Theme and What is It?
A great evil has enveloped the earth in the form of an ancient darkness, and his minions. He plans on destroying everything, including calling you late for dinner, and making the milk in your refrigerator sour. His name is Magmaroth, and he is wrathful, and needed more love as a child, when he was a wee Magmaroth. BUT, he didn’t get this love, and now, he is spiteful, and full of wrath. The only way to destroy him is with thoughtful rolls of the dice, and a RPG lite upgrading of your battle card. Will you have the power to destroy Magmaroth and his minions?
Have you played the competitive Dice City? This is the co-op Dice City. You are building a battle card, that is upgraded with other cards athe the game moves forward. Some of those places get ou additional resources, some insight, some devastating attacks, and you can also use one dice, to move another dice to something more useful. This is the next iteration of Dice City, under a different name, and now co-op.
Ever felt a game was a carbon copy of another game? This is The Master’s Trials. It is Dice City. Initially, I was a but perplexed at the necessity of this game, I could see without much imagination on my part, that the game was someone saying to someone else, “Could we turn Dice City into a co-op game?” and the other guy was like, “Duh, and the boss will ALWAYS be named Magmaroth!”
This is not increibly ground breaking game design. What makes the formula interestings is what I call, I am sure incorrectly, the player’s battle mats. This is the player board from Dice City, but is now customizable. Which also allows different players to specialize their character. Once you open the box, you will see what I mean. These boards make for a very interesting upgrade to Dice City and are not particularly apt for an expansion, they needed a standalone game. Thus, The Master’s Trials.
Quality of Components and Insert
I do not say this is Dice City co-op lightly. If you like Dice City components, you should like this, especially if you enjoy co-op. The insert fits the add-on battle mats perfectly, and in an ingenious, can’t quite fit everything in the box sort of way.
The Master’s Trials evokes a JRPG boiled into a board game. Even Magamaroth reminded me of old school Nintendo RPG’s, though not pixelated. There are enough fans of this style worldwide, that I need not be a fan myself. There is nothing wrong with this art style, it’s just not a style I personally enjoy.
It reminds me of Romancing the Three Kingdoms, though I can't say why.
Playing some games as co-op reduces the “take that” factor that I truly enjoy, but that makes playing with a younger audience frustrating. This game seems to be trying to make a formula that has worked before, more fun for a family setting. I think it has largely succeeded. The group I played with, really tried to help each other succeed, and actually listened to each other about their relative strengths. This took away the largest complaint many have of playing co-op of the co-op master overtaking the game. This didn’t seem to happen here.
For that reason, I would give this a relatively high fun factor.
Difficulty and Age Range Suggestion
The age range suggested is 14+. I tend to agree for one main reason, the logic it takes to build the battle mat is more than I would want to explain to a younger player.
I like The Master’s Trials. It is Dice City in a co-op. It is a game proposition for me that I would probably say if you own Dice City, you may not need this, and vice versa. Since there is not an over-abundance of co-op games that are to my liking, it could probably find a space on my shelf. In so far as rating this for buy or not, I would say, if you don’t own Dice City, and want a co-op, this will fit the bill nicely. If you own Dice City, I would be hesitant to buy this, unless you just have to have the diverse battle mats, which do change the style of play drastically.
I would give The Master’s Trials a hesitant buy rating, but since I have access to Dice City, it would not likely find itself on my top two shelves.
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