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Dice Game Review: ‘Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge’ from Dyskami

Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge from Dyskami Publishing gives gamers the chance to play out the duels that have entranced audiences of the manga, anime, and live-action Sailor Moon for decades. In the Crystal edition, the number of Sailor Scouts defending the Earth have expanded with Sailor Moon’s own incarnations and shocking character twists. New enemies have appeared, too, including the tragic Black Lady and cryptic Droids, creating a wide selection of characters players may choose for their dueling prowess.

The mechanics of Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge are based on the game Button Men from James Ernest, lending a foundation of solid gameplay to the rich world of Sailor Moon. Each player picks a unique character card, which shows an array of starting dice and reserve dice with varying numbers of sides. Different characters have different sets, such as Sailor Moon starting with two d8s, a d10, and a d20 while Queen Serenity has a less powerful d4, d6, d10, and d12. There are even special d1 and d2 tokens for small characters like Luna and Artemis. Each duel consists of several rounds where players roll their dice and then take turns “capturing” their opponent’s dice that had been rolled with lower numbers. Whoever has all of their dice captured first loses the round and adds their choice of new dice from the reserve dice on their character’s card. First player to win three rounds wins the duel.

The disparity in the starting dice is balanced out somewhat by the choices in the reserve dice as players may add more powerful dice in exchange for losing an early round. A greater balance comes in with each character’s special abilities, so that characters with lower dice values have potent actions that a clever player could perform at the most strategic time to turn the tables on their opponent. Pretty Guardians, who are fairly strong to begin with, are able to take an extra turn once per round. Luna and Artemis may have weaker dice, but they are able to re-roll before making attacks so that they can maximize an advantage over a large die that had been rolled low. Villains have their own suite of powers, including the Droids bringing in reserve dice mid-round at their highest value and the Wiseman stealing an opponent’s reserve die.

Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge works to match the power levels and special actions with the characters to maximize the aesthetics. This means that some characters may be less powerful than others, such as Sailor Mercury being hard-pressed to compete against Kunzite. Pure fans may stick with their favorites, while players focusing on strategy may study the special abilities to make their own choice. With the chaotic element of dice rolling, however, each game will be unpredictable until the players play it out themselves.

Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge is a dueling game for two or more players. Each duel is fairly short, lasting only five or ten minutes, making it perfect for quick play and repeated matches with new challengers. Expanded rules give options for team play, including tag-team in which one player steps in for another mid-round, much like in the heroic appearances during battles in Sailor Moon. Players may even take the game to tournament-level with players challenging one another to collect victory tokens and become the greatest champion of all.

About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.

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