Finally, after much sanding, effort, and help from my parents and two friends over four separate sessions, finished my Daedalus Mansions of Madness insert (I’ll take photos when less tired, also hopefully with bits in it.) Mixed feelings overall. It’s a really smart design with lots of cool filigrees and cosmetic touches, thoughtful engraving, etc. But this first run missed tolerances or something and became an absolute nightmare to put together, and even finally assembled is just a little sloppy-feeling. And the instructions are a bit lacking - the PDF that was eventually provided works, I suppose, but it’s less step by step than I’d like, and the original video was no help at all. I assume they’ve found the problem and future installments will be recommendable though.
Then we played two rounds of three player Dice Throne. This was our second and third time with the game and we all came away glowing and fired up about the whole thing. Both games were incredibly close and dramatic, and the characters are varied yet seem super well balanced against each other. Even the complexity 1 Barbarian, played in all three games by my friend Drew, may not be fancy but he is an incredibly real threat between intense damage output and significant self-healing capacity.
This time around we did Artificer (me) versus Tactician and Barbarian, and Paladin (me) versus Samurai and Barbarian. I won the former on the razor’s edge, choosing to take out the Tactician when I had the ability to rather than merely drop the Barbarian into danger range, and getting a very clutch kill a couple of rounds later on said Barbarian. The Artificer spends a lot of time building a status resource called Synth in order to build, upgrade and activate three robots (defensive healing, electric shock added to attacks, and the ability to detonate Nanites added to other players, respectively). The Tactician is, as you might expect, very flexible and has a lot of defensive options.
The Samurai won the second game, but it was incredibly dramatic. See, the Paladin has a really unusual dice spread (compared to most of the characters) and no basic attack option, so has significantly fewer viable roll combinations and not really any straightforward damage output. But he does have a passive that lets him spend the game’s currency (combat points) to reroll dice whenever he wants and buy extra cards, and many of his powers reward combat points. And he has several powerful status effects, including the Blessing of Divinity, which allows him to survive death once and cannot be meddled with otherwise. This only fires when he scores his ultimate…but I managed to do this in the late stages of the game with a bit of card-based dice-meddling. A little later, the Barbarian managed to do me in, so I popped back up with 1 HP left, vulnerable to literally any attack. But then I was able to pull up my Ultimate again, which would have eliminated either player and healed me and given me another free death save, effectively handing me the game…except the Samurai managed to slip the dice out from under me at the last possible moment, so I just ended up taking a bunch of CP instead. The Samurai then eliminated the Barbarian and…could I do 9 damage and take him out before he could turn back to me? Nope! But I got my Retaliate status, which would let me do half (rounded up) of incoming damage, and enough CP to upgrade my defenses and I had a special Paladin card in my hand that let me defend even more. I could, conceivably, take the Samurai down with me between Retaliate and my defensive power, or maybe even kill him with counter damage and prevent enough to survive, even at 1 HP. And I probably would have managed it if he had either gotten a big attack (which I could Retaliate into a lethal blow combined with my defensive power and the card in my hand), or done a weaker undefendable attack. But he managed to hit the one single attack he had that a) wasn’t worth Retaliating, b) was undefendable so I couldn’t use my defensive power, and c) did just enough damage that only 1 in 6 results for my card would save me. I used my passive to reroll twice and still didn’t quite manage. But good lord was it close.
I really cannot recommend this game highly enough.