MDM – Investigative journalism

MDM – Investigative journalism

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Writer_smallerMarvel Dice Masters

‘The big retailers got all the copies’.

‘They are purposefully short-shipping to create demand’.

People love a conspiracy, or any kind of story. The simple fact is that Marvel Dice Masters is a product that meets at an almost unique crossroads of demand right now. Gaming is going through a boom, so there’s that.  It’s a collectible game, those are particularly big right now. As though that wasn’t enough, it’s based around Marvel superheroes. How big are they right now? Have you been to the cinema lately? And finally, just to ensure no-one escapses, the booster packs are a Dollar. Just one. One Dollar! Who’s not gonna walk into a games store and not pick up one booster. Or two, or three, or more. I mean, c’mon. They’re a Dollar.

Did Wizkids print enough to meet demand? Actually, they over-printed on what they perceived the demand to be, and despite shortages, sales for boosters have still hit 7 digit figures.

As I have mentioned here before, playing M:TG put me off collectible games. When spending more money than your opponent becomes an intrinsic part of playing the game, that is no longer a game I want to play. Of course you can play Magic casually, but that wasn’t the scene around my local game store. A few weeks ago I managed to get my hands on a Starter Pack for MDM and couldn’t resist. A game that meets at the cross-section of games and comics seems made for me, so I went for it. I have only had the opportunity to play a few games since (weekly webcomic, what were we thinking?) but I am loving it. It brings back the old thrill of deck-building. Spending time between games combining cards (dice, in this case) to form killer combinations and clever strategies. It’s that puzzle that Dominion provides, but one you can mull over in your own time, and then bring to the table and test, see where it falls down, and then tweak. And then tweak some more, and more.

However, what I quickly realised with MDM was that you get very little in the Starter set. You can play a few games, but it is lacking in variety of cards and dice. There is simply not enough in the core set to play even at the most casual level. But as mentioned, the boosters are cheap, and it’s not like they are hiding the fact that you need to buy more to get the most out of the game. It’s labelled as collectible.

What I don’t like about it is what you get in those boosters. Two dice and two cards for a dollar is great value (don’t yet know how that is going to convert in Euros) but the cards are tied to the dice. In a booster you get one dice for each card you get. If you have a Wolverine card, you need the die to go with it. But one isn’t going to cut it. From what I can gather from playing the starter, to make the most out of a card you will want its full complement of dice, which is four. Three minimum, to make it worthwhile putting in your deck. So providing only one dice with each card means that you will need to buy more boosters just to fill your complement of dice for that card. While two cards and two dice seems like good value, far better value within the actual framework of the game would be one card and two matching dice.

6 Comments on MDM – Investigative journalism
  • Conor Harding

    Great comic series! Just to pick on a point about card games and M:TG specifically, spending more money than your opponent becoming an intrinsic (I presume here you suggest to gain advantage) part of the game is an old but common fallacy amongst players who gave the game a shot for a while, and then quit for whatever reason.

    You don’t have to spend a lot to play Limited formats competitively, for example. A good number of the best players in the country that I know are consistently scrambling to borrow cards at the last minute for Constructed tournaments 🙂 I see your point however, as it can be easily assumed money trumps skill and everything else in certain playgroups / stores.

    • I guess I never played quite enough to have a really good insight into this, but spend was definitely a factor from what I experienced. I am in no way saying that this replaces skill, though, or that it is the only element involved. And certainly I prefer the idea of limited formats -drafting was always my favourite way to play Magic. Always a great challenge, and a level playing field for everyone involved as well. I actually do miss playing draft.

  • John Withers

    Honestly, I feel bad for WizKids. They missed money by not knowing what demand really was. In a year or two we’ll be several well shipped expansions in and forget about these early dark days (hopefully) of missing games. Of course, I got mine from the FLGS as the last person on the list to get one from the first shipment so maybe I’m biased. I’ve been playing since day one.

    Hopefully Uncanny, Age of Ultron, D&D, Yu-Gi, and DC will all arrive to me as soon as possible (hoping).

    I want to go to the Dice Mine.

    • We were very lucky to get our copy of Marvel Dice Masters too, but unfortunately since then we’ve found it very difficult to get our hands on any of the boosters. I’d love some just to bring a bit more variety into the game.

      If there was a Dice Mine nearby, I would be there in a flash . . .

  • xero42

    major cities got priority which ironically meant we didn’t get the avengers v xmen starter till last month

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