Ian K
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The Hero Dice series of games sells individually but all play together. You buy an individual pack and play it with another individual pack. Thus, the packs share a lot of gameplay together and what differs from one pack to the next is the unique rules governing the particular character pack you've bought.

For example, at the time of writing there are packs for both Batman and Superman with packs for The Flash and Green Lantern due out any minute now.

Both Batman and Superman have the same basic mechanics but they play differently because they are different characters. There's no “base set” you can start with and then buy “expansion characters”, each set is its own “base”. You can buy any of the individual packs and be ready to play.

Thus, when it comes to reviewing these packs, there's no starter set to review first; no right or wrong way to tell people to start collecting; no set you have to buy first before you buy any others, etc. So what I propose to do with my reviews for the Hero Dice family of games is post the same “base review” in each article which will look at the fundamentals common across all packs and then I'll add a “character review” afterwards to look at the unique factors of each set.

I hope that's clear and you understand what I mean! Because at least that way, one of us will!


Synopsis
The Justice League are ready to fight crime! Various infamous villains are coming to a famous DC Comics city and it is the responsibility of the Justice League to foil their nefarious schemes.

Taking on the role of one of these Justice League members, you can either fight alone or team up for a fully co-operative challenge against two sets of bad guys (or more, once more sets get released)!


Gameplay
Each character starts with a hand of 6 cards and a number of dice depending on which character they are. Your cards are locked for the game; there are no new cards to draw, your starting hand is all you're going to get.

You then decide how easy a game you want, reveal two villain cards per player and away you go. You pick a villain to fight each turn, roll dice and hopefully do damage to them. Then at the end of the turn, more villain cards are played and away you go again.

Eventually you will run out of villains to draw. This will trigger a final round of fighting and then the game ends. Hopefully you've beaten enough villains to keep your city safe.

So far, so meh. Right?

But there is obviously more to it than that. For starters; the villains all (mostly) have different powers and abilities, you get bonuses for multiple heroes doing damage to the same villain, your six cards all give you various options and even each hero plays differently.

As is usually the case with small games (ie. not games you devote an entire evening to) like this, it is with these factors that the game lives or dies. Is there enough variety in the small number of components to keep the game fun and interesting across multiple playthroughs? I would answer yes. I think the game manages to be fun and remain interesting for at least 2 or 3 plays of a gaming evening before you put it aside and break out your big table-dominating game of the night.

The big drawback of the game, however, is the cost and inconvenient way it is distributed. Each pack you buy gives you access to one character and lets you add one player to the game. So two packs are needed if you want to play with one friend and what's the point of getting two copies of the same hero? Instead you want multiple Heroes to add even more variety to the game. But as stated previously, there are only two heroes so far. It gets a bit samey playing Batman and Superman together ad nauseum. Sure, Green Lantern and The Flash are due out soon but it's been a whole year to wait. Will we have to wait another year for another two characters? It would have been much better to bring out a base set with multiple characters and then one character expansion every few months or so. This might seem like a minor quibble but it does impact on the longevity of the game. My friends and I haven't played for months now because, as previously stated, teaming up Batman and Superman repeatedly gets boring. I just hope the “coming soon” sets breathe new life in to the game because it deserves a better chance than it's been given.


Presentation
Great art that appears to be lifted directly from the comics. Nice large dice with easy to distinguish symbols. Well written rules. What more do you want?


Summary
As stated earlier; it plays well, it looks good, it's distributed badly. I would recommend it if you can find it but that seems to be a challenge in of itself!




SUPERMAN SPECIFIC REVIEW


The Superman set gives you 6 dice – three blue, two yellow and one red. After each roll you must put all dice of one colour aside and roll your remaining dice. Thus, Superman gets three rolls in total each attack.

The big downside is that in order for Superman to do any damage at all, he has to roll enough symbols to cancel out all Kryptonite symbols he may roll and that may already appear on the villain he is attacking. If you can't cancel all Kryptonite symbols, your entire attack misses. There's a 1 in 6 chance a blue dice will generate a Kryptonie symbol, a 1 in 3 chance a yellow dice will generate a Kryptonite symbol, and a massive 1 in 2 chance for a red dice to generate Kryptonite. Someone far better at maths than me will no doubt be able to calculate the odds of various rolls and even the average amount of Kryptonite you will roll each turn but for us mere Maths mortals, it often becomes a case of “the red generated no Kryptonite this roll? Quick, put it to one side and don't roll it again!”

The villains in the deck are all stalwart nefarious comics characters but out of the 8 of them, 5 of them start with a point of Kryptonite. One of them even starts with two Kryptonite which must be nullified on top of what you roll otherwise Superman's entire attack misses!

It becomes less a case of “how much damage can I do” and more a case of “how much Kryptonite can I avoid”, which obviously detracts a great deal from what should be one of the powerhouse characters of any game. Yes it's supposed to be a balancing factor for one of the most powerful characters in pop culture but it does destroy the playability of the character some what.


6 out of 10. Too many auto-miss symbols make Superman a sometimes frustrating character to use.



Note: I have learned from bitter experience with this site that I need to stress that all reviews – including this one – are entirely matters of opinion. I am not claiming that anything I have said in this review is fact, it is all entirely my opinion and I am sure that many others have different opinions. If you wish to reply with yours, I welcome it. I enjoy discussion but will not respond kindly to aggressive replies.
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Michael F
United States
Albany
OR
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Funny, I found Batman to be far more frustrating to use than Superman.
 
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Joost Kleppe
Netherlands
Nijmegen
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Quite true.. the kryptonite on the dice is a nagging problem. Two things I would like to add, and which make this charcater a bit stronger: he has one auto-hit every turn (if he survives his kryptonite); and even better: he has a very good card with which he can deal damage to one neigboured enemy with his heat-vision. Now heat-vision is quite easy to roll, and thus the card can result in an easy killing of quite a strong villain.

PS The game is addictive, very good with 2 players too. But too expensive!
 
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