DC Dice Masters: Justice League Starter Set Review
From Marvel to Yu-Gi-Oh, the successful Dice Masters series continues to expand its collectable card/dice game empire with household names. The latest addition is DC Comics with the release of DC Dice Masters: Justice League. Fully compatible with all other versions of Dice Masters, players can finally create epic battles between DC and Marvel characters, or mash them up in to create your own dream teams. Can this Justice League starter set meet or exceed the quality set by its predecessors?
For those who haven’t played any of the Dice Masters games, I’ll give you a quick rundown. This is a card and die battling game in which each player manages a faction of characters. During the course of the game, players will use energy to draft characters to their team, which in turn are put on the battlefield to attack the opposing player and their characters. The player that is able to knock their opponent’s life points to 0 wins. Once you get past the initial learning curve, Dice Masters is a fast-paced and deeply rewarding game that gives you a lot of opportunities to flex your muscles as a strategist and tactician.
As with every other starter set in the series, you’ll get the same amount of stuff in Justice League. This includes 24 character cards, 16 character dice, 10 action cards, 12 basic action dice, 16 sidekick dice and 2 paper dice bags. In terms of gameplay, there’s just enough character dice for two people to play the tournament standard 8v8, with each player using only one of each character die in the box. If you’re playing with someone who has their own set, then you’re more than ready to rock and roll with just the starter set.
The stars of this collection are the eight characters featured on the dice and cards. In the box you will get Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Zatanna, Darkseid, Deathstroke and Green Arrow. Everyone is going to have their preference, but I think it’s a solid lineup of A and B-list characters.
While each character has two corresponding dice that are identical, they get three unique cards that provide that character with different abilities and purchasing costs. For instance, the Bruce Wayne card can let Batman purchase a basic action die at a potentially steep discount, while the World’s Greatest Detective card gives the player gain one additional life each time a fellow Justice League member joins the field with the Caped Crusader. Which version is better? That’s for you to decide based on the composition of your team and how you want to fight.
Like the characters in the other starter sets, the content you’ll get here is viable against a player who has bolstered their set with booster packs. Some of my favourites include Martian Manhunter, who has an attack value of seven while costing as low as four energy to recruit, as well as Deathstroke, whose abilities give him different ways of staying in the field even after he’s been knocked out. During my many plays with Steff, she got a lot out of Wonder Woman’s Champion of Themyscira card, which made fielding Justice League characters one energy cheaper. Having said that, you’ll probably want to expand your collection with boosters to give you more options and more cool dice to chuck. It also doesn’t help that boosters continue to be a steal at a dollar a pop for two dice and two cards.
The other major component of the Justice League starter set are the basic action dice. Unlike characters, both players can buy these from the centre pool of cards. I like the wrinkles that this particular set adds to the mix. For instance, Anger Issues can give one of your characters the Overcrush ability, causing the player to eat any excess damage caused by one of their characters being knocked out by a more powerful foe. Against a wall of heroes, the Villainous Pact card can render all but one unable to block for a turn. Depending on which ones are out there, they can prove extremely beneficial for you or your opposition.
As far as the cards and dice go, the Dice Masters series has those down to a science. Unfortunately, there are other parts of the package that are still lacking. The shoddy paper dice bags that have come with every other starter set are still here and should be replaced immediately. I also wish that the game came with at least two paper mats for where all of your dice should go. Like every other set, you only get one in the middle of the manual. For players just learning the ropes, having two separate paper mats would go a long way towards shortening the learning curve. Considering how low the price point is for the starter sets and how better dice bags and playmats are sold separately, don’t expect this trend to end any time soon.
WizKids continues to do right by the Dice Masters name with this great Justice League starter set. The core game was already great, and the contents in this DC-themed pack add more quality and variety you’d expect to the ecosystem. If you’re already invested in the Dice Masters series, you should have bought this yesterday. For comic fans looking for a tabletop game that brings their favourite characters to life, this is a great place to start.