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Subject: WNW On the Table rss

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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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(Note: reposted from the WNW geeklist)

Flatbush -- On the table: From the dark vaults of TSR/SFR comes... Dragon Dice!

Back when I used to manage a comix 'n' gamez store in Amherst MA back in the mid-90s, we used to run through just about every collectible game that came through town. Dragon Dice had a pretty good run in the beginning, but the absolutely broken magic rules killed the game after a couple of months. I sold off my carefully assembled set and consigned the memory of DD to the dustbin of history.

Then a couple of years ago, I can't remember the exact circumstances, but I managed to inherit another Dragon Dice collection from an old gamer friend. Maybe he was in a divestment cycle, or maybe it was to sweeten a trade or pay a debt, I don't recall precisely. In any case, they got sorted, ooh and ahhed over, and then stuck in a box and forgotten again.

With the recent Ameritrash revival of this title, I've given serious thought to trying the game again, this time with the updated and well-tested rules available from SFR. Although the extremely comprehensive rulebook was daunting, my past experience with the game proved just the machete I needed to hack through the dense text. It was coming back to me...

The good Doktor and I originally thought we'd continue our game of Frederick the Great (see WNW geeklist) but our work lives ground our brains down to little pink convoluted nubs and rather than stare at some chits and figure out how to outmaneuver each other, I offered to teach Dragon Dice so that we could huck some plastic at each other instead.

It took us about an hour to make our path through the rules and choose up armies, and then we were ready to go.

I had a soft spot for the Goblins, with their access to death magic and fun-looking cavalry. I took a strong cavalry force with some heavy infantry backup and a reasonable bunch of shamans (including one rare die of each).

Glaze's choice was the Coral Elves, a very popular army in ye olden dayes. His force turned out to be archer-heavy (urrhhh the flashbacks...) with some cavalry and magic support.

My horde won the opening maneuver roll, so the frontier terrain would be my Highland City, denying him magic doubling. Opening terrain rolls put his home terrain at 6, and both the other terrains at magic range. Uh-oh.

It took my cavalry-heavy horde no time at all to take the Coral Elves' home terrain (a Coastland Tower), but the wily Elves withdraw their mages and redeployed them to the Highland Stones that were the Goblin home. From there, they were very effective at using their magic to snipe my rare dice off with lightning strikes - just as irritating as in the old days, but at least the cost is appropriate at 6 magic points!

Meanwhile, his main archer force in the frontier was successfully maneuvering against campaign army. With my shaman force dwindling under magic attacks at home, my only hope was to maneuver down the frontier die, but passing through that missile fire zone would be suicide. Eventually that's what happened - one 7-point strike (no saves!) pretty much finished off my attacking forces. A last ditch black dragon summoning was slain by the archers (belly + 6 crossbows = sad goblins) and the match was effectively over.

Final tally: one dead and buried 1st level Coral Elf archer vs. 21 points of dead Goblins. Owch.

Me: (7) One of the most innovative games of the mid-90s collectible craze, coming from the unlikely nexus of funky dice (?!) and TSR (!!). Was wildly broken in its initial incarnation, with magic dominating play dramatically. Very disheartening (original rating? 4). However, the game has been revived by SFR, and I have to say they pretty much fixed the major problems. I'm not keen on all the promo dice, and the ruleset is an impossible thicket of special cases, individual results, and just way too much text - but there's no other game like it, and there are few things more fun than looking at all your cool dice... except throwing them in the chuckbox and rampaging all over your enemy!

Doktor Glaze: (7) Ok, I will be the first to admit that when you look it in the face, this is silly. A highly random and abstract game of fantasy armies duking it out. But for what it is this is a great time. No set up, no hassle, no complications, just good old-fashioned slugging it out. The spells and army types are flavorful and have lots of variety. I like it because it is entertaining, tense, and there is strategy in both the army selection and the tactical slugging.
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Chris Rogers
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Oh, that brings back some memories. I enjoyed playing this game a lot when I was younger, and I had no idea that it was being published/sold again. I remember bashing it out with my coral elves against my friend's goblins... thumbsup
 
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wayne r
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loved the dice, not so much the gameplay
 
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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Oni no board wrote:
loved the dice, not so much the gameplay

Did you play it with the recent rules?
 
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Graham Smallwood
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TWO Equals in an "if" statement!!!
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The last I heard of this game years ago was that it was awful and broken. So you have totally interested me. Got links to rules and sellers?
 
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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I don't know about sellers, but here's the publisher's website:
http://www.sfr-inc.com/index.htm
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Paul DeStefano
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sdiberar wrote:
Oni no board wrote:
loved the dice, not so much the gameplay

Did you play it with the recent rules?

What recent rules? Where do you get them?

I have several thousand of these, and my son kind of likes them when we played a bit a few months ago, but there were definitely problems with the original rules.
 
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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You can download the full rulebook from the publisher's website (see my prior post) - it's unfortunately known as the "starter" rulebook, but is in fact quite comprehensive.
 
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Steve Cates
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Nice Report!

For those diving into the rules for the first time or for the first time since the rules update, all the recent summary sheets for the races and what not are in the file section. I made them from the recent rule set.

BTW, the old dice all work with the new rules there's no difference in the dice, just the spells and racial abilities were fixed.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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sdiberar wrote:
You can download the full rulebook from the publisher's website (see my prior post) - it's unfortunately known as the "starter" rulebook, but is in fact quite comprehensive.

Holy Crap! It used to be a tiny folder! This thing is 76 pages long!

What's the general gist of the rules changes? Or is it mostly in spell and ability changes?
 
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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I don't have a copy of the old rules for comparison, but the biggest changes are nerfing the power of magic: no more than half your point-value can be spent on magic units, and in general the costs of spells are much higher, in many cases double their old costs. Magic use from your reserves is also much more restricted.

There are two main reasons why the rules are so long: they cover every single expansion (and there are many), each with their own special dice, icons, and rules; they are extremely comprehensive and designed to answer every question that comes up during play. It's like the FAQ is included :/

What's more, there are a lot of examples (good!) and flavor text (meh!)

The rules could probably be pared down to 16 pages if you tossed all the stuff for expansions, all the fluff text, and some of the cumbersome explanations. The die/icon and spell lists would still be needed...
 
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J Montney
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Dragon Dice!
Yes! I'm glad this game is making a comeback! Although my super geeky side was hoping that there would be a final 'Heros' set with non platonic dice...
 
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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Non-platonic? You mean not regular solids? Ten-sided dice already qualify. They never did make icosahedron units did they - not enough room for icons I guess

Also, the game is not dead - so there's always the possibility of more sets.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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What about those D4s from Magestorm? Those are a pretty original shape.
 
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J Montney
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Sorry, it took me a bit to read up on the terms, and I was a little off.

What I meant to say was that I thought I remembered a picture that promoted a Dragon Dice kicker pack with new dice that weren't the same as the 'normal' RPG dice. Something that used different archimedean solids than the normal solids used.

Maybe like a truncated tetrahedron...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archimedean_solid

JB Mallus
 
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Steve Cates
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I doubt they have plans for the off standard dice. I could be wrong but I'd expect we'd see a d20 or a d4 pyramid type or maybe some prismatic d3-d12. I think that the non-standard polyhedral dice are just so much more expensive to make SFR wouldn't find it profitable to do it.

However, I did find some out there

http://www.advancinghordes.com/product_info.php?cPath=2_77&p...

http://www.advancinghordes.com/product_info.php?cPath=2_77&p...

http://www.advancinghordes.com/product_info.php?cPath=2_77&p...

Funny thing about those is the odds are skewed toward the bigger faces.

(edit: link)
 
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J Montney
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Hey, thanks for the links to the bouncy dice. I wonder how they figured out the odds?

JB
 
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