Todoke! Fly At Higher Game! - Yu-Gi-Oh Dice Masters Starter Set Review

Of all the Dice Master sets to be released, this is by far the weirdest one of the lot. Superheroes are an obvious and popular theme to use. The influence of Dungeons and Dragons is widespread. But Yu-Gi-Oh is just one anime show out of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands, I swear my friend mentions 2-3 new shows every time I see him) so I find it odd that this was chosen to be a whole Dice Master set all on its own. However bear in mind that this was the first set that was "designed" by the publisher, but not the first one released.

If we're going to get nit picky on the anime choice, I'd have got more excited to see a Dragonball Z Dice Masters - aw come on, tell me you wouldn't want to see that? Goku and Vegeta going up against Frieza and Cell in dice combat? Though I would laugh at what stats the Krillin dice would have.............ok I'm digressing way too far into geeky territory here and probably lost most of my non-anime inclined readers so let's get back to the plot (whistles Cha-La-Head-Cha-La theme).

The starter pack looks like all the others at first glance, just with a niche theme attached to it. No doubt I expect that it will include new mechanics and some crafty combos with other sets, but as before I want to also rate it based on its standalone capabilities. But is the theme a little too specific here to appeal to the masses?

Designers: - Mike Elliott and Eric Lang (2015)
Publisher: - Wizkids
# of Players: - 2
Ages: 14+
Time: 15-30 Minutes
Category : Dice

Taking Short-Cuts

I started with subjective artwork from the superhero sets, then moved to gorgeous visuals with Dungeons and Dragons. Here, it's a step backwards as the art is essentially low resolution screen captures from the anime show. They don't look that bad by any means, after all, Japanese animation looks great most of the time, but this is something I expected more when I was digging into old Collectable Card Games of the late 90's. It's a minor quibble though and more my subjective opinion as many will be fine with this.

The cards are the same thickness as before so expect some bending in boosters and of course who can forget that you'll be likely replacing the "sick" bags provided for holding your dice during games, but at least the dice are still of decent quality. You get the same amount of sidekick dice and character dice as you did before (see my D&D Dice Masters review), but strangely unlike previous sets you only get one card for each of the eight monsters in the pack. Normally you get three, which allows for some basic creative team building even from a starter set, but with only one your options are extremely limited and yet the price tag is no different. I feel though this has something to do with the ominous serial numbers that show up on the dice. . . .

Who or What Is That?

Now this next section can be taken with a pinch of salt. My entire knowledge of Yu-Gi-Oh is derived from the old classic Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged series that used to run on YouTube (plus I like the original theme song, hence the title). So as you can tell, it's somewhat limited, but I feel it makes this part even more relevant. Ask most people that you meet and they'll be able to name you their favourite superheroes and villains. Show most geeks a collection of fantasy characters and monsters and they'll likely grasp what they represent. But here if you have not seen the Yu-Gi-Oh show, you won't have a clue what any of these characters and monsters are.

The general jist of the show is a card game being played out on-screen (much like Cardfight Vanguard if you've ever seen that) with the various cards manifesting themselves as holographic constructs for visual effect. The cards in this Dice Master set mainly represent those various creatures and constructs so having knowledge of the show is required to experience any kind of theme here (assuming you see much of that in Dice Masters in general). Of course this goes for all the Dice Master sets, but it's certainly more apparent here.

Collecting Gone Crazy

One thing you will notice on the dice that I hinted at earlier is that each one has a serial number on it which match the number of cards in the set. All the cards will have a number as well. In the official rules, in order to use a card, you must also be using at least one die with a matching number.

I'm so glad that they stopped this for other sets, because if they had stuck with it, I probably would never have got into Dice Masters in the first place. This is a bad idea, full stop. It's incredibly restrictive with the trading aspect of collectible games and considering the dice are only small objects, you just know that a die is going to go missing from time to time whether by a small child stealing it or a large dog eating it. In casual settings this isn't a problem as this is only a tournament restriction and I don't know anyone outside of tournament play who enforces this restriction.

As stated however this was the first Dice Master set they had in mind, but not the first one that was released. So all the other Dice Master sets don't have this serial number issue and they also have better artwork. The abilities have found their way into mixed tournament decks, though not to as great an extent as D&D Dice Masters so you might want to look up a few spoilers in advance, but games can be very varied


On its own, despite the limited options available, the set works fine on its own and will certainly entertain fans of the show. Of course there in lies the biggest issue. Most geeks will know a lot of superheroes or fantasy concepts, but only anime fans are going to know everything about Yu-Gi-Oh and even then you have to have watched the show itself to known anything that comes up on the cards. If you're mixing sets all over the place then this won't necessarily bother you as theme will have taken a back seat anyway.

Some cards have appeared in some high tier mixed decks in the tournament scene, though not to as great an extent as the Marvel cards or Dungeons and Dragons. Mix-aholics will want to splash into this set, but might not necessarily need to grab every card especially when the serial number problem can restrict your ability to trade.

For me personally, this is a set I won't need, but as I said my knowledge of Yu-Gi-Oh is extremely limited. In game terms however, the mechanics are as solid as any other Dice Master set meaning it's great fun to play. If you're a fan of the show, then certainly I'd recommend picking this set up eventually, but I'd start out with any one of the other sets first if you're just dipping your toes into the game to see how hot it is.

You Will Like This Game If:

You enjoy Dice Masters and want to go crazy on mixing genres.

You watch the anime series and have a basic knowledge of the characters and cards.

You want a collectable game that if handled correctly, won't drain your wallet as much as CCG's.

You Will Not Like This Game If:

You own all the superhero sets and have no interest in mixing genres.

You don't intend to expand the game - the starter set in this case is extremely limited in what you can do.

You have no knowledge of Yu-Gi-Oh - none of these characters are going to make any sense if you don't watch the show.