• Dice Masters Store Report - UK Edition!

    Welcome back to our profile of local games stores the play Dice Masters around the world, literally! This weeks profile is of Elemental Games in Stockport, England (just SW of Manchester) http://elementgames.co.uk/north-west-gaming-centre. Our hosts for this episode are Tim King, Events Manager - Element Games (username Timmaaa) and Chris Williams, Dice Masters Volunteer - Element Games (username TrueMisterSix). Here we go!

    What got you into dice masters?

    TK – When I was living over in Nottinghamshire I used to go to the Sanctuary Gaming Centre and had seen people playing Dice Masters for a little while. In the end I gave in to Richard Lacey (owner of SGC) who ran me through a demo or two and really enjoyed it. So much so when I moved across to Manchester with the new job at Element Games it was one of the gaming systems I brought across with me.

    How long have you/the store been hosting events?

    TK – October 2015 I tried to start off some DM gaming with demo nights but uptake was slow. A month or so later a couple of the guys were chatting about getting into DM and I offered them some demo games. From there, our community hasn’t looked back and grown from strength to strength.

    How often do you hold events? Do your run “seasons” or just different formats each week?

    TK – With the recent disruption of the venue refurbishment we’ve missed a few weeks but we tend to play most Tuesday. Every other week we tried for an organised event but hope now with the bigger venue space that it will be every Tuesday. Wednesday and Fridays are also popular with the locals for casual play.

    How do you determine the type of event?

    TK – The local players! Generally, I have a little guidance with organized play packs but at the end of the day I’ll run whatever they want! No point me running formats or events no one wants to play so communication is key!

    What are some unique events that you have run?

    CW - Little Cup, Restricted Builds, Rainbow Drafts.

    What have you/store done to attract new players and keep long standing players interested in the game?

    TK – social media promotion and offering free demo’s for new players. Long standing players retention is more down to the pleasant gaming environment, friendly social group and regular promo card events.

    CW – Another thing we do to help new players is that the long standing players will usually pass on their spare dice and cards to help them get started. We’ll also help them with team building and tactics before, during and after events.

    What does your current meta look like?

    CW - There are a number of players in the core, regular group who are into DiceMasters because they love a particular IP. Therefore, we see a lot of themed teams around.

    There is a large presence of Marvel fans and as a result we see early AvX cards & they have long been the focus of the Meta-teams: Human Torch - Johnny Sptrm, Wolverine - Formerly Weapon Ten, Punisher - McRook, Hulk are examples of popular early set cards that are played often.

    There are some staunch DC fans too who play themes like DC Villains, WOL tribal teams, and Justice League teams.

    Recently there's been an uplift in D&D related teams - Dragons & Fiends are seeing more play as interest in more sets slowly increases.

    Do you have a wide range of age groups playing? How do you cater to them if you do?

    TK – Generally I’d say our age group is 25-40 year old males. Perhaps a slightly older demographic than your standard comic book store or high street retailer but the group gels very well.

    Do you hold demo nights?

    TK – we occasionally hold scheduled demo nights for several games but we’re always happy to run a demo as and when customers request them. Our local experienced gamers will quite often take people through a quick demo if they walk past their table in the Gaming Centre and show an interest in the game.

    How has your local scene evolved/changed since the start of the game?

    CW - Firstly, the infectious, positive attitude towards the game from the hardcore regular players has attracted more & more newer players to the game and we've seen a slow, but steady increase in the base. They are regularly giving great word of mouth feedback and project a warm & friendly attitude that makes it easy for new players or interested parties to ask questions and make inquiries while they're playing.

    Secondly, we've seen a growing variety in the types of teams being played as the scene has grown and new players bring new ideas and experiment more. For example, some of the newer players who are fantasy fans have been attracted to the D&D sets, moved the meta a little more away from the Superhero sets, and brought interesting new teams to the tables.

    What are you and your players using the most form the new Civil War set? Did they enjoy drafting it?

    CW- We haven't held a draft in a short while, and definitely not done one with Civil War. The set was released so close to the UK Nationals many players were keen to play unlimited constructed format for practice & team tuning.

    In the Unlimited play space there has been Ronin, Overcrushing She-Hulk, and 'intimidate' cards all played & experimented with.

    TK – We’ve done a few drafts but as Chris says the focus recently has been on constructed play getting ready for the Nationals. I’ve just ordered some Rainbow Draft promos so will be back drafting again soon!

    What are you looking forward to using from TMNT?

    CW - There are a couple of Foot Ninjas that look intriguing. The Lightening Bolt, Swarming version, along with Villain affiliation, looks most attractive. Swarm is a popular mechanic for ramp as the players have looks for other approaches to ramp, and this guy has caught our eye.

    Is your store planning on supporting/sponsoring any players for National/World events at Origins?

    CW - We're UK BASED so won't be at Origins. We've made an Application to Esdevium to hold a regional qualifier in 16/17 Nationals programme.

    TK - A number of our players played in the UK National recently and we were proud to see our players represent at that National level, and look forward to supporting them in future opportunities to play at that higher competitive level.

    How have you balanced competitive and casual play types?

    CW - Even when it is competitive OP there is a strong casual tone to the way the players interact & compete.

    We've used a system of holding a standard get together fortnightly to accommodate competitive play but encouraged open, casual play on the 'off' weeks and at weekends through our Facebook interactions and taken extra good care of our more regular, longer standing players, who just drop in and hook up.

    Favorite card and/or character?

    CW - That is one tough one to answer. I'll turn to the local community here on this one: possibly one of the most frequently used and loved cards around these parts is 'Human Torch - Johnny Storm'. Direct damage strategies are very popular here and this guy is the King of Burn.

    TK – I tend to favour mono-energy teams. Masks normally although have dabbled with Lighting bolts! Means I generate lots of useful energy for dice and globals.

    Card you worry the most about seeing on the other side?

    CW - There are two cards around here that I generally hate playing against: 'Oracle - Master Investigator' and 'Professor X - Principal'.

    Both cards are a nuisance; but Prof X especially is hugely disruptive. The pain of not re-rolling or paying 2 life is much more damaging than you might first realize.

    It's also nice to see, with a movement away from PXG for ramp, that players are giving the earlier Prof X's a bit of table time.

    Most memorable Dice Masters moment?

    CW - At a casual get together one night, a Lantern Ring Bolt team was played for the very first time.

    That particular archetype was not well known, mostly because the staunch Marvel IP fans were unfamiliar with War of Light, and in the first round it was played it won with an attack that did 44 points of damage with just a couple of SHIELD Agents and a Dwarf Wizard in the field.

    The whole row of tables stopped in their tracks when they heard how much damage had been done and turned to face the match in question, mouths agape.

    TK – For me, one evening I was playing Chris in a constructed event. He had me beaten in one game and I passed the turn waiting for the inevitable to happen. All he had to do was swing with his attackers as I couldn’t block the lethal damage… But Chris then spent the next few minutes over thinking the situation, trying to work out what order to play his characters to generate abilities and buffs. Until I calmly said to him ‘just swing, you’ve won this!’. A smile set on his face when he realized how easy it was!!

    Any advice for new players?

    CW - Play, play, play, play.

    Find the toughest player with the toughest teams to beat and ask them to get together for some casual play and fill a night with getting beaten! Learn lots, then do it again. And again. You'd be surprised how quickly you improve. Failure is to be encouraged.

    Don't be over-faced by the number of sets - approach the regular players & ask some questions and advice. They will offer guidance around where best for you to start and give you pointers on making strong teams using starter sets & common/uncommon cards.

    TK – expect to lose your first few games and come bottom of your first few events! We were all there once, and some of the more experienced players have been doing this for quite a while!

    But don’t lose heart, keep practicing, refining your team and learn from your mistakes! Take any and all advice on board and come back stronger next time!

    Thanks for reading, and we'll be back soon with a profile from an awesome store in Wisconsin!

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. pk2317's Avatar
      pk2317 -
      Great article! Love to hear about scenes outside the US!
    1. OddballNarwhal's Avatar
      OddballNarwhal -
      Quote Originally Posted by pk2317 View Post
      Great article! Love to hear about scenes outside the US!
      You beat me to it! It is cool to see how simular things are, even a third of the way around the world.
    1. TrueMisterSix's Avatar
      TrueMisterSix -
      Thanks for featuring us! �� I'm glad you enjoy hearing about things on the other side of the Atlantic.

      You wouldn't believe the number of times the lads down there have told me to stop working through some convoluted tech and just make my lethal attack! I have such a terrible habit of over complicating things.