Designed by Mike Elliot and Eric Lang, Marvel Dice Masters is a collectible dice building game. Its very similar to Elliot and Lang's previous outing Quarriors, but obviously switches out the fantasy theme for a super hero one. Some of you might be asking a perfectly legitimate question: "What's a dice building game?" Well, I'll tell you. A dice building game is similar to a deck building game, but players purchase and draft dice instead of cards.
At the beginning of the game, each player will be given a bag containing eight white dice inside it. These dice are known as your "Sidekicks" and can be used to bolster your offensive & defensive capabilities or purchase better dice later in the game. On your turn, you will reach into your bag and pull out four dice. You may roll these dice no more than twice each turn. After rolling your dice, you can field any dice showing characters, spend energy to purchase other dice, or use any other ability you possess. After spending your dice, you place them in the used pile and place them back into your bag once its empty. That's pretty much the basic mechanic.
However, Marvel Dice Masters does possess a decent amount of depth to it. Like a deck building game, you have to decide which dice your going to purchase, how many of those dice will you get, and when should you pick them up. There's also the decision of which heroes or villains to bring into the game with you and how they interact with each other. For example, you might decide to bring Angel & Falcon with you to the table because they both enhance your sidekicks and work well with each other. You might also throw Psylocke in there too to knock out your opponents characters, preventing them from attacking or defending on their next turn.
Hopefully you've picked up on it by now, but I absolutely love Marvel Dice Masters. I love how simple it simple the rules are, but still possess some tactical depth. I love the cool looking dice and the art on the cards looks awesome. Finally, the theme really does come out while you're playing the game. I love constructing a team of superheroes, seeing how they work together and all the different powers fit each character they're assigned to. My only real complaint is the bags packaged with the starter set are atrocious and I'd advise picking up a cheap dice bag with your purchase. You might want to pick up one of the player mats as well, just so you remember where everything is supposed to be on the table and it makes keeping your life total much easier.
Marvel Dice Masters definitely has my seal of approval. If you like dice games, super heroes, and were a big fan of Quarriors, you will most likely dig this game. If you're looking for a game with some easy to learn rules but some strategic depth, you'll like it too. The starter sets are about $15 and I feel they're definitely worth it.