As a lifelong RPG player, I have more than my fair share of dice around the house. I could probably bury a small child in a mound of dice if I managed to empty them all out in one spot. It probably stems back to my teenage years of playing Dungeons and Dragons when I first encountered these polyhedral-shaped objects. And that’s what first got me interested in Dice Conquest from WizKids Games. This small box game features a window on the cover showing a full set of RPG dice! 😍
Designed by Stephen Avery and Eugene Bryant, Dice Conquest lets 1-4 players team up to take on a variety of fantasy monsters. So sharpen your swords and memorize your spells as we take a look at this dice-rolling game.
Each player in Dice Conquest first chooses one of the eight heroes to control. Expect to find the standard fantasy tropes here: Cleric, Wizard, Rogue, Warrior, etc… All heroes have a unique basic and critical hit power.
Each round starts with 3 monsters drawn from the deck and played face-up. Then, the first player rolls the full set of dice. Some may be modified by the monsters in play. On a player’s turn, they must choose one die to use. Its value will be added to a monster, obeying any restrictions that the monster has (only even dice, in a specific number range, etc…). If a player uses a die that equals their critical value, they can also activate their power. If the sum of the dice on a monster ever equals or exceeds its life total, it’s defeated. Some monsters, once defeated, will turn into items for the players to use as a one-time power.
The round ends when either all the monsters are defeated or the players have run out of dice to use. Any surviving monsters will damage the players. If a player dies, the game ends as a failure. If the players manage to slay all 23 creatures, they win!
Despite my love of the theme and the cool dice, I didn’t expect much out of Dice Conquest. The light ruleset and minimal components had me skeptical that there was much of a game here. But you know what, the game designers created a fun little experience here with Dice Conquest.
First of all, it’s a really thinky game. You have at least 3 monsters to try and take down each round, so dice optimization is paramount. The best die in your arsenal is usually the trusty D20. Even getting in the high teens can slay some monsters outright. However, if you roll low with that die, you also have a lot of wasted potential.
Thankfully, one of the things you can do at the start of your turn is re-roll your chosen die. So even if your lucky d20 rolls a 4, you aren’t necessarily locked into that result. Combine that with player powers and items, and you’ll have a decent amount of ways to mitigate bad rolls. That being said, rolling well is crucial to winning this game, so expect some inherent randomness to affect your chances at victory.
But the decision-making in Dice Conquest is probably its strongest feature. Not only which die to use, but which character should use a die. Do you spend that 8 result now to finish a monster, or save it for the sorceress to use to return a spent die from the pool? Every decision you make in the game can be important.
This brings me to player scaling. I’ve played Dice Conquest at a few different player counts and I think it works best as a solo game. However, a solo game where you control multiple heroes. Let me explain. At its core, Dice Conquest is one giant puzzle. You have a limited set of resources and you need to use them to their fullest. Dice Conquest is wide open for a player to start “quarterbacking” the game if they think they’ve figured out the best strategy. As a solo game though, that’s not a problem. You can take all the time you want to puzzle out the best use for each die.
And I recommend controlling multiple heroes because having access to extra powers and critical abilities is much better (in my opinion) than the few extra life points. I played Dice Conquest two-handed and it was a great experience. I even solidly won.
Finally, for those looking for an even steeper challenge, the comes with optional trap cards. These are added challenges that get shuffled into the deck to make the game even harder. We were challenged enough by the base game, so I rarely used these. But it’s there for those that like a punishing difficulty.
Dice Conquest is a solid little game that’s probably a bit too long for a filler game but makes for a nice lightweight game to open or close a game night. With 8 different heroes to use in different combinations, that’s some decent replay value. However, the fact that you will use every monster in each game pulls that number back some.
But overall, I enjoyed Dice Conquest and think it’s a great offering for a solo gamer looking for a small footprint game. While it does work genuinely fine as a multiplayer game, just be aware of the opportunity for an alpha gamer to take things over. But I’ve always maintained that that’s more of a group problem than a game problem.
Final Score: 3.5 Stars – A fun little optimization puzzle with some great art and easy-to-learn rules.
• Works best as a solo game