attracts players? While I do not regularly play myself, there is a genuine interest in the game and our players from Central Pennsylvania truly enjoy playing it.

“Here are some of the Dice Masters starter sets we have at The Game Table Café”
“Here are some of the Dice Masters starter sets we have at The Game Table Café”

So what is Dice Masters? Dice Masters is a collectible, dice-drafting game for two players. It combines characters from many different franchises from DC and Marvel Comics to Dungeons and Dragons to Yu-Gi-Oh.  You collect cards and matching dice and assemble a team of characters to battle other players.  You play by rolling your dice and then either using them to draft character-specific dice to add to your pool or deploying them to attack your opponent. The player who depletes their opponent’s 20 life points wins.

“Raelle’s Favorite”
“Raelle’s Favorite”

When I first started working at The Game Table Café, I briefly ventured into Dice Masters, buying the booster packs in the hopes of owning the Nightwing card. Nightwing is my favorite superhero and with boosters being only a dollar, why not try for him? This desire to own my favorite character’s card is something that I have in common with a lot of Dice Masters players. I have watched as customers bought dozens of packs and then sat down and opened them, excited to see what they would get and eager to trade with friends. With the rise of Magic the Gathering in the 90’s, many have tried to emulate the success of the collectible card game and few have succeeded. Dice Masters is one of those few. There is a great deal of fun simply buying boosters and collecting your favorite characters. With so many different characters to choose from, there are hundreds of different combinations you can try when creating your Dice Master team.

“Just Imagine Avengers fighting it out with X-Men”
“Just Imagine Avengers fighting it out with X-Men”

For me, one of the most enjoyable aspects of Dice Masters is that you can finally answer this age-old question: “Who would win in a fight?” For whatever reason, superhero fans love pitting their favorite characters against each other. While Captain America and Superman can’t exactly fight to the death in comics, in Dice Masters, you can make that happen. What if Harley Quinn and Iron Man teamed up to take on Wonder Woman and Doctor Octopus? What would happen if we pitted all of the Bat family characters against all of Earth’s Green Lanterns? What if all of the superheroes suddenly had monsters from Yu-Gi-Oh cards at their disposal? These questions may never be answered in comics, but you can play out these and many other exciting scenarios in Dice Masters.

But enough from me. I asked our resident Dice Masters expert and some of our regular players what they enjoy about the game. Of course, one of the popular answers was collecting characters and Dice Masters is fairly inexpensive compared to other popular CCGs. Dice Masters players enjoy using these characters to experiment with different teams and then see how their teams stack up against the teams of other players. The strategy element of the game was cited as another important aspect of the game. There is a bit of luck involved in the game between the blind drawing of dice from your bag and then rolling said dice, but the strategy comes in when deciding what to do with those dice. Do you want to spend energy to buy more dice or send dice out to the field? Do you want to risk re-rolling dice? Do you want to attack even if you know you’ll get blocked? There are many choices to make during play so that players can turn even a bad roll into good, strategic gameplay.

“Add to your team using boosters like these in the booster box display at The Game Table Café”
“Add to your team using boosters like these in the booster box display at The Game Table Café”

Well, there you have it! If you enjoy strategic, nerdy, collectible, battling games for two people then Dice Masters would be great for you. Over the past few months, I’ve seen many different types of people playing this game—men and women, adults and children. Families come in and play together. Only two weeks ago a father and his daughter came in wanting to learn to play. While Dice Masters may be a strategic or even competitive game, it can be learned by anyone and anyone can have fun playing it. We have a starter set in our library so if you fancy a game of Dice Masters come to The Game Table Café and we would be more than happy to teach it to you!

Halloween Games

Betrayal at HouseI love Halloween. I mean, what’s not to love? The weather is perfect, the decorations are incredible, and there’s candy everywhere. Halloween is a great day to show off your creative side. You can put together any costume you want and be someone else for the day. And, of course, Halloween is a day for all things spooky. Most of us have our favorite movies that we pull out and watch every year—personally, I am a fan of Hocus Pocus and Scooby Doo

on Zombie Island—but not everyone has a go-to spooky game to play. With the scariest day of the year right around the corner, now scooby-doo-zombie-islandis a great time to talk about some of the newest horror games available for you to play on Halloween.

Scooby Doo on Zombie Islan
Scooby Doo

We’ll start off with one of my all-time favorite games that now has an expansion sure to make it even bigger and better: Betrayal at House on the Hill. I was introduced to this game at college by my sophomore year floor-mates. We would get together often for the sole purpose of playing this game, even when we no longer lived together. It is one of my favorites because, despite how many times I’ve played it, each time is completely different.

In case you do not know how this game works, you play as one of several characters who venture into a haunted house and begin exploring it. You will encounter many creepy things as you make your way through the house until, eventually, one of you will turn traitor. At this point, the whole game changes. Instead of exploring the house you are now collaborating to survive “the haunt.” Or, perhaps you are the traitor and are trying to kill the other explorers. You won’t know what is going to happen because there are 52 different possibilities and the chances of playing the same scenario twice in a row are slim. In one game, you may be running away from a horde of zombies while in another, an alien is trying to take you and the house back to his home dimension. You never know what sort of horrors await you in the house on the hill and Avalon Hill has now added an expansion with even more haunting scenarios to play.

bahothh-widows-walkBetrayal at House on the Hill: Widow’s Walk comes with two haunt books containing 50 new haunts full of new monsters and creatures. Players can now access the roof, a previously unexplored level of the house with 20 new room tiles. Finally, there are 30 new omens, events, and items and 76 new tokens. The game is officially available as of October 14 and I, for one, am excited to check it out.

Dead of Winter is a game that I have wanted to play for a while. It has been on our shelf since we opened, but I have yet to get the chance to play it. Dead of Winter is a story-centric game taking place in the post-apocalyptic world where zombies have plagued the earth. Players work together to find a way to survive, fighting off zombies and finding food and supplies. It is possible to play with a traitor who is trying to sabotage the rest of the colony which adds another level of chaos to the game.

Plaid Hat Games recently published a stand-alone expansion for Dead of dead-of-winter-long-nightWinter called Dead of Winter: The Long Night. As a dead-of-winter-long-nightstand-alone expansion, The Long Night can either be played by itself or it can be added to the original game to enhance gameplay. The Long Night features a new colony location as well as new characters, new zombies, new items, and new objective cards. If you’re a fan of the zombie apocalypse genre then this is a game worth checking out.

The final game on this list is Mansions of Madness Second Edition. Mansions of Madness is a co-op game inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. In it, players explore the mysterious world of Arkham and encounter plenty of monsters and strange scenarios along the way. There are plenty of characters to play as, each with their own stats. Mansions of Madness is another game that I haven’t played. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of it until the second edition arrived at the Café. However, now that I have learned more about it, I am intrigued and would love to break this game out sometime.

mansions-of-madnessSo, what’s new in the second edition? Essentially, Fantasy Flight Games have incorporated the use of technology into the game and created an app to run the game for you, removing the role of the Keeper from the previous version, making the game fully cooperative and allowing for easier setup. The app generates each scenario and all of the tiles and events. The second edition can also be combined with any monster figures and map tiles you have from the first game using the conversion kit included with the game. The app is available for iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows and can even be used on Steam.

If you’re looking for a game to play on Halloween, all of the above are perfect options. Widow’s Walk, The Long Night, and Mansions of Madness Second Edition are all available for purchase at The Game Table Café while Betrayal and Dead of Winter are available in our library to play so drop in and check them out or come join us on the 29th for our Halloween Costume Party!