It’s time to pick your Hero and fight to the death. Yes, set your health to 50, strap on your gun belt or sword and let’s dive into this fantastic creation from Nate Chatellier and Manny Trembley. A 2-6 player tactical dice and card game that will have you duelling till sundown.
Dice Throne: Season Two – Gunslinger Vs Samurai is a fun 2 player tactical card and dice game created by Nate Chatellier and Manny Trembley. It is a 1v1 duelling game where you start with a health of 50 and once you reach 0 you are defeated. It is part of the larger collection of Dice Throne games that includes 16 heroes from season 1 and 2, plus a cooperative expansion. Let’s find out more about this intriguing game.
What is Dice Throne: Season Two – Gunslinger Vs Samurai about?
Dice Throne: Season Two follows on from the successful Season 1 and has 8 heroes. Dice Throne: Season Two – Gunslinger Vs Samurai is a set of two heroes from this season and a really good starter set. Particularly good for introducing younger players to the game.
Dice Throne was born from a kickstarter campaign that created 8 heroes for season one and followed on with another 8 heroes for season two. Gunslinger Vs Samurai are part of the season two heroes. The game is popular with over 8000 followers on it’s Facebook page.
The complete game has 16 heroes in two battle chests of 8: Dice Throne Season One Re-Rolled and Dice Throne Season Two Battle Chest. Each Hero has its own unique aesthetics and playing styles to ensure that each battle will be different.
In this set there are two heroes: Gunslinger and Samurai making it a 1v1, two player game and a good option to try the game out without forking out on the entire Battle Chests.
However, you can buy more heroes in bundles of two or if you like the game then purchase a whole season in a battle chests. It doesn’t matter if your Heroes are from season 1 or 2 they are all interchangeable allowing you to mix and match. The game is well designed and as such there are multiple playing modes once you increase the heroes and number of players. Here is a list of available box sets:
Box Sets (season 1):
- Barbarian Vs Moon Elf
- Monk Vs Paladin
- Pyromancer Vs Shadow Thief
- Treant Vs Ninja
Box Sets (Season 2):
- Gunslinger Vs Samurai
- Tactician Vs Huntress
- Artificer Vs Cursed Pirate
- Seraph Vs Vampire Lord
With the possibility of 1v1, 2v2, 3v3 or even 2v2v2 plus other modes. There is even a Dice Throne Adventures expansion that will allow you to collaboratively pit your heroes against various bosses working your way through dungeons.
The beauty of this game is that it is completely modular so you can start small and add to your collection.
How well is Dice Throne: Season Two – Gunslinger Vs Samurai made?
Dice Throne: Season Two – Gunslinger Vs Samurai is a beautifully made game. It has clearly been well thought out and there has been a lot of effort to make sure that it remains in good condition.
Whether you buy box sets from season 1 or 2 or a battle chest they are all interchangeable or standalone making this game incredibly flexible.
Each hero comes with:
- 5 unique dice
- A hero board defining 9 abilities including offensive, passive, defensive and one ultimate ability.
- Hero leaflet with FAQ and detailing status effects
- Status Effect tokens
- A varying number of hero cards depending on the hero: Gunslinger 32, Samurai 32
- Combat Points dial
- Health Dial
You can easily identify each hero due to its color theme and keep them in their individual trayz. The trayz are good quality and keep all the components together and protected when not in use. They also make it quick to set up your hero. Grabbing your chosen hero trayz and laying it all out is quick and simple/
The truly beautiful illustrations and the graphic design are astounding. This is also a good option for younger players with the heroes not being overly sexualised.
This is an extremely well made and beautifully designed game that will be as pleasing to your eyes as it will when you play.
How do I play Dice Throne: Season Two – Gunslinger Vs Samurai?
You will need a minimal amount of space to layout each person’s hero board, leaflet, health dial, combat points dial and cards plus a space for the draw pile.
Preparing to play
Take out the hero board, unfold it and place it in front of you. Then drop down the Combat Points and Health Points dials. Set the Combat Points dial to 2 and the Health Points to 50.
Take the hero cards and give them a good shuffle then place them down in front of you.
Take the leaflet and read the information on one side to help with setup and also an FAQ. Once read you can turn the leaflet over and place it on the table to show the status effects. Take each of the status effect tokens on their respective places on the hero leaflet.
Complete any of the unique setup actions for your hero noted in the hero leaflet and finally place the die down ready to play.
The starting player is decided by rolling 1 die each. Highest die wins and that player goes first.
The objective is to reduce your opponent’s health to zero which eliminates them. Last person with health is the victor. If all the remaining players lose their health points in the same turn then the game is a draw. You can’t win if you are dead!
Playing the game
OK, this is one of the more complex games. With that in mind I think this is one of those games that is easier to play and learn than explain in words. I will do my best to give you an overview below and in this instance seeing is understanding.
So, below is a great video play through from Geek and Sundry playing through with Gunslinger and Tactician. Nate Chatellier, one of the creators, joins them to explain some of the finer points of the rules.
The game begins with each player drawing 4 cards from their pile.
The start player takes their turn and as the first player they miss the income phase. What does that mean? Well, let’s take a look at the game turn.
The game turn has 8 phases, although in 1v1 duelling you will only have 7. The turns are as follows:
- Upkeep phase
The phase is where you identify any Status Effects or Abilities that come into effect during. If so then they are resolved now. You also choose the order in which these will be played. Any damage and healing effects are accumulated and applied at the same time e.g. damage points reduce your health, health points restore. So a damage of 4 and health of 2 mean you will get a total damage of 2.
- Income phase (skipped by the first player in the first round)
You increase your Combat Points dial by 1 and draw a card from your deck. If your deck is empty then reshuffle your discard pile which then becomes the deck.
- Main Phase (1)
Here you can perform any of the below, any number of times in any order.
- Sell any card which will increase your Combat Points by 1.
- Play any Blue card in your hand. These are Main Phase Action cards. These have a Combat Point cost and when used reduce the Combat Points dial by the amount indicated. You then perform the action and place the card on the discard pile.
- Play a Hero upgrade card. This again will reduce your Combat Points by the number indicated on the card. If you are upgrading from level 2 to level 3 then you only need to pay the difference. Once paid for you place the card onto the corresponding space on the Hero board.
- Offensive Roll Phase – by the current active player
Anyone can play Roll Phase action cards at any time during this phase. These can be played on your own or other players and usually are positive changes for you and negative for your opponent.
- The player performs up to three die roll attempts. The first roll is with all 5 of the players dice. The player can then re-roll any number of dice e.g. they may only roll 3 dice the second time and two dice the third time.
- Once they are happy with their roll (they conceivably could stop at the first roll). Then the player can either:
– Announce the Offensive Ability they intend on activating which tallies with the thrown dice.
– Announce they are not activating an Offensive Ability. This may be wise if the attack you have rolled is weak and the opponent has a strong Defensive Ability. It could harm you more than them.
- At this point your opponent may have altered your dice in which case you can announce a different Offensive Ability or return to step 1 and use any remaining unused re-rolls.
- Finally, If one was chosen you activate your Offensive Ability, determine its variable effects. Then resolve any effects that don’t require a target like heal or gain evasiveness.
- Targeting Roll Phase
Not required in 1v1. This will decide who you are targeting in multiplayer games.
- Defensive Roll Phase – taken by the player who is being attacked
This only comes into play if the active player’s Offensive Roll leads to an attack. The player who is now being attacked will have an opportunity to Defend as follows.
- Resolve any effects from the Offensive Ability that requires defense and is not damage related such as Wither, Bounty or Steal Combat Points.
- Only if there is an attack and the attack is defendable then the player can activate their Defense Ability. If a Hero has two defense abilities then one must be chosen now.
- The defender now rolls a specified number of die noted on the chosen Defense Ability on the Hero card.
- Based on the roll the defender resolves all non-damage effects like Synth, inflict shame or gain combat points.
- At this point there is one last opportunity for any player to spend Status Effects or play cards.
- Finally, the damage, prevention, and/or healing effects are accumulated and applied simultaneously at the conclusion of the Roll Phase.
- Main Phase (2)
This is identical to Main Phase (1).
- Discard Phase
At this point you discard cards until you have at least 6 or fewer. Then add a Combat Point for each discarded card. Place the discarded cards on the discard pile.
The active player is now changed to the opponent who then begins the same game turn with the Upkeep Phase. This goes back and forth until one or both players’ health hits zero. If this happens during the same turn then it is a draw.
Is Dice Throne: Season Two – Gunslinger Vs Samurai worth buying?
There is a lot of praise for this game and whilst the instructions seem confusing a few playthroughs will make it all clear. The game is beautifully made and the graphics are just stunning. With the ability to expand your collection and have a choice of up to 16 heroes you are sure to find your favourite to duel against 1-5 other players. This makes it superbly flexible for most gaming sessions.
One of the things I noticed most whilst researching this game was various reviews saying something like, “I was really unsure of this game…..I am so glad I took the risk as it was worth the purchase….” Which indicates to me that if you are unsure then perhaps you should jump in and give this game a go.
Dice Throne: Season Two – Gunslinger Vs Samurai is a great starter pack to try out the game. It has slightly easier mechanics and doesn’t have any added mechanics to worry about like companions. This makes it good for anyone new to the game and particularly the younger player. Once mastered you could then add something like Huntress Vs Tactician – Dice Throne: Season Two to your collection or go for one or both of the Dice Throne Season Battle Chests.
If this doesn’t quite fit the bill then take a look at Santorini, a very simple and tactical two player game.