Dice masters Dungeons and Dragons Battle for Faerun 2 player starter set Review

As you know here at the Garage Gamers we look at all sorts of things that that look fun, and this is our latest.  Dicemasters, there are a few systems for it out there, superheroes, and yu gi oh, and it hadn't caught my eye before.  Until Dungeons and Dragons.  Like lots of us I have fond memories of DnD from my youth, so a game in this world had to be worth a look right? And of course its called Dice masters, and who doesn't love dice!

So what is Dicemasters, well at its most basic its a dice rolling tactical combat and resource management game, where the idea is to summon creatures in (your cards and dice) and reduce your opponents life to 0.

In quick order ours arrived from Esdevium games, who have a great site to keep track of all sorts of gaming goodness here.
 Olivia was very pleased at the prospect of another game to beat me at!  Its a small box, which makes a nice change for a 2 player starter, its nice and portable.
 I love the artwork on it, and it shows you all these great looking dice in the clear window.
 Even the sides of  the box have great art on them.
 A full list of contents.
 When you open it up you see you get your dice, a mini rule booklet, cards, and your little dice bags.
So lets take a look at how it plays a bit more in depth....

You get a massive pile of dice, which is a great thing, I love dice, Olivia loves dice, she has her own little collection that she has snagged from me over the years.  These however are not your ordinary D6s, though they are 6 sided.  You get 3 basic types of dice, action dice, creature dice and NPC dice.

 Thee are your NPC dice, you start the game with 8 of these each, and they have 6 different faces. You will use these to build up the energy you need to spend to bring your creatures to battle. The ? means it can be any kind of energy.  Then we have Mask energy, Shield energy, bolt energy and fist energy.  Each of your creatures comes under a certain type of those four energy classes and you need at least one of that resource to summon them to battle.  The last face is an NPC, they can fight with you, imagine a villager or citizen or suchlike that is trying to help.  The 3 numbers on the NPX correspond to cost attack and defence.  Top left is the field cost, which is the energy cost to bring him into play in this case he is free.  The top right is the damage he inflicts, and the bottom right is his defence value, as in how much damage he can take before being destroyed.
 These are your action dice, they have a number on them which can provide 2 generic energy, or the action symbol, sometimes with burst which are the little star symbols, these are described on the card and give you a bonus potentially.
 Next we have creature dice, again they are the same layout as NPCs, with fielding cost, attack and defence.  They also have other sides that have energy on them that if rolled can be spent.
 Next you have your creature cards. The starter set comes with 8 different ones, each with 3 versions of them.  They are classic DnD types, with the Halfling thief, Beholders, Paladins, and of course Dragons.
 On the bottom of a card it shows you a picture showing all sides of the dice that goes with the card, so with the Paladin, you can roll one shield energy, 2 shield energy, a level 1, 2, or 3 paladin al with different stats and costs.  The cards themselves have abilities that do different things, for example when the paladin kills  monster he gets plus one attack and plus 1 defence.  The Blue Dragon has an ability for you to spend 3 energy to deal 3 damage to your opponent and all his creatures making him very powerful!  In the top left of the card is the cost to add that dice to your pool, in the dragons case its 6 energy, one of which must be a bolt energy.  The paladin is 4, one of which must be a shield energy.  The cards also tell their factions, if they are good or evil, and if they are a monster.
 Here is an example of the different level dragons, you can only have one of them, so you must pick the one that suits your style best, as you can see they have different costs and abilities, but the dice is still the same.  Each card can only have a certain amount of dice attached to it, which it tells you above the dice picture saying MAX. MAX 4 in this case.  You will note there is no real points cost to purchase cards in this game.  THat is because it is done via card and dice limits. For example a maximum of ten cards and 15 dice, which can be spread over those cards as you wish.  If you want to take a look at the rules head here.
 These are your basic actions cards, each player chooses 2 of them for the game, but be warned you can use your opponents as well! they fall into a central pool.
 The art is amazing on these cards, so evocative of the DnD world.  Each card also has an explanation of what it does on it nice and clearly.
As you can see on Bless, it tells you what happens if you roll it, and also if you get the double burst it adds more use.
 These are the last card types you get in the game, these go under the actions you choose, so you can assign coloured dice to them, it doesn't matter which cards, its just so you know which coloured dice go with what action.
So that's what your actions should look like all set up.

The rules booklet is simple to read, and has all the rules you need in there, its easy to find any references if you need them though once your going you rarely need to look at it, as its an easy game to learn, but hard to master.

So that's whats in the starter set, cool looking dice, beautiful art cards and of course the game rules and dice bags.  The dice bags will need replacing at some point with something of your own choice, if your one have taken as much punishment as ours, as Olivia likes a good rummage and I am not sure how long it will stand up to her not so delicate touch, but its a good way to personalise your game.

You can get expansion packs that add more cards and dice, her in the UK they are £1 each. yes a quid. So we had to pick some up to see!
 They come in a snazzy little packet, it does say age 14 and up, but Olivias 6 and has no problems with the game.
 We had to open it as soon as we got it, and I was pleased as it came with the Skeleton who has a cool looking die, and the Elf wizard.  Both again have great artwork pulling me back to my days of flipping through the DnD books.
Just an example of the different things you can get in boosters.  What if I get the same one? well you may, but remember there are different versions so you may get that, even if you do not, its still another dice to add your card! and for a quid, you cant go wrong.  I was not sure where sold them near me until a found a really handy store locator on Esdevium games website, so take a look here head on out and grab the game and some boosters to get going!

We had a quick scrap here, which I shall show you to go through the rules.  I printed out the playmat which comes in small version in the rule booklet, or you can download and print here
 The playmat guides you through nicely, and is really handy for reminding you where things go.
 As a small game we had 4 cards and 8 dice a side.
 I started, so I draw 4 of my 8 NPC dice from my bag, and rolled them coming up with this.
 A paladin costs 3 energy but one has to be a shields, so I spend them and move them to the used pile to buy a paladin dice, which also goes to the sued pool.
 Olivias building up a little force Of NPCs and has moved them to attack me, as I have no blockers I loose 3 life.
 When you roll your 4 dice you can re roll any of them, im glad I did here as I got my vampire dice, spent an energy to field it, and put an NPC into the field as well.
Here I push up to attack with all my forces, Olivia only has one NPC dice to block so I get three damage through.  Dice that attack and inflict damage go into the used pile. Those that get blocked and survive go back into your field zone, and those that get knocked out go into the KO pike which yiu get to add to your next roll.  Each turn you draw 4 dice from your bag until its empty, then your used pike of dice go in to fill it up. When you draw your four dice you add any in the KO pile, so you can potentially get a lot more energy that way.

 Olivia has built up a strong attacking force, and by buying blessing dice has prepared for a brutal sweeping attack
 Her two blessing dice both come up, one with a burst!
 She pushes everything into attack knowing my life is low now from the bqack and forth battle we have been having., spending her normal blessing dice to add plus one attack and plus one defence to all her characters. 

I then move in to block, only 2 is getting through, which is not enough to kill me!, until she then then spends her other Blessing dice to give any two dice an additional plus A/D  as well as all others getting plus one A/D giving her normal critters plus 2A plus 2D, and the cube and NPC I did not block hit me for 8 killing me.

That was a brief look at the game, there is much more depth of play then that, but it gives you the idea.

So what do we think of this? Olivia says "its really fun and easy to play, I like all the different dice"
High praise from her!  I say, it genuinely surprised me at how much fun it is, it has plenty of depth, good resource management, tactical thinking, do I load up on low level dice, do I have high level dice, which actions? timing my attacks, keeping blockers back, knowing when to attack etc.  Its fast paced, its really fun, has great art, cool looking dice and doesn't take up much space, and is also affordable.  You can mix sets apparently, taking your DnD set against a friends superheroes, as the basic rules are the same across the systems, anything different or new is shown on the relevant cards.

If you want a fast fun game you can play with your gamer friends, or your family of any age, you can not go wrong with this, even if you do not know the DND universe.  Grab it and enjoy it.  Its well worth it.  The two player starter set is RRP of £14.99, and combined with the Boosters RRP of £1 allows you to have a lot of fun with a little investment, and boosters are always fun!


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