One of the contributing factors to making Dice Masters such a wonderful game is the flexibility of formats you can choose to play the game. The opportunity for fun variations in the team building can add new layers of challenge to your Dice Masters experience.
From fun themes where you can re-enact your favourite comic book story-lines to wacky restrictions that encourage creativity and deeper engagement with the team building process, Dice Masters has it all.
Here at BritRollerSix Towers we love to play around with the format we adopt when we play. It’s not unusual to tune in to our Wednesday Night Live Game Play Stream to discover that we have drawn inspiration from Andy’s favourite Marvel movies or from Chris’ desire to discover value in lesser used Dice Masters cards and put a team building restriction in place or a theme to follow. It’s a great way to discover new synergies and combos as you are forced to throw conventional wisdom around Dice Masters team building and explore new synergies and combos to achieve what you are trying to do.
Here is a directory of example formats & themes we enjoy at the Ministry of Dice, with descriptions of how to play them.
We have played all of these across a number of different play groups/settings. Most of the format names are just shorthand titles that have been specifically given to the formats by the group who plays at my FLGS Element Games.
4th July Celebration
A format to play at your local on, or around, the 4th July to bring some celebration of Independence to your Dice Masters game play.
We’ve seen 2 variants of this particular format…
The first is structured around card purchase costs: 4 of your team’s character/action cards must have a purchase cost of 4 and the other 4 must have a purchase cost of 7.
The second version is to restrict the team building by dice colour: all of the dice on the team must have a core colour (the main body of the die, not the icon) of either red, white or blue.
For this format you set players the challenge of building a Dice Masters team that shares the same first letter in their title.
In this format a game win isn’t achieved by doing 20 points of damage, but is instead by completing a pre-agreed set of objectives/achievements.
You can do this in several different ways. One approach would be to prepare a checklist of combo-types or manoeuvres that can be ticked off through a single game or across a number of rounds in a casual tournament setting. For example; we’ve done things like “roll more than 4 dice a total of 20 times over the night” (We play in the evening), “KO one of your own characters at least once per game”, and “attack with more than 2 Sidekicks at the same time”.
OR, you can create a points system that can be totted up at the end, kind of like Xbox Achievements/Playstation Trophies, with the highest total at the end winning. The varying difficulty of each objective would determine how many points is allocated to it.
Battle of the Giants
This is another purchase cost restriction format in which all cards on the team must have a purchase cost of 5 or higher. PXG ban optional if you want to force some creative exploration of ramp solutions.
To win a game in a “Boxing Match” format you can only deal your opponent damage using combat damage. “X damage to player” game texts would have no effect.
Card Switch Campaign
This format is described as a campaign because it takes place over a series of events/play sessions.
Everyone comes to the first session with a team they’ve built and plays it as normal.
Win or lose you are then expected to come to the next play session/event with the same team with a single card changed out. Everyone must change one card between sessions.
Play for as many weeks/sessions as you see fit.
This one is a format that is much better suited to experienced veterans though; if your core, starter team doesn’t get off to a good start then you’ll need some patience & resilience as the teams change & evolve across the campaign.
For this format all the cards on your team must be a consecutive run of numbers in the purchase costs across your Character/Action card slots. (Basic Actions get a pass)
So, in theory, you can go 1-8, 2-9, or for the brave, Thanos fans; 3-10.
Each player builds 4 different teams of 4 cards. Each of these “quads” must be entirely made up of one of the Dice Masters energy types, so you’ll have one quad for each of Mask, Fist, Bolt and Shield. You then select 2 Basic Actions for use with all 4.
At the outset of a game you roll 2 Sidekick dice each. The resulting roll will determine which 2 “quads” you then use in that game. There are 2 Wildcards in the mix too – if you roll a ? then you get to choose one of the quads BUT if you roll a Sidekick face your opponent chooses one of your quads for you.
This format is a tremendously engaging challenge for even the most experienced of Dice Masters team builders. As the combination of Quads is unknown until you start the game, and can change from game to game, you really have to carefully consider how the cornerstones of Dice Masters team building works – do you put something ramp-y on all 4 Quads? Do you put a win condition on all 4? Are there alternative combo options to what you might usually combine within the same energy type?
I’m a BIG fan of this one.
In this format each player will choose 2 Dice Masters keywords and build a team that includes 4 cards with each. So if I was playing Attune/Overcrush then I would have 4 characters with Attune and 4 characters with Overcrush. The cards must possess the keyword themselves, not just make reference to them, (For example – Black Dwarf – Giant Axe wouldn’t be allowed.) nor can you use a character that only receives the keyword when a certain criteria is met. (Such as Batman – Plays too Rough)
You can choose whether to permit or restrict characters who have more than one keyword.
Basic Actions get a free pass.
All of the Character cards on your team must be female.
Teams must be built using cards that were available as part of a non-blind product, such as Start Sets, Campaign Boxes, and Team Packs.
This format is described as a campaign because it takes place over a number of events/play sessions. we’ve often seen pay groups set a pre-determined timescale for the overall campaign to play out. (We did it over a month with one 3 round event a week)
In a Legacy Campaign you build a ban list week on week by adding the winning team to the ban list. If your playgroup is large enough, or playing over a longer amount of time, you may consider adding the top two teams to the list.
Legacy Campaigns start out really filthy & meta but, as time goes on, really gives the lower competitively tiered archetypes an increasing chance of getting some playtime and having their Dice Masters moment in the sun.
Life Gain Race
For this format you’ll be building teams that focus on cards with game-texts that earn you life. You start the game at 0 life and the winner is the first to gain 20 points of life.
You can damage your opponent in the event (to slow their progress) but cannot take them below 0.
As a side note – we also banned cards that are unpreventable “lose life” game-texts like Lyssa Drak – Future Sight and Jinzo – Trap Destroyer as they were determined to be “fun killers” in our first attempt at the format.
Lights, Camera, Action!
This is one of our faves between us here at the MoD. We construct teams that are designed to emulate teams from our favourite TV shows and movies, or re-enact the events of a particular story-line. This one is particularly suited to 2 players just getting together for a night of play.
Some examples we’ve tried in the past:
- Team Iron Man Vs Team Cap from Avengers: Civil War
- Bat-Family Vs Bat-Villains from the Batman: The Animated Series
- Black Order Vs MCU Heroes from Avengers: Endgame
- Ninja Turtles Vs The Foot Clan from the TMNT cartoon
- X-Men Vs The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants from the X-Men Animated Series
- Justice League Vs The Legion of Doom from Justice League Unlimited
- Wrestlers from your favourite Royal Rumble (I’ve not done this one – I don’t know a thing about wrestling!)
All the dice on your team must share the same colour in the core body of the die. (Not the icons)
Page to Table
Players would construct teams to re-enact popular story-lines from their favourite comic book titles, only using characters & actions that appeared in it.
Like “Lights, Camera, Action!” this format is best suited for 2 players getting together for a play session.
This format requires players to build their teams using cards with the Grey Rarity stripe. (Commons)
There is some additional flexibility with this format as you can choose whether this should include Starter Set, Team Pack and Campaign box cards or restrict it to only Common rarity cards from the blind pack products.
We’ve also seen some variations that focus on the Uncommons (Green Stripe) or permit both Common and Uncommon cards.
Plants & Animals
Players in this format must construct their teams using character cards & actions that can be identified as a “plant” or an “animal”.
Anthropomorphise’d characters permitted. (Time to finally get your Rocksteady & Bebop out!)
Ranks & Titles
All the character cards on your team must have a rank or a title. For example “Captain America” , “Lord of D.”, “Queen Grabstab”, “Commissioner Gordon” etc.
You can expand the restriction to include subtitles for a wider card pool to build from.
Choose a year as a group and then restrict team building to cards that were published in that year.
For more variety you could consider making it cards from before that year, or choose a Rotation point and use cards from the previous rotation.
Each player comes to the play session/event with all the cards from a specific Campaign box and associated team packs. You all then shuffle the cards and draw 12 off the top.
Everyone then gets 10 minutes (or longer – your choice) to build the best 8 card team they can from that selection of 12.
For more variety you could have each player bring a different Campaign Box & Team Packs each.
In this format teams must be built where all the character cards share the same affiliation.
For extra team flavour you can add further restrictions like separating Villains by their respective publisher and thematically aligning actions to the affiliation. (Such as only permitting “Batarangs” on Bat-Family teams or “Blackbird” on X-Men teams)
Some affiliations have much larger card pools than others, and more powerful win conditions, so you may want to set a ban list (No Hope, no Tsarina LOL) to encourage lesser used affiliations to get some table time.
Players using this format must build their team using cards from one set.
Some sets don’t have Basic Actions so we’ve aligned specific Starter sets or Basic Actions from another set for use to solve this problem. For example; we’ve used Iron Man/War Machine set BACs with the Deadpool/Guardians of the Galaxy set and the Superman/Wonder Woman Starter Set BACs with the Batman set.
Before the play session/event starts each player nominates a character card from their team to be their “Team Leader”. This card must be considered an “A-List” character.
Each player can then only win the game if they have bought and fielded a Die from their “Team Leader” during the game.
Each player builds a team for the play session/event and plays it for the first round/game.
However; at the start of round 2 the players swap teams and play each others. Repeat for as many rounds as your are playing against each subsequent opponent.
This is a head melter of a team building challenge – how do you make a team that you can win with in your first round, but then can beat in all your subsequent rounds?
‘Tis the Season
A Christmas themed format for the Festive season where all dice on your cards must be Green, Red and White.
Bonus points for teams that include a tree, or are themed around Harley Quinn and Poisin Ivy. 😉
All of your cards across the team must have a purchase cost of 3 or less.
It’s quite common to want to build a ban list of particularly nasty low cost cards. Some immediate examples will probably spring to mind, like Black Widow – Tsarina, Guy Gardner – Blinding Rage, Shriek – Sonic Beam, Yuan-Ti Pureblood – Epic Humanoid, and Boom Boom – Time Bomb. You also might want to just go for it with these ones though too LOL.