How’s it going Dice Masters fans?
Do you watch “The Rookie” with Nathan Fillion? I do, and a throwaway line of dialogue in a recent episode is the inspiration for this blog post. If you don’t watch then here’s the basics: Nathan Fillion plays a middle-aged ex-carpenter, who, after a life changing experience decides to re-course his life by signing up as a Rookie with the LAPD. It’s pretty good, but I’m a Nathan Fillion fan and would watch anything he’s in tbh.
Anyway; in said recent episode Nathan Fillion says “I wish they’d told me this before I signed up”, or some words to that effect. At the very moment the character uttered the words I was team building on the Dice Coalition Team Builder so, naturally (because I’m wildly obsessed with the game) I applied the question to Dice Masters.
BUT, I wasn’t just satisfied with my own thoughts so I threw a quick survey out on the Ministry of Dice Facebook page to see what the Dice Masters community’s thoughts on it were too.
Can you guess what the most common answer was?
There were lots of interesting responses from our Facebook followers who completed the survey, but without a doubt there was one theme that came up the most frequently: “Bag Management”.
A quick primer for anyone reading this who is new to the game: “Bag Management” is a term that was coined by the good folk of the now defunct “Reserve Pool”. It was in reference to the process of manipulating & managing the dice going into your bag at the start of your turn to guarantee the dice draw you most desire. The most common & fundamental bag management technique you would see a seasoned player put into play is to carefully make purchases in the early game so you have 5 dice in your Used Pile and then use a dice prep global (like the one on ‘Atlas – Purged by Pym Particles’) to trigger a bag re-set. This would place you in a position where you have one dice in the Prep Area and four in your bag – the exact five dice you set up in your Used Pile. It’s hard to explain in written form, but you can find a really useful, instructional video on DM:United: You’ll find it linked here.
There were some other key ideas that circled the Bag Management concept too. One respondent, while discussing bag management, pointed out something they wished they knew as “…knowing when to STOP purchasing dice. Don’t just purchase what you can, purchase what you need.” This is a keen point: overloading your dice cycle with stuff you don’t need was definitely a mistake I used to make in the early days, and it takes a lot of practice to have some restraint and not buy dice you regret later in the game.
Successful competitive players will always tell you bag management and dice cycle control are central to winning games, and it so it’s definitely something for newer players, or more long-standing players who want to win more games, to put at the top of the list of figuring out.
What about the second most frequent response?
The next theme that was referenced wasn’t about playing the game at all. Any ideas? It was “game storage”.
That’s right – loads of respondents discussed how to store & file the game as a key concern they wish they’d known when they started out. Particularly dice.
One respondent put it very succinctly with: “I wish I knew how much bloody space my dice would require”
It’s true. If you catch the Dice Masters bug then it soon becomes apparent to any player that it gets reaaaaal space intensive, reaaaaaal fast.
Every now & again one of the Dice Masters Facebook groups will get a “show me your storage” type posts from a newer player who’s noticing the ever growing volume of little plastic cubes. The post will then fill up with many and varied photos of Collector’s Box towers, re-purposed screw boxes, home-made compartment chests, and Ikea herb organisers (not kidding, saw that one once).
It’s not just storage – it’s about storage in a way that makes the cards & dice accessible for play. So many stores & online play groups like to mix things up with restricted or theme-y formats, so you never know what card & die your going to want to play with on any given week. Dice and cards are in and out of the boxes and binders frequently, so storage needs to be convenient. As one respondent wrote: “…and how much energy wold be spent on storing and sorting.” The key word there being “sorting” really.
If you’re a new player then certainly don’t be like me when it comes to this. I cottoned onto the need for organised storage waaaaaaay too late and have regretted not being on top of it sooner. Right now I’m procrastinating on digging out some cards & dice for a player I’ve offered to send some stuff to, for no other reason than I’ve let it get so disorganised and it’s now a massive mission.
There were a couple of smaller, less referenced ideas. Not as frequent as the 2 above, but I think there’s a couple of notable mentions.
A handful of respondents mentioned the “Dice Masters Online Community”. One respondent mentioned that they “wished I knew about playing online when I first started playing” and another mentioned how “friendly and approachable everyone is. I was a little afraid to post for so long but when I did everyone was really helpful and now I play with a lot of those guys.”
It’s no secret that face-to-face Dice Masters play is concentrated in pockets across the globe around particular FLGS’ where it’s become popular, and that a large proportion of the player base is family & friends playing casually on the kitchen table. BUT there is a dedicated base in the online community who discuss the game, and play the game heavily.
Two places I’d recommend a new player checks out is the Dice Masters Online Discord server and the Dice Masters Unlimited Facebook group. I would argue that these are the two most active locations online where you can ask questions, talk Dice Masters, and organise play online.
AND if the idea of playing online is intriguing to you then you can see some of my recent thoughts (along with some useful links) at this blog post called “Playing Dice Masters – Now, More Than Ever, is the Time!”, or check out the MoDCribZ series on our YouTube channel to take a peek at how players get set up.
The other notable mention could be categorised as “How to use Globals Better”. Again, a handful of respondents referenced this in one form or another. One respondent mentioned how once they had “…my own Force Attack Global used against me”, and another simply wrote “how to use Globals better”. Using Prep Globals was also referenced a great deal in the responses discussing bag management.
The communal elements of Dice Masters (Basic Actions and Globals) is definitely one of the most engaging & strategically interesting aspects to the game for sure, but I can TOTALLY UNDERSTAND why some players felt these tripped them up when they started out. I still can’t get my head around good Basic Action choices sometimes. So, it seems, a few of us would encourage new players to experiment with, and get to grips, with the subtleties of good Global usage.
There we go folks – a quick summary of some thoughts that our survey revealed from experienced players they wish they knew when they started out. If you are new to the game then I hope this helped focus on a few key ideas to get you going.
I’m going to work on some content to give a more detailed view from The Ministry of Dice on some of these ideas so be sure to keep an eye out on the blog, subscribe to our podcast and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more on the subjects above (and much, much more besides).
Let us know your thoughts on the most common responses to our survey below. Were you surprised by the answers? Not surprised by the answers? Something you expected to see but didn’t? Share your thoughts…
Otherwise; thanks for reading, catch you again soon. 🙂