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Richard Smith
Canada
Coquitlam
B.C.
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Dragon Dice is a fairly clever game with a few problems.

The basic idea is that as you fight for various terrains (8 sided dice). If you capture the core area of 2 different terrains you win. As you approach the central area of the terrain, you get closer to your enemy. At long range you cast magic, at medium range you use ranged weapons, and at close range you use melee weapons.

When you are at melee range (for example) you roll all the dice in that terrain and add up the number of melee hits. Each die has a face icon that will turn into what ever you want (it acts as a wild).

You target then rolls all of his dice and adds up the number of shields (saves) that he gets. Subtract hits from saves. The number of extra hits will cause him to lose dice to the graveyard. Magic can return dice from the graveyard to your army, or it can permanently remove dice from enemy graveyards from the game.

There are a ton of special rules that add various trade offs and strategies to the game. In addition there are sides on the rare dice that give special powers if they are rolled.


Good Points:
- There actually is a fun game in here.
- The dice are attractive, and have lots of 'toy factor'.

Bad Points:
- The dice are expensive, and since this is a 'collectable' game you have to spend a bunch to get a full collection if you care about that.
- The first edition rules were broken. Magic users were far too powerful. (The game actually became less fun as you bought more dice since everyone put higher and higher percentages of mages in their armies and the variety of play was lost.) A variety of rule fixes have tried to address this problem.
- The organization of the rules was very poor.
- The icons on each die vary from race to race. (So melee hits might look like swords for one race, but axes for another. Since some special icons also look like melee hits this can become a problem as you get more dice. This is also true for maneuver icons, range hits, etc.)

In collectable card games, the card had room to write the rules for that card right on the card. However, the dice just have icons, and as you buy more sets, the number of special rules that you have to remember steadily increase. This is, I think, the killer problem for Dragon Dice. You are better off buying (for example) lots of undead, and getting to know those rules well, rather than buying a little bit from this race and that. You will get a ton of rules for each race and play becomes a track down a reference rule booklet game.

I suspect that this game will end up with a high standard deviation. The expense, complexity and poor rules will put off many people. Those with high disposable incomes who actually learn and memorize all the rules and errata will enjoy it.

Summary: I am not afraid of expensive or complex games, but my feeling is that this game is not worth the money and effort. It is not awful, but there are better games out there.
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Richard Smith
Canada
Coquitlam
B.C.
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Re: User Review - update
I would like to add a bit to my review. A new company, SFR Inc., has revised Dragon Dice and cleaned up its rules. Many of the problems in the original game have been fixed. They have made official some of the suggestions for taming mages, (and have added a rule that no army can be more than 50% magic using dice).

The game still has the strengths and weaknesses I mentioned above, but the tweaks, better organization and fixes to the rules bring it up a step. I think the new version is more accessible than the old one.

Warm regards, Rick.
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