Turn Order: No Resting Upon This Throne


As a big fan of the Marvel universe, I was of course drawn to this portion of the Dice Throne catalog.  Normally when I see a “reskin” of a game, I get worried that the flavor or theme will not carry though.  This was definitely not an issue at all with Marvel Dice Throne!  Each character, of the 8 currently available, comes packed in its own container, complete with a deck of cards, dice, a dashboard, tokens, and even a standee.  As for the cards, each deck is mostly custom, with only a few generic action type cards repeating from one character to another.  The artwork is solid throughout, and the symbols and colors are very fitting for a comics-based game.

Black Widow Setup

Marvel Dice Throne by Roxley Games is a very thematic game of rolling dice, playing upgrade cards, and attempting to pummel your opponent into the ground.  It has rules for 2 to 6 players, though I have only ever played it as a 2-player game.  Most games should take about 30 minutes, so it can be a quick filler game, or you can play multiple times in a single sit down.

Spiderman Setup

The setup is quick and easy, and the gameplay is very simple to learn.  A player’s turn consists of several phases: Upkeep, Income, Main 1, Combat, Main 2, & Discard.  To anyone who has played any TCG, or LCG, this will all seem very familiar.  If you haven’t though, there are helper cards in each character pack to remind you.  In the Upkeep Phase, certain effects may trigger (like bombs placed on you by Black Widow).  The Income Phase is where you will draw a card from your deck into your hand and gain 1 CP (Combat Point).  Main 1 is where you can spend CP to play cards from your hand, as is Main 2 after combat.  The Combat Phase is where most of the action happens!  In it you will roll your 5-custom dice, rerolling any you like up to twice (much like Yahtzee) in an attempt to get certain combinations to power your attacks.  Once you have settled on which attack you will activate off your Hero Board, you declare the results to your target.  They then have an opportunity to roll a single Defensive roll (unless your attack is of “Undefendable”, “Pure”, “Collateral”, or “Ultimate” damage), and apply its effects, if any.  Lastly there is the Discard Phase where you can discard cards to gain CP and must do so if you have more than 6 in your hand.  Play alternates around the table until only 1 Hero is left standing.

Black Widow Cards Sample

There are two types of cards in each deck: Hero Upgrade cards and Action cards.  Some Action Cards can be played outside of one of your Main Phases and can do things like adjusting the value of a die, earning you CP, or removing effects.  These can have dramatic effects, especially when they can manipulate your opponent’s amazing dice rolls!

Spiderman Card Sample

The Hero Upgrade cards are placed onto your Hero Board to improve a skill, or sometimes give you additional skills to try to activate in a Combat Phase.  Most that improve a skill increase the damage done, but some add additional status effects.  The ones that give you additional skills add a lot of flexibility and seem to focus on status effects rather than damage.  I find this aspect of the game very compelling, as more options is always a good thing in a game reliant upon the fickleness of dice.

Black Widow’s Upgrade

This is a very enjoyable game for me, and everyone I have shown it to.  My competitive friend and I can go head-to-head and play the most complicated characters full throttle.  Meanwhile, I can sit down to play while chatting with my less competitive friends, and in both instances the game feels balanced, often coming down to a narrow victory rather than a steamrolling.  There is enough going on that you never feel bored, even when it is your opponent’s turn.  If I had any critique, it would be that I wish I could draw more cards in most games.  You start with only a few, and normally only draw one each turn, and while there are some cards that let you draw more or search the deck, they feel a little too few and far between.

Spiderman’s Upgrade

Each Character packet includes a Hero Leaflet which explains any special rules for that Hero, what faces each of your dice have, any rules clarifications, a list of components in the packet, and my favorite detail: the Complexity rating for that Hero.  This feature is so very helpful in that it lets you know immediately if that Hero is going to be right for a new player or not.  I honestly wish more games included such a consideration.

Spiderman Leaflet

I backed the initial Kickstarter to this game, so I was able to secure a single large box that holds all 8 characters, which would otherwise only be available in 4 2 character versus type boxes, or 2 4 hero boxes through USAopoly.  The characters currently released are Thor, Loki, Scarlet Witch, Miles Morales (Spiderman), Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and Black Widow.  I say currently because Roxley Games recently wrapped up a successful Kickstarter for an X-men standalone/expansion (you can check it out here if you’d like to late pledge: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dicethrone/dice-throne-x-men-marvel-co-op-missions )  In it you can access 8 more characters (Psylocke, Iceman, Rogue, Cyclops, Storm, Gambit, Jean Grey, and Wolverine) from the X-Men team, as well as Deadpool.  Additionally, they are introducing solo/co-op Missions where the player(s) battle henchmen and an epic Boss controlled by the game.  There are 20 different Bosses to go up against, including the likes of: Doctor Octopus, Mister Sinister, Ultron, Thanos, Magneto, and Kingpin.  I feel like this expansion will add a whole lot more replay ability and even more appeal for my gaming group.  We tend to gravitate towards cooperative games, so I really can’t wait until this arrive.  I am also really looking forward to playing as my favorite Comic book character ever, Rogue!

Roxely Games hit a homerun with Marvel Dice Throne, and I am certain that it will be a game that sees a lot of play in my group.  I am very happy with my purchase and cannot wait for the next set to arrive.  If you like tight, clean, easy to learn competitive games, I highly suggest you go check this out.  Also, since it ‘Tis the Season, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there is a Santa vs. Krampus box as well, and that all the Dice Throne characters are compatible with each other, meaning there are more than 300,000 different player combinations (I guess I better get to playing more if I am going to try them all out.)!