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Subject: Is Dice Masters for me? rss

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Dave M
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You can check out this and, soon, other articles at http://www.thereservepool.com

Is MDM for me?

So you've heard the hype, you've watched the videos. Now you're trying to decide if the game is worth the effort to even find through the early supply shortages.

The easy answer is "yes." It's worth the effort.

But don't take my word for it - I won't just tell you, I'll show you. With words. Ok, so I guess that's still taking my word for it…

Collectable Model:

There are some alarming notes from completionists out there decrying the distribution of some of the rarer cards here. I say don't buy into that worry.

For one, there are commons that are just killer cards, I mean cards that could be centerpieces of a team. Are the rare cards good? Yes, certainly. But the "good" is spread out across all rarities.

For two, you don't need more than one copy of a rare card. All a character's dice are the same, so they're usable with every version of that character, from common to super rare. This also means that getting duplicates is a GOOD thing - perhaps you don't need that 2nd copy of the common Gambit card, but you likely need the die that belongs to him!

And finally, the price point is great. Spending just $0.99 for a booster is fantastic. Now, a booster contains just two cards and their corresponding dice, but that's still quite a lot for a buck. Spend four or five dollars, the price of your average CCG booster, and you've got 8-10 cards and dice. Not too shabby considering that there are just 132 cards in this set. This is just not the same kind of money sink as other collectible games.

Quarriors + MTG? More like Hearthstone:

Lots of people say that this is Quarriors gameplay (more on that in a sec) with M:TG-style attacking. I disagree slightly - the attacking is more like Hearthstone. I say this because of how streamlined it is. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of options and plenty of interesting decisions to make. Still, combat rules are just a bit more sensible without a lot of extra mechanisms interacting with them and making them unnecessarily complex - at this point, anyway.

The Quarriors Factor:

Speaking of Quarriors, a concern that a lot of people have is that Marvel Dice Masters is very similar to Quarriors, and they wonder how their feelings toward or ownership of that game would impact their enjoyment of this one. If you're unfamiliar with Quarriors, imagine a deck building game like Dominion but using dice instead of cards.

While I have limited experience with Quarriors, I can say with confidence that while the engine is similar, the car is very different. Many things are handled differently in MDM, most especially attacking rules. Quarriors is a bit of a defensive game, encouraging players to hold back in order to score points. Not so here. This game is based on attacking your opponent, not garnering victory points.

In Quarriors, characters are forced to attack and block - but here, you choose who attacks and who does not, who blocks whom or if anyone blocks at all. Characters that are defeated, or KO'd in the terms of the game, are not put in your "used" area (think like a discard pile or the graveyard in Magic) but rather are moved to the KO zone and you get to re-roll them next turn in addition to the regular amount of dice that you'd already be rolling. That also means that there is sometimes a benefit to blocking even when you know it will knock your character out.

There are several other nuances that are different which I will not go into for the sake of brevity.

It's Fun:

The game works. It passes the eye test. MDM is easy to learn and games can go pretty quickly, even with a full compliment of heroes. There are a lot of choices that you get to contend with every turn and they're meaningful ones. Despite that, the game is short enough that it never overstays its welcome. You're not slogging through a loss, so instead of getting bogged down and feeling stuck in a bad round, you can consider what you might want to do differently for the next time because you know that you'll be done soon. The game keeps you thinking; there are push-your-luck elements; there is a lot of risk-reward balancing.

You will like this if you...
...like chucking lots of dice.
...don't like pay-to-win collectible games - this isn't one of those, not at this point.
...dig superheroes - even if Marvel isn't your favorite, a DC version is coming!
...enjoy Magic but want something lighter
...enjoy Hearthstone
...enjoy Quarriors and want something more confrontational
...want a collectable, competitive game that doesn't require the same kind of time and/or money investment as the others.


You will not like this if you...
...hate dealing with randomness of any kind.
...hate collectible games on principal alone.
…can't deal well with confrontation in games.
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Mike Bialecki
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walterskinnerFBI wrote:
Is MDM for me?
And finally, the price point is great. Spending just $0.99 for a booster is fantastic. Now, a booster contains just two cards and their corresponding dice, but that's still quite a lot for a buck. Spend four or five dollars, the price of your average CCG booster, and you've got 8-10 cards and dice. Not too shabby considering that there are just 132 cards in this set. This is just not the same kind of money sink as other collectible games.


A Magic the Gathering Booster pack costs $4.00 and comes with 16 cards. $4.00 will get you 8 cards and 8 dice in MDM. The price point isn't any better than a CCG. Individual units are just smaller.


As for the game not being "pay to play", I'm very much hoping that you are correct. I suppose the answer to that question will come in the form of tourney-winning lists. Will they contain a greater proportion of rare/super-rare dice? Time will tell.
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C. E. Freeman
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mbialeck wrote:
walterskinnerFBI wrote:
Is MDM for me?
And finally, the price point is great. Spending just $0.99 for a booster is fantastic. Now, a booster contains just two cards and their corresponding dice, but that's still quite a lot for a buck. Spend four or five dollars, the price of your average CCG booster, and you've got 8-10 cards and dice. Not too shabby considering that there are just 132 cards in this set. This is just not the same kind of money sink as other collectible games.


A Magic the Gathering Booster pack costs $4.00 and comes with 16 cards. $4.00 will get you 8 cards and 8 dice in MDM. The price point isn't any better than a CCG. Individual units are just smaller.


As for the game not being "pay to play", I'm very much hoping that you are correct. I suppose the answer to that question will come in the form of tourney-winning lists. Will they contain a greater proportion of rare/super-rare dice? Time will tell.


You are counting cards and dice, which is logical but doesn't get you the whole picture. You get more game for the money with MDM. If you bought a starter deck and 10 boosters of any CCG I'm familiar with (MtG, L5R, Warcraft to name a few) you would be fairly limited. Pretty much all you could do is substitute a few cards in your starter with cards from your boosters, you would be playing essentially the same deck just tuned. You would still need an opponent with his own deck. If you buy a MDM starter and 40 boosters you will have a lot of options for team building for 2 players. That is how MDM is friendlier than other collectible games, that is why it's a better value and cheaper to get into.
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While this was concise, it was also very good. I felt like your wrap-up was wonderful and this is a great example of a review that actually is helpful to consumers. Bravo, sir!

You will like this review if:

- you like reviews that help inform your purchasing decision
- you like reviews that provide a nice breakdown of the big picture
- you like reviews with very good summations at the end
- you like well-written reviews without bad grammar or punctuation

You will NOT like this review if:

- you're sick of hearing about Marvel: Dice Masters for some reason
- you wish the review had pictures!! (In my opinion, this is this review's only failing)
- you're frenetically fighting for your life in some forgotten civilization's pit-fighting arena of death and can't commit your full attention to reading through this enjoyable review on your smartphone because here comes that rabid, ridiculously large pit-fighter again and ARRRGGHHH!!!

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Grant Cain
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I'm excited! I'm gonna give it a shot (if I can ever get a hold of it). My wife and I were looking for something less time consuming that still fit that niche of 2 player confrontation. Yes.... this will do nicely. Also, chucking dice. That is all.
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Dave M
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wytefang wrote:
While this was concise, it was also very good. I felt like your wrap-up was wonderful and this is a great example of a review that actually is helpful to consumers. Bravo, sir!

You will like this review if:

- you like reviews that help inform your purchasing decision
- you like reviews that provide a nice breakdown of the big picture
- you like reviews with very good summations at the end
- you like well-written reviews without bad grammar or punctuation

You will NOT like this review if:

- you're sick of hearing about Marvel: Dice Masters for some reason
- you wish the review had pictures!! (In my opinion, this is this review's only failing)
- you're frenetically fighting for your life in some forgotten civilization's pit-fighting arena of death and can't commit your full attention to reading through this enjoyable review on your smartphone because here comes that rabid, ridiculously large pit-fighter again and ARRRGGHHH!!!



Well, since you're so nice about it, perhaps I'll get some pictures in there at some point! Thank you for the glowing review review.
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Dave M
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Christkid5 wrote:
I'm excited! I'm gonna give it a shot (if I can ever get a hold of it). My wife and I were looking for something less time consuming that still fit that niche of 2 player confrontation. Yes.... this will do nicely. Also, chucking dice. That is all.


I mean, EVENTUALLY they'll have everything in supply that they need. The shortage is annoying but not unceasing. So fear not!
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Max Maloney
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mbialeck wrote:
A Magic the Gathering Booster pack costs $4.00 and comes with 16 cards. $4.00 will get you 8 cards and 8 dice in MDM. The price point isn't any better than a CCG. Individual units are just smaller.

I would value a die more highly than a card.
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Dave M
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mbialeck wrote:
A Magic the Gathering Booster pack costs $4.00 and comes with 16 cards. $4.00 will get you 8 cards and 8 dice in MDM. The price point isn't any better than a CCG. Individual units are just smaller.


MTG boosters are 15 cards, not 16, and range from $4-5 depending on where you shop. In a set like Theros, which contains 249 cards, a single booster pack accounts for 6% of the total cardbase available.

In MDM, that same $4-5 can get you 8-12 cards/dice, depending on whether you bought them for $.79 or $.99 (I'm seeing both prices out there). There are 132 cards in the set, 34 of which are found only in the starter pack - so there are 98 cards available from boosters. Say your $4-5 got you 12 cards, which is entirely reasonable - that's slightly better than 12% of the total cardbase available, nearly double what that Theros pack is getting you. And that's before we even consider the dice that you garner through the packs.

Further, I'm all the more optimistic because WizKids generally allows for more flexibility in their games and you're not compelled to buy from a set that you don't really want. That's certainly been the case with Clix. If you don't like the theme of a block in M:TG, you can pretty much count yourself out of Standard for the next year, perhaps more depending on the strength of the following set. Though I'm no expert in it, from what I've seen of the players at my FLGS, HeroClix hasn't been anywhere near as rigid and the myriad themes that they're exploring for the DM system makes me believe that the same will be the case here.
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Mike Bialecki
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walterskinnerFBI wrote:
mbialeck wrote:
A Magic the Gathering Booster pack costs $4.00 and comes with 16 cards. $4.00 will get you 8 cards and 8 dice in MDM. The price point isn't any better than a CCG. Individual units are just smaller.


MTG boosters are 15 cards, not 16, and range from $4-5 depending on where you shop. In a set like Theros, which contains 249 cards, a single booster pack accounts for 6% of the total cardbase available.

In MDM, that same $4-5 can get you 8-12 cards/dice, depending on whether you bought them for $.79 or $.99 (I'm seeing both prices out there). There are 132 cards in the set, 34 of which are found only in the starter pack - so there are 98 cards available from boosters. Say your $4-5 got you 12 cards, which is entirely reasonable - that's slightly better than 12% of the total cardbase available, nearly double what that Theros pack is getting you. And that's before we even consider the dice that you garner through the packs.


You make a decent point. Unfortunately, it's diminished by obviously picking numbers to strengthen your argument. Let's compare apples to apples in regards to finding prices. At CoolStuffInc.com, a 16-card MtG booster pack (granted, one of the cards is a "tips and tricks" card) costs $2.59 and a MDM booster is $0.79.

Sources:
http://www.coolstuffinc.com/p/194928
http://www.coolstuffinc.com/p/187114
 
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Dave M
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mbialeck wrote:
walterskinnerFBI wrote:
mbialeck wrote:
A Magic the Gathering Booster pack costs $4.00 and comes with 16 cards. $4.00 will get you 8 cards and 8 dice in MDM. The price point isn't any better than a CCG. Individual units are just smaller.


MTG boosters are 15 cards, not 16, and range from $4-5 depending on where you shop. In a set like Theros, which contains 249 cards, a single booster pack accounts for 6% of the total cardbase available.

In MDM, that same $4-5 can get you 8-12 cards/dice, depending on whether you bought them for $.79 or $.99 (I'm seeing both prices out there). There are 132 cards in the set, 34 of which are found only in the starter pack - so there are 98 cards available from boosters. Say your $4-5 got you 12 cards, which is entirely reasonable - that's slightly better than 12% of the total cardbase available, nearly double what that Theros pack is getting you. And that's before we even consider the dice that you garner through the packs.


You make a decent point. Unfortunately, it's diminished by obviously picking numbers to strengthen your argument. Let's compare apples to apples in regards to finding prices. At CoolStuffInc.com, a 16-card MtG booster pack (granted, one of the cards is a "tips and tricks" card) costs $2.59 and a MDM booster is $0.79.

Sources:
http://www.coolstuffinc.com/p/194928
http://www.coolstuffinc.com/p/187114


Completely fair, but you're not getting it for 2.59 unless it's part of an order over $100, because you're paying shipping for that. The 79 cent MDM pack does not exist just on the internet. Cheapest shipping for CSI on that MTG pack is $2.56.

And the greater argument is that you need cards from TWO ENTIRE BLOCKS to be competitive in the most popular Magic format, so your booster pack is a 15 card window into sets of nearly 1200, 600 of which become obsolete as soon as the next large expansion comes out. I'm not saying that MDM will never be at that point, but I reiterate what I said above regarding WizKids flexibility within their other collectable games.
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walterskinnerFBI wrote:
MTG boosters ... range from $4-5 depending on where you shop.


Just curious as I've never seen this. The boosters are $4 everywhere we shop except I can name 3 local stores that as a matter of policy always sell their boosters for $3.50. Isn't the MSRP of a booster $3.99?

[Of course, after a series is no longer produced, the boosters prices for that series can go up and up, WAY beyond $5. ]
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I know this thread is old, so sorry for posting here, but I am thinking about getting into this game with my wife and had a question. I am also sorry if this is a dumb question. thank you for the help.

1. If I have a card and a die, what do I do if I get the exact same card and die in a booster? Are they both worthless to me unless I can sell them to someone else or is there a reason to keep more than one set of each?
 
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fubarbox wrote:
I know this thread is old, so sorry for posting here, but I am thinking about getting into this game with my wife and had a question. I am also sorry if this is a dumb question. thank you for the help.

1. If I have a card and a die, what do I do if I get the exact same card and die in a booster? Are they both worthless to me unless I can sell them to someone else or is there a reason to keep more than one set of each?

That kind of depends.

An individual player only ever needs one of any card, however, if you wanted for both you and your wife to be able to use the same character, then you would need two.

However, the designers of the game have said they're ok with people proxying cards when playing at home.

Duplicate dice are somewhat more useful, but only up to a point. Each card has a maximum number of dice that can be used with it. For the vast majority this is 4. For a handful in AvX it is 5. And a few in each set have a max of less than 4. So, again, if you wanted both your wife and yourself to use the same character, and you wanted to be able to maximise the dice on both, then you would nice twice as many.

However, you rarely need, and indeed rarely want, to use max dice on most characters.

And there are 3 variants of most cards, and you always get 2 cards and 2 matching dice in every booster pack, so it's easy to collect max dice if you buy enough boosters.
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Thank you for the reply. Could you explain why someone would want all 4 dice on a character and why they would not? As for there being 3 variants, can you play 2 variants at once, or is it only 1 of the 3 per player at a time? Thanks again!
 
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Some of the "cheaper" characters (1-2 cost) you might want to be able to buy up to the maximum. The more expensive characters (6-7 cost) you might only be able to buy 1, maybe 2 during the game. Some characters you might not ever really want to buy, you just want the characters' Global ability available to you during the game.

In a "tournament" format (the most common way to play), you choose 8 characters and up to 20 dice. Obviously you won't be able to put the maximum dice on each card, so you have to choose how many you'll want for each character.

You can think of the variants as different characters, but you can't have more than one card with the same name (i.e. more than one Iron Man card). So you have to choose which one has the abilities you want.
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Thank you all very much. That clears things up nicely. I think the only thing left is to say sorry to my wallet and dive in!
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