Sailor Moon Crystal: Dice Challenge is a game by James Ernest and Mark MacKinnon, published by Dyskami Publishing Company. It is for 2-8 players. In this game, players will take on the role of one of the many characters from the Sailor Moon TV show, either hero or villain. They will use these characters to battle against their opponents with. Players will be using various types of dice to try and capture their opponent’s dice with, earning themselves points in the process. In the end, the first player to win three rounds of combat will be declared the winner.
In this review, I will mainly be discussing the Standard rules for 2 players. I will discuss the various multiplayer options a bit later, in the Gameplay section.
To begin, each player chooses one of the character cards and places it in front of themself. They will then gather together a set of Starting dice and a set of Reserve dice, based on the dice shown on their character card. This will normally mean having a mixture of different colored dice, as the game comes with only 4 colored sets of 6 dice. The player’s Reserve dice should be placed near their character card for later use. Once players have their character card and dice, play now begins.
The game is played in a series of rounds. Starting off, each player will roll all of their character’s Starting dice as their Starting roll. Players should then arrange their dice in a row so that each number is easily read. The player with the lowest number rolled is the first player. On a player’s turn, they will perform an attack on their opponent, if they’re able. The player may choose to make either a Power Attack or a Skill Attack. To perform a Power Attack, the player will use one of their dice to capture one of the other opponent’s dice. This is done by using one of their own dice that shows a number greater than or equal to one of their opponent’s dice. The opponent’s captured die is then set aside near the attacking player in their victory pile. The attacking player will then reroll the die that they used in the attack. To perform a Skill Attack, the player will use two or more dice to capture a single die from their opponent. The numbers on the attacker’s dice must add up to exactly the number of the die that the player wishes to capture from their opponent. Once again, the captured die is set aside near the attacking player in their victory pile. The attacking player will then reroll the dice they used to in the attack. If a player is unable to make either a Power Attack or a Skill Attack, they must pass. A player is not allowed to pass or forfeit their turn unless they can not make a legal attack. Once a player has finished with their attack, their turn is over and play passes to their opponent.
The game continues until a player captures their opponent’s last die. When this happens, the round is over. Each player will then score points for each die that they captured, based on the number of sides on the die. They also earn points for each of their own dice that was not captured, earning half the number of sides on the die. Players will then add up their points. The player with the most points wins the round and is given a victory token. For the player that lost the round, they are able to move one of their character’s Reserve dice into their Starting Dice group. Of course, this move is optional. Once this move is completed, a new round begins.
The game keeps going with players capturing dice from their opponents and winning victory tokens for each round won. The first player to win three rounds wins the game.
One last thing of note, each character has a special ability that can be used at various times during the game. When using these powers during play, it’s recommended for the player to take a number of tokens that match the special ability and place them beside their character card. The number of tokens is equal to the number beside the ability icon on the card. For those abilities with no number beside it, this power functions continuously. Each time a player chooses to use an ability, they must set aside one of the tokens to indicate it having been used. There are 11 different abilities. There are abilities that grant an extra turn, allow a reroll of the dice before attacking or even recover a lost die. Some abilities will allow a player to bring in 2 reserve dice or even remove one of a player’s current starting dice. For more information on abilities and how each one works, please check out the rulebook.
This game comes with some great looking components. To start off, their are 4 sets of polyhedral dice consisting of a 4 sided, a 6 sided, an 8 sided, a 10 sided, a 12 sided and a 20 sided die. Each set is a different color, there are green, orange, blue and red sets. Each set of dice has large white numbers on it and the finish is marbilized. These are some really great looking dice. They are very bright and colorful. The game also comes with a good sized stack of character cards, 24 characters to be exact. Each of these is normal playing card sized and has a large picture of the character, along with their Starting dice, Reserve dice and special ability icon. The cards are a very good thickness and have a nice finish on them. The iconography is easy to understand. The special ability even notes what the power is in smaller and condensed text beneath the icon. Also included with the cards are 6 bonus showcase challenge cards that a player may place inside one of the plastic card holders that are attached to the custom Sailor Moon Crystal lanyards. These have a chibi style Sailor Moon character on them with a cute little word balloon for challenging other players at conventions with. These are super cute and have some silly challenges written on them. I especially like Tuxedo Mask’s challenge. The lanyard is super adorable and has a string of chibi style characters on it as well. I love how cool these look. My daughter couldn’t wait to put one of these on while playing the game, even though we were just sitting at the house playing it. The final pieces to the game is a large sheet of tokens. These consist of special ability, coins and victory tokens. Each token is made of thick cardboard. The special abilities match with the icons on the character cards, while the victory tokens are rectangular and have the words Victory Token written on them, surrounded by flowers. The coins come in 2 denominations of 1 and 2. To be honest, I have no clue what they’re used for. I have looked over the rules several times and haven’t seen anywhere they may be used, unless they’re meant for Tournaments. In any event, they look cool, even if they’re not used for anything. Overall, I really like how great everything looks. If there were one thing to complain about, it would be that I wish there were twice as many of each colored set of dice. While there are enough for 2 players to play with, you’ll need more dice to play with more players. Other than that, I love the cute and coolness of this game.
9 out of 10
The rulebook for this game is really well designed. All the information is laid out in a very easy to read and understand format. There are plenty of great pictures including a layout of all the many different character cards. There’s a great example of gameplay with detailed round by round details. Reading through this will help players to easily understand the basics of gameplay. There are several pages where all of the special abilities are explained in great detail as well. Each ability also has a picture of the icon that represents it. This icon is also found on the cards that use the particular ability. The rulebook also includes several different variants for playing the game. There are rules for Single Combat Teams, Tag Team Combat and Dice Challenge Tournaments. I’ll discuss this a bit more in just a moment. Overall the book isn’t that long but contains all of the vital information needed to play the game in various different ways. I’m pleased with the design and find it very helpful and easy to navigate.
8 out of 10
For many players, this game will seem very familiar. In fact, anyone familiar with the game Button Men will already have a good grasp on how this one is played. The reason being is that this game is based on Button Men. There are a few differences in the rules, but not many. For one thing, each character has a special ability that may be used at different times. With Button Men, some characters didn’t have any type of ability. Those that did, were only gifted with one of three different abilities. In this game, there are 11 different abilities. For those counting along at home, that’s 8 more than Button Men has. Each round of gameplay is also a bit different. Instead of a round lasting until each player passes, the round lasts until all of a player’s dice are captured with this game. This makes the rounds a little bit longer but gives more opportunities for come backs from almost defeated players. Of course that’s not all. As I mentioned earlier, the rules include several new ways to play the game. In Single Combat Teams, up to 4 players can play. This can be played in two teams with players controlling between 1 and 4 characters each. Each team should have the same amount of characters on each side. Winning is determined by a best of series of rounds. Tag Team Combat is played with 4, 6 or 8 players equally divided into 2 teams. In this version of the game, players tag in and out until one team is ultimately defeated. Players are even allowed to use the special abilities of their teammate’s characters as well as that of their own character. Like with the standard game, the first team to claim 3 victory tokens wins. Finally there is the Dice Challenge Tournaments. This is played with an unlimited amount of players. In this version, players compete in 1 on 1 matches while keeping track of their victories using some sort of token. Each player will start off with a number of special tokens which they must give the winner of their 1 on 1 match if they lose. If a player loses all their tokens, they’re out of the tournament. After the end of a specified play time, the player with the most special tournament tokens is the winner. As mentioned earlier, this game only comes with enough dice for really 2 players to play. More dice and special tournament tokens will be needed if players wish to play any of these special variants. Needless to say, there’s plenty of different ways to play the game. Of course for me, I prefer the original way. This game is a great filler game that looks really cute. I’m sure that this game could even be combined with the original Button Men or Button Men: Beat People Up if so desired. Fans of either of these original games should really enjoy this one, especially if they’re a fan of anime shows like Sailor Moon. I really like how easily this game can be carried. All of the components can be placed into a small bag and carried very easily. Like the originals, this game has a very small footprint making it possible to play almost anywhere. Fans of dice rolling games should love this one. My daughter loves the characters and really enjoys the fast and simple fun of this game. This is a game that I would highly recommend.
8 out of 10
Sailor Moon Crystal: Dice Challenge is a dice game of combat in the Sailor Moon universe. The game doesn’t take long to play. Most game sessions last around 5 – 10 minutes. The dice and cards are all very good quality and the artwork is cute and fun, like the Sailor Moon show. I especially like the added lanyards. They are so awesome. The rulebook is very good as well and covers everything wonderfully. I especially like the special ability break downs and the extra variants to play with. The game itself is fast, simple and fun. It does involve a good bit of luck, like any dice game. The game is small enough and has such a small footprint, that it’s easy to carry along with you wherever you go. Of course you’ll need to put it in something to carry, as the main box is quite large. Fans of Button Men should be very familiar with this game, as it borrows heavily from the rules of play in that game. Fans of dice rolling games and especially Button Men, should really enjoy this game. Players looking for a quick and easy game that works great as a filler, should look no further. Fans of Sailor Moon should enjoy this one as well. Overall it’s a great little dice game that should appeal to a lot of players. This is one that I would highly recommend. In the name of the Moon, it’s fun.
8 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Dyskami Publishing Company at their site.