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Marvel Avengers VS X-Men Dice Masters – The Review

Today I received an exciting parcel, fresh from the GamesQuest warehouse! In it, the combined power of 36 Marvel heroes, the hammer of a god and Captain Americas very own vibranium shield! Yes you guessed it! Marvel Avengers vs. X-Men Dice Masters has finally hit the shores of the UK!

 Marvel Avengers vs. X-Men Dice Masters - GamesQuest

If you’ve read my previous blog post about this awesome new Wizkids title, then you’ll know just how excited I was to get hold of it. Opening the shipping box I was greeted by the sight of both the Starter box and the booster gravity feed that I’d ordered. Designed by Mike Elliot and Eric M Lang this game is great for gamers of all tastes and I definitely recommend it to every Marvel fan out there.

 

Where to begin… At the starter…

 

The Starter set comes in a smart little box which contains all you need to get going with this great game. There’s two sets of eight sidekick dice, four different coloured (red, green, blue and yellow) basic action dice that come in groups of three, and sets of two dice for each of the eight different superheroes.

 Marvel Avengers vs. X-Men Dice Masters Starter Set - GamesQuest

The dice all look great and each relates to one or more of the 34 character or action cards that are also found in the box. Finally there’s the rule book and two little papery/plasticised bags, one in red and one in blue. You’ll be placing, and shaking your dice in these bags quite a lot, so if you’re anything like me you’ll want to get yourself a nice thematic dice bag to go with the set.

 

Build ‘em up… and knock ’em down!!!

 

Now that I’ve finally played Marvel Avengers vs. X-Men Dice Masters I’m pleased to confirm that all of the news and blog articles coming out of the American game bloggers were VERY accurate. The game is awesome, it’s fun, it’s fast, it looks and plays great and I personally really enjoy it. However, I imagine you’re not here to just read about how great I think the game is, I’m guessing you want to hear how it plays right?

Setup is extremely easy, just follow these four simple steps to build up your teams and then you’re ready to go.

1. Find an opponent.

 Marvel Avengers vs X-Men Dice Masters Opponent Cards - GamesQuest

2. Build your team of heroes from your personal set of collectable cards and then select the dice that are associated with these cards. Each game will use a set number of dice for each player.

 Marvel Avengers vs X-Men Dice Masters Heroes Cards - GamesQuest

3. Place three or four of the basic action cards in the centre of the table, between you and your opponent, and use the marker cards provided to indicate which of the cards is represented by which of the coloured action dice.

 Marvel Avengers vs X-Men Dice Masters Action Cards - GamesQuest

4. Place you character cards on your side of the table, place their associated dice on them and then take your eight sidekick dice and throw them into your dice bag.

 Marvel Avengers vs X-Men Dice Masters Captain America Card - GamesQuest

Flame on??? Game on!!!

 

With teams set and your opponent squaring up to you across the table; it’s time to get those claws out, spin some webs, throw that mighty shield and get your flame on!

To play Marvel Avengers vs. X-Men Dice Masters you follow another series of very simple steps:

 Marvel Avengers vs. X-Men Dice Masters Board - GamesQuest

  • Draw four dice from your dice bag and along with any dice that are located in your preparation area roll them into the reserve pool.
  • Look at the results and decide whether to keep what you rolled, or reroll any or all of them. (At the start of the game you’ll be drawing four sidekick dice which can result in either an energy, to spend, or a sidekick which you could use as part of your upcoming attacks.
  • Take the number of energy you rolled and, if possible, purchase one or more of the character dice you brought to the game, or alternatively use it to buy one of the basic action dice that are part of a common pool.
  • Place spent energy and purchased dice into the used dice area.
  • Pay the fielding cost of a character or sidekick, by using energy, to move them into the field zone, this is called fielding a character.
  • Perform any actions you’ve rolled and want to use now.
  • Attack! You can now select any of the dice you have in your field zone to make an attack, to do this, simply move them into the attack zone.
  • Defend! Your opponent nominates zero or more characters to block your attacks.
  • Perform any additional actions from any action dice you have available and then move them to the used pile.
  • Resolve the attacks, for this you compare the attack values of the attacker with the defence value of the defenders. If the attacking value is greater than or equal to the defence value then the Defender is knocked out and moved to the preparation area. But not before they get a chance to hit the attacker. Compare the defenders attack value with the attackers defence value and once again, if it’s greater than or equal to the defence, move the attacking character to the preparation area.
  • Remove lives from your opponent equal to the number of attack points inflicted by each unblocked attacker that was placed in the attack zone.
  • Move any characters that attacked but were not blocked into the used pile and end your turn.

 

So, with a game turn under your belt it’s now your opponents turn to follow the same steps and strike back. You repeat this process until you, or your opponent, loses a set number of life points. In the first sample game it’s only 10 points, but as you progress you’ll soon want to increase that limit to 20. Even with this increased limit I thought the game was over very quickly so I’ll be increasing the life points buy ten until I reach a game length balance that suits my tastes.

 

Was it Marvellous??? Get it??? Marvellous…

 

 Marvel Logo - GamesQuest

As a Marvel fan I have to admit that the theme might appeal to me far more than it would the average gamer. However, that’s not to say that the average gamer won’t like it. There’s plenty to like, the game play is simple enough to just pick up and be ready to play within a few minutes, the artwork on the cards looks really good and it’s great fun to see your team of Marvel Characters all ready to fight against you opponent.

There’s also tonnes of dice to go with the game, the actions and skills that the cards add make sense, it’s real quick to play, and even though it’s designed for each player to have their own set of dice and cards, it can be played as a draft game using only one collection. Players simply take it in turns to select a character and then choose one of their cards, thus making that character unavailable to their opponent.

The only slight gripe I have with the game so far, is that you can end up with characters fighting characters that they simply wouldn’t fight in the Marvel universe. That said, if you think of this as more of superhero training event, or a friendly bout, then you’ll be absolutely fine with it.

 

To boost or not to boost… That is the question!

 

One of the things that originally concerned me about Marvel Avengers vs. X-Men Dice Masters was its collectable nature. I mentioned in the preview post that I quite like the Living Card Game (LCG) model and that I was worried about going back to a collectable model. Looking back, this was something that also played on my mind when I placed my order… Should I get a few booster packs to go with it? Do I want to get drawn into this collectable world again?

 Marvel Avengers vs. X-Men Dice Masters Booster Packs - GamesQuest

Fast forward to the here and now, and I’m sat surrounded by the empty packets of 60 boosters all gleefully plucked from a gravity feed and torn open by my eager self.

After giving up the Star Trek the Customisable Card Game about fifteen years ago, I’d completely forgotten the emotional rollercoaster ride that the collectable model sends you on. I got loads of amazing cards in my boosters and some even more amazing dice which will provide MANY hours of fun, but there’s something to be said for the emotions you get from simply opening a pack.  The highs of finding a rare card, or the sudden lows as you open a pack that contains two common cards that you already have. It’s quite fascinating to experience this as grown man and I really enjoyed opening each and every pack.

 

How do you like your dice???  Medium rare please…

 

Whilst we’re on the topic of rarity, there’s a good selection of cards in the game and each has its own rarity indicated by a coloured band just above the dice listing on the card.

 Marvel Avengers vs. X-Men Dice Masters Rarity Cards - GamesQuest

The rarities are split across the set are as follows:

  • 34 Starter (Grey, Only available from the starter packs)
  • 30 Common (Grey)
  • 34 Uncommon (Green)
  • 30 Rare (Yellow)
  • 4 Super-Rare (Red)

I’m fairly well known for two things in games, my inability to bluff and my pure unadulterated bad-luck when it comes to rolling dice or finding rare cards… On reading up on the Dice Master gravity feeds I found that, on average, each box contains one super rare card. Suffice to say though, my bad-luck gene kicked in and I didn’t get a single super rare in my gravity feed.

Yes I was slightly disappointed by this, but despite my deck missing any red-bordered bad-asses, I’m still incredibly happy with what I did get. With rare versions of Deadpool, Nova, Black Widow, War Machine, Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, Venom, Night Crawler and Mjolnir how could I be anything but happy?

 

This game sounds great… Where do I get it???

 

Well, I think you’ve all guessed by now that I really like this game. I like the gameplay, I like the cards, I like the dice, and I like the artwork. I realise that there’s a global shortage of the starter packs at the moment but rest assured Wizkids are working real hard to bring more to our shores. If you can just hold in there, there’s more due in a second wave that should arrive towards the end of May and even more due after that in their third wave.

For those of you out there who love Marvel but don’t really like the idea of a dice game, then take a look at the following, they might just be right for you:

Marvel Heroclix Avengers Vs Xmen – Xmen Starter Set for all you miniature game lovers.

Marvel Legendary for the deck-building game fans amongst us.

Finally, for those who already have the game, then I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am, and I hope you’re out there showing your friends and family just how much fun it is. Also, don’t forget that WizKids will be releasing the Uncanny X-Men Dice Master set later in the year so keep your eyes on the blog for updates on when it’ll be arriving in store!

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Tom Randell

Driven Instructional Designer by day, board game fanatic by night! Tom has a long background in eLearning design and is a strong believer that story and narrative are crucial to creating excellent learning and gaming experiences. A passionate blogger, game reviewer and play tester, he enjoys spending his time playing games of all genres.

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