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How To Play Dice Masters, The Vassal Way

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Alright kiddos, this one has been on deck for a while. In this article you will learn exactly what to do to play Dice Masters through the use of Vassal. I was a little skeptical at first, but Vassal is clearly becoming one of the two main ways to play Dice Masters online with friends. (The slightly more popular method seems to be using a web cam and Google Hangouts. But we’ve written about that before.) So, let’s dive right in.

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For those unaware, or just not very techy like myself, of what Vassal is, here is a description taken directly from their website. “Vassal is a game engine for building and playing online adaptations of board games and card games. Play live on the Internet or by email. Vassal runs on all platforms, and is free, open-source software.”


The first step is simple: download Vassal. Just go to http://www.vassalengine.org/ and click the big green button on their front page that says “Download Vassal”. (The current version is 3.2.15)



Next, we will need the Dice Masters module for Vassal. This is where all of the Dice Masters info for Vassal is stored. The cards, the dice, the play mats, etc. So if we are still on the Vassal homepage, we will want to click the “Modules” link at the top.


We could filter through all of the many, many modules stored on their site for various games, (and if you feel compelled when we are done here, go ahead and check them out). Right now, we want to make this easy. Let’s just go over to that search bar on the left hand side and type “dice masters”.


This next part could be a little easier to understand. Your top search result is “Module: Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs X-Men”. THIS IS THE ONLY MODULE YOU NEED TO DOWNLOAD. Information for every set is stored in this module. “But, I want to play with just D&D.” Yes, I know. Download the “Avengers vs X-Men” module. It has the cards and dice for every set. My guess is that every set was going to be its own module, until the designers realized that it would be a lot easier if every set was in one module. And since AvX was the first set, instead of making a brand new module, this one just kept getting updated. So yea, download and save the module. (Let’s save Vassal and the module in the same location, so we know where to go if there’s a problem.) (FYI, I had heard complaints of this module taking a while to download because of the servers it is on. No joke. I started watching Cloverfield shortly before starting the download, and it finished downloading right as the credits were running.)


Next step is easy: let’s open Vassal. The first time you open this you will have to click “File”, then “Open Module”, then select the Dice Masters module you downloaded a minute ago. When you open this up for the first time, you will be prompted to create a username and password. Mine is “TRP Randy” if you’re wondering.



Hey, look at that, the Dice Masters module. The first window we see looks like this. “Step 1. Select play mode” Let’s start with “Offline”. Hit “Next” and we see this screen. “2. Choose side” Now, only the right drop down box is clickable, so let’s drop that down, select “Player 1” and hit “Finish”.


Wow, there’s a lot of things going on here. Take a deep breath, and let’s go through them one at a time.



You should have three windows open up: two player mats and the team window. The team window acts as your table to place your cards and dice on. Use the magnifying glass icons and adjust the window sizes by dragging the bottom right corners to get a comfortable view based on your screen resolution.


First, let’s explore the dice/cards. Click the button that, believe it or not, looks like cards and dice. It’s the fifth button from the left. Don’t let the number of tabs here overwhelm you. It’s all very organized if you take it slow. Notice the four uppermost tabs labeled “MDM”, “YGO”, “D&D”, and “Galactus”. Those are for different series of Dice Masters. We’re going to set up a test game.


Let’s go ahead and start selecting teams. This part is super simple. Just drag a card from the window down to a card space in the team window. Like so. (The same goes for dice) (If you drag the wrong card/die down, just right click on the card to delete.)



Since this is for learning purposes, let’s use my Dragon team I recently wrote an article about. And who will try to slay these YGO/D&D Dragons? Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: The Avengers, of course. As you see, we have both teams in the team window.



Now, the playmats. At first, I didn’t like the layout. But after playing around for a few minutes, I really think this is the best way to go. We see our playmat on its side, mirroring the opposing playmat. All of the zones are clearly labelled. We see our “bag” (square) of sidekick dice. This square knows to randomize the contents as you drag a new die to your reserve pool for rolling. We have a life counter in the top left corner. You can move it up by one, down by one, or just enter a new value just by ight-clicking on it. It’s pretty simple. I would like to see a play mat with slightly more muted colors, since all of the dice we will be moving around will be bright and vibrant… but I’m just nitpicking.


Remember how we had to drag cards and dice from cards and dice window down to our team window. Well, when we play, we just drag our dice from the team window to the playmat. With just that little bit of information, you now have the tools and know-how to play your own game of Dice Masters on Vassal. Don’t believe me? Let’s go through our first couple turns. The Dragon team is going first because.


First, we will draw/drag four dice from our bag/square over to our reserve pool.

Then, We drag a square around our four dice, highlighting all of them.


Once you do that, right click one of the dice, and select "Roll". If you want to reroll any of your dice, just right click on any you'd like and select "Roll" again.


I like this. Let's field that sidekick by dragging it to the field zone. Now we're going to use the Blue-Eyes White Dragon global. You don't remember what it is? And you can't read that small image down in the team window? That's fine, because we still have the cards and dice window selected to our left. We can just find the card on there to be able to read the global.


So we pay a bolt and knock out a monster, to reduce the cost of the next die we purchase by two.

So now we spend two energy (use the "?" as a bolt) to purchase our Half-Dragon. We move the Half-Dragon die from our team window to our used pile, and at the end of our turn, the dice we spent go to the used pile as well.


Now it's the Avengers' turn. So we drag four dice, and roll them.


We don't have PXG or anything like that, so we will just start building our team the old-fashioned way. Buy Ant-Man and Nick Fury. Again, drag those dice from the team window up to our used pile. End of the turn, our spent energy goes there as well.


Dragons' turn. We draw our four dice, pull the sidekick die that's in our prep area, and roll five dice.


For the sake of space, I will sum this turn up. I field the Sidekick. Pay a bolt to use the BEWD global again to reduce the cost of my next die by two. So then I pay three energy to purchase Curse of Dragon.


You get the idea. When it's time to refill your bag, simply drag the dice from your used pile to the highlighted, empty square.


You didn’t think we’d stop there, did you? There’s so much more on here. First, let’s go over how to save and load our teams, so we don’t have to select the cards/dice every time we want to use the same team.


First, click “File”, “Begin Logfile”. Give it a name you will recognize. I will call this one, “Avengers Test”. You will then be prompted to enter some comments if you want.


Drag a rectangle around every card/die on your team that you wish to save. (Notice the yellow rectangle that I dragged (drug?) around my Avengers team.)



Right click on one of the highlighted cards, and select “Clone”.



Go back to “File”, “End Logfile”. Boom. Your team is saved. Now, let’s exit out of Vassal, and go back in to see if we can load our team.


Offline Game, Player 1, and here we are back at the starting screen.



Click “File”, then this time click “Load Continuation”, and select the file you saved. Mine is “Avengers Test”. You will now notice that a button on the top is now clickable. It looks like the play button on a cd player.



Click it. Ta-da! Our team appears in the team window. You’re prompted if you would like to start a new log file. No need. Remember if you make changes to your team, you will have to resave it. If you saved your team as “Player 1”, but enter a game as “Player 2” you may have to reselect your Basic Actions, since they are in a different position now. Oh well, all of the important stuff is loaded properly.


Now… probably the reason most of you are reading this: online play. And we will get to that… next time. Feel free to get in to the Dice Masters Vassal module and play around, let me know what you think. If you have any problems, let me know and if I cannot answer them, I will try to point you in the direction of someone who can. Thanks for reading. Roll on.
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  1. Giraton's Avatar
    This seems like a much simpler version of what is available through tabletop simulator (which by the way, someone has made dicemasters on tabletop simulator, albeit with only the avengers vs x-men and maybe the uncanny x-men set), I will have to try this out, seems simple enough considering ive used a few online sims for other games.