Dice Masters Rebirth

What is this?  A new set based on the DC Comics storyline?  No… unfortunately not.  What I wanted to talk about is what would it look like if the Dice Masters itself got a bit of a reboot.

This idea came about from a post in the Discord from Yort about his Dice Masters 2.0 wishlist.  I thought it would be a great talking point for the Community to maybe share how we feel things can be improved upon.  Coming out of this pandemic (eventually… depending where you live), Dice Masters has the opportunity to hit the reset button and maybe come out stronger than before.

Version 1.0 to 2.0

Many games that last for many years will go through a reboot phase at some point in their life cycle.  Perhaps the game did not function as expected?  Maybe a mechanic was missing from the original release?  In the collectible side of things, was something released that became too OP under the current set of rules?

Some board games make their changes through the release of expansions.  Others, like the X-Wing Miniatures Game and Heroclix, will make wholesale changes to the core rules in order to rebalance things.

While this will not be a “catch all” for this, I thought that we could look at how the older sibling of Dice Masters, Heroclix, made these recent changes.  What can Dice Masters learn from this?  Now, I am not a Heroclix player… but thankfully, our very own Jocelyn is.  She was kind enough to summarize what some of the changes from HeroClix 1.0 to 2.0 was like from a players perspective.

Thoughts on the latest version of Clix:

The goal was to simplify the game to make it more accessible to newer players.  As you may have heard, the game is extraordinarily complex.  Wizkids accomplished this in a few ways:

  1. They temporarily “benched” some of the powers in the latest set so that newer players wouldn’t need to learn so many powers all at once.
  2. They changed how some of the powers worked; powers that used to be costed actions became passive, so they could combine with other effects; some powers that had choices, those choices were eliminated for a set effect, to reduce time making decisions.
  3. They made it so all characters could take 2 actions without penalty.
  4. They took some of the powers that may have been OP and balanced them out.
Rob and I have just finished our sealed game series and we both agree that the new rules make the game faster and somewhat simpler.

On a side note, if you would like to see some Heroclix content on the site, egg on Jocelyn in the comments below.  You can check out gameplay from her and Rob on the Dice Station Zebra YouTube page.

The Cards

How can we apply this our precious Dice Masters?  I personally feel that the core rules and mechanics of the game are pretty solid here.  The only real confusion I tend to see out in the wild is “passing priority”.  That is more of a nuance thing, and not really something that needs improvement.  A wholesale rules overhaul is not necessary for Dice Masters in my opinion.

We don’t really have “powers” to deal with, like Clix, but we do have cards.  In every game there are cards that rise to the top of the meta and dominate the Format.  Recently we saw Becky Lynch (WWE)  enter the game with her amazing stats combined with incredible abilities.  Prior to that there was super-rare Yuan-Ti Pureblood (TOA) and Half-Elf Bard (FUS) as the big bad boogeymen in Dice Masters.

The active players in the trenches of tournaments see when these cards rise and hurt the playability of the game.  Tournament Organizers can remove these from their Formats, and are able to to police their own scenes.  However, it would be nice to see some more official hands on approach from Wizkids.  This is probably where my first wish for Dice Masters 2.0 would be:

Wish #1:  Listen to the Community when we point out problematic cards and address these sooner than later.

Beyond that problematic cards, are the problematic card interactions.  As new cards are released, players will find confusing ways that these new toys will interact with established staples.  This sometimes results in bending of what players understand of the core rules.  It is fine for the players to come up with their own interpretations of the rules, but the final call does fall on Wizkids.  Players can disagree on interpretations, and this can make things difficult going into Tournament settings.  Wizkids does have an official Rules Forum, but it does not see the activity that it deserves.  As of the date of this article, the last activity on the Wizkids Rules Forum was June 2020.  This was where one of Yort’s wishes came in, and I fully agree here:

Wish #2:  Give more regular (monthly at least) attention to the Wizkids Rules Forum. 

Perhaps revamp how it is done and allow players to see what questions are currently in the queue?  Allow players to upvote the questions that they feel are important to how the game plays.  This might help bring a focus onto what questions are important to the game.

The Friendly Local Game Store (FLGS)

The FLGS is the lifeblood of games like Dice Masters.  As we saw over the course of the pandemic, while online play “works”… it is not for everyone.  The game thrives the most when people can get together and play face to face.  The Community aspect of Dice Masters is perhaps the best part of the game.

Recent history has shown that Dice Masters has not been kind to our FLGS’s.  From issues with Canadian distribution during the Infinity Gauntlet release (as well as prior releases), to the general European distribution issues, to the inconsistency of releases… there is no shortage of how the stores have suffered with the product.

With the pandemic starting to show signs of winding down (in certain areas), now is the chance to start rebuilding this relationship between the FLGS and Wizkids.  We are going to outright quote Yort with these next two as it directly related to this:

Wish #3:  Store Evangelism. 

I really like the wording Yort used here.  Many stores have been burned in the past.  Wizkids can focus on repairing some of these relationships.  Incentivize the stores to not only carry Dice Masters again, but to promote and support it.

Wish #4:  Regular Organized Play Kits. 

This is how you help build a scene in store.  It doesn’t even need to be unique cards all the time.  Sometimes just a nice alternate art of a recent card is good enough for the players.  From a store perspective, providing some marketing support to aid in growing the game.

Probably the biggest wish for a Dice Masters 2.0 is something that both the FLGS and the players can agree upon:

Wish #5:  Execute a Regular Release Schedule. 

Yes, we are living through a global pandemic and shipping is just a nightmare in general.  We can give Wizkids a pass on that.  However, we have seen feast or famine before from Wizkids.  It does hurt the game when players are bombarded with so much product all at once.  Cards slip through the cracks and do not see the attention they deserve.  Players do lose interest when games like this go through the famine periods.  Like all CCG’s, Dice Masters needs the turnover and constant influx of new things to keep the game fresh.

My final wish for Dice Masters 2.0 kind of ties everything together:

Wish #6:  Communication. 

This would go a long way with all parties.  It is a simple thing, and we know that Wizkids is capable of it (as we have seen with big brother Clix).  If a product is going to be delayed, announce it.  Keep your loyal customers in the loop on the basics.  The radio silence strategy is not a good one in the long term.

While things are quiet right now, we are confident that Dice Masters will be returning at some point.  Will things change?  Who knows?  We can only hope that this time apart will give us a chance to come back better than ever.  Thank you again to Yort for getting the juices flowing for me to look at this.  What would be your wishlist for a Dice Masters 2.0?  What is important in the Rebirth to make the game succeed?  Let us know in the comments below or on any our Socials (@dmNorthTV).

Thanks for reading and looking forward to seeing this game thrive again!

– jourdo

One Reply to “Dice Masters Rebirth”

  1. HeroClix also has a “watch list” that is updated from time to time. They identify problematic pieces, keep an eye on them in play, and then errata or ban. Something like that could be useful in Dice Masters.

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