• Flexei's School For Gifted Players

    Attendance at my LGS over the last month has admittedly hit a bit of a slump. November and December are notoriously bad times of year for people to get out due to the holidays. Budgets become tight and free time begins to also come at a premium. While in this slump, rather than sit and watch as players slip away I've taken it upon myself to try to proselytize as much as possible and bring new players into the Dice Masters fold. I've hosted several teaching events during this slow period and also taught the game to both my sister and a cousin along with their spouses in hopes of lighting the Dice Masters spark within them.


    One of the most important hurdles to get past is simply teaching the game to new players. The number of dice and their placement can be a little intimidating to a casual observer and make the basic mechanics of the game seem more complicated than they are. First it is important to not do too much too fast. If you dive right in with 8 characters, 20 dice and PXG a player is likely to still be overwhelmed. Using the intro games from the rule books as a blueprint, 4 characters, 10 dice, and 1 basic action per player seems to be the best course of action for a starter game.


    One thing many of us have in common is extras. Tons and tons of extras. Extra sidekicks, extra commons, extra dice... but Basic Actions are at a bit of a premium. Thankfully, with WizKids' recent OPs that's not much of an issue. My local store has a lot of extra OP Villainous Pact, Thrown Car, and Focus Power, and with those at my disposal I have all the extra ingredients I need to create Teaching Starters to give away. WizKids also provides printable playmats that can be used as teaching aids. The next step is figuring out what teams I can make from my extras.

    Focusing largely on commons I tried to make teams that would appeal to the original "oh wow" geeky comic fan vibe that drew me into the game to start with. Trying to keep that in mind while sorting through what I had available I created 3 teaching starters: Justice League vs Avengers, Team Netflix vs Thunderbolts, and Guardians of the Galaxy vs Thanos (& Villains).

    (The dm.retrobox.eu hyperlinks below will have both halves of the "teaching starter" in one "team")


    The Avengers vs Justice League has definitely been the more successful one. Admittedly my extras lean heavily towards the Marvel and D&D sets, so this was my only teaching starter that featured DC. I quickly found that some people are "tired" of Marvel and were much more eager to pilot the Justice League. A more equal representation between the two IPs in teaching starters is definitely a good idea. Justice League vs Avengers set-up also worked well because it provided multiple globals that required use at specific times. This allowed me to ease the player into the concept of global windows after basic mechanics seemed to be grasped. The set also provides good interplay between the characters and shows the benefits of buy orders. The DC side however features 2 starter characters (meaning less abundant extra dice) and slightly high costs so should probably be adjusted. Green Flash & Arrow's Katana for example would be a good addition to the team.

    Team NetFlix vs. Thunderbolts was my "cute" idea trying to tap into the popularity of Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones, but seemed to be the least successful. The interplay between characters is sorely lacking when compared to the AvJL setup, and also lacked any sort of Timmy appeal. The games largely boiled down to just burning each other down with Luke Cage and then someone getting through with minimal damage.



    The Guardians of the Galaxy vs Thanos has been my second most popular teaching set-up. Part of it is surely the popularity of the film, but I also think the impending doom of Thanos hitting the field gives the teaching game a sense of urgency and strikes a strong "Timmy" chord. The way the Guardians work together also seems to really make that side feel like a "team". The flaw in this setup is Ultron Drone. His mechanic is far too confusing for new players to grasp, and heaven help you if you try to explain how Thrown Car and Ultron Drone work together. This set-up absolutely needs tweaking, but is definitely striking the right chord with new players.

    The new year has started and a new set of events are on the horizon. Will these teaching events have any effect? Will these players make the jump from the teaching starter to coming to events? I don't know yet, but I'm doing my best to not get discouraged and keep up the fight for players. A thriving local scene doesn't happen by accident and when it stumbles sometimes you have to be there to catch it. The best way to do that is by bringing new blood into the fold. Get out there! Teach! Get new players!

    What do you think Ultron Drone should be replaced with in the Thanos team? What suggestions do you have for other teaching teams? I'd love to see your suggestions in the comments.
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Lordfajubi's Avatar
      Lordfajubi -
      It seems you went 90% aou with your guardians/villians set, was that intentional or just happened that way? To complete more of a theme I'd put Loki in there as he was a big part of the Thanos interaction in the Avengers movie. Not sure which one though you really need a cheap guy in there. Maybe swap Loki for Kang, even though his ability is useful a non-comic fan has no idea who Kang is. Zemo is at least in Civil War. Hrm how bout Mystique? Pretty recognizable character thanks to the X-men reboot. So:
      Thanos:courting death
      Loki:loki laufeyson (maybe)
      Baron Zemo:helmut j zemo
      Mystique:raven darkholme

      Don't know if that works for you but it's a fairly solid 4 man team and all movie recognizable villians.
    1. Flexei's Avatar
      Flexei -
      Quote Originally Posted by Lordfajubi View Post
      It seems you went 90% aou with your guardians/villians set, was that intentional or just happened that way? To complete more of a theme I'd put Loki in there as he was a big part of the Thanos interaction in the Avengers movie. Not sure which one though you really need a cheap guy in there. Maybe swap Loki for Kang, even though his ability is useful a non-comic fan has no idea who Kang is. Zemo is at least in Civil War. Hrm how bout Mystique? Pretty recognizable character thanks to the X-men reboot. So:
      Thanos:courting death
      Loki:loki laufeyson (maybe)
      Baron Zemo:helmut j zemo
      Mystique:raven darkholme

      Don't know if that works for you but it's a fairly solid 4 man team and all movie recognizable villians.
      The Guardians/Villains mostly "worked out" that way. It had a lot to do with what I had a lot of extras of, but also trying to be mildly thematic while also being functional, they seemed the best options. Loki is definitely a good fit in there and would be a good example of when to save energy and spend it on your opponent's turn. Mystique also doesn't seem like a bad idea, though I was trying to keep it almost all commons. I've have to dig through my stuff and see how many of her I have.
    1. IsaacBV's Avatar
      IsaacBV -
      I have found the theme teams helpful also for new players and a lot of them are just what @Flexei said, it's whatever I see, to have the most extras of
    1. SirFrankus's Avatar
      SirFrankus -
      Attachment 6590Attachment 6591Attachment 6592Attachment 6593Attachment 6594
      *Sorry for the glare and upside down-ness of some of these photos.

      These are the teams I have set aside, mostly for classroom use, but for teaching and demoing events I volunteer for as well. I too have recently decided to stick with 10 Dice teams, and 10 life. I keep 1 die per card, including an uncommon version if I had the extra. I like keeping my cards and dice on a 1 to 1 ratio for organization purposes, plus it shows people a few minor customization options.

      I have extra BAC from a few collectors boxes that I keep in the same container as the teams, as well as the extra felt bags, and enough dice/bags/BAC dice for 4-6 players.
      I was also recently gifted a bunch of extra sidekicks and BAC dice and cards from a person who decided they wanted out of the game, and sold all the good stuff, but donated to me the extras in an effort to help get people into the game. I typically include easy ones, basic A/D pumps, ping damage, or ramp options. I've only included 2 or 3 instead of the typical 4 per game.

      I also designed the teams in mind to just toss to someone if they are really interested after the demo. My Batman team in particular comes with batman and bullock dice, because I thought a nice selling point could be the possibility of having a close to full 20 die team with purchase of a Worlds Finest starter and me giving them the team they just played with to add to it.

      Deadpool/Bob/Wolverine/Domino - 3 recognizable characters who have been in movies, and I wouldn't be shocked it Domino ends up in Dead-pool 2. Plus, all the dice play of each other or are affiliated.
      My Guardians teams is nearly, if not completely, identical to yours.
      Spider-Man/Maria Hill/Dare Devil/She-Hulk - Again, all in movies or TV except She-Hulk, but shes close enough to hulk that it's borderline recognizable. I've combined DareDevils from AOU and ASM because who cares for a teaching game, And that UC Spider-Man is a great interaction to explain a counter for "when fielded" abilities. One note - Don't expect Middle Schoolers to know who DareDevil is. Obviously the show is for mature audiences, but he's not that recognizable outside of Netflix or Marvel geeks.
      Thunderbolts - Here's my obscure team, but it's all villain, and the Moonstone has an ability that is countered by Spider-Man...I usually play this team as they aren't recognizable or popular characters.
      Batman vs. Rogues - I really like these two teams. My Bat Villains show great synergy with Harley helping out, Joker giving ramp, Two-Face being broken, and Falcone to explain sidekick hate. The games compete in sort of a race to see if the good guys can swing with enough damage before the villain team really gets going. I will say, however, that the interactions associated with Bruce Wayne are kind of complex for a 1st or 2nd time playing.


      I still have a bunch of Civil War, Worlds Finest, and Arrow/Flash stuff to make teams out of, but I haven't had the time.