A Marvel DiceMasters Post: Any Given Sunday






On any given Sunday you're gonna win or you're gonna lose. 
The point is - can you win or lose like a man? 
~ Tony D'Amato (Al Pacino; Any Given Sunday - 1999)

+Wizkids Games shocked the DiceMasters world by announcing a rule change for monthly OP and storyline OP events. Instead of a best of 3 Swiss style tournament format, they've gone to a more manageable single, 30 minute game. You can read the official announcement here.

WizKids rolled the dice on the rule change and quite frankly, I think they just improved their OP events exponentially.

Why?

Because it means ANYONE has the chance to win.

My oldest son is a Vanguard player and every Tuesday night he attends an OP event with the same folks. Every Tuesday he ends up finishing in the middle of the pack, while the same people finish in the top 4 (in no particular order).

He has grown frustrated with the game. He cannot afford to go out and buy the best cards to get his deck to a championship level.

This sounds a lot like the playoff format for MLB, NHL and NBA. Their postseason tournaments are full of 'best of' games to make sure the better team gets the chance to advance. The teams with the most money, and spend it the wisest, typically come out with the most wins. They are able to buy the best players to create a championship caliber team. Every so often a low-budget team will break through and win, but for the most part you get the usual suspects.

What sport holds single game tournaments to determine the champion? NCAA Basketball and the NFL.

Two sports who, in their post-seasons, generate the highest amount of interest from spectators. Any team can come out victorious and advance to the next round. If a ball bounces the right way, they could find themselves one step closer to a reality not seen by low-budget teams in other sports.

Stepping away from sports analogies, and back to the DiceMasters world, this will allow EVERY PLAYER to COMPETE. This means the the game stays fun for everyone for a much longer period of time. Knowing that you need to bring your 'A' game each week or that scrappy team could steal a victory, keeps the game exciting. No longer can you mask your mistakes in a best 2 out of 3, where you can lose the battle to win the war. Every roll counts.

If you're complaining about the change, then you aren't a fan of real competition. It's like saying that if you lose, it had to be a fluke and you deserve a second chance. Both players deal with the same variables, luck factor or whatever you want to complain about. Instead of blaming bad dice rolls, shake your opponents hand and move on to the next one. They're rolling the same dice as you are, they just played their dice rolls better than you did.

It draws a high level of importance to every single game played. It means the girl who just bought her starter and booster packs has a chance against the guy who bought-in from day 1. It means the 12 year old kid on an allowance can walk away a winner against a middle aged guy whose job funds his DiceMasters addiction.

A single, 30 minute, game levels the playing field and shifts some emphasis from, what team will you bring, to HOW you manage that team. Now strategy is just as valuable as luck. Will you adjust to what your opponent is doing, or will you just play your game? So the dice didn't roll your way today...there's always next week. Oh, and because your opponent doesn't constantly lose, odds are they'll be back. And that's when you can get your revenge!

No longer will a roll of the dice be shrugged off because you can bolt to the 2nd match and try again. Every roll is important!

WizKids has just added the thrill factor to their popular game, which will shield it from players losing interest. The change will allow DiceMasters to expand to new players who have longed to play a game where parity exists. A game where players will hang onto every roll of the dice. A game where every strategy will be second-guessed by the loser and a sigh of relief will be had by the winner.

A game where, on any given Sunday, everyone has a chance to raise their fist high in the air like a champion.

For Clark and Diana, Things Weren't Always Super-Wonderful

Comic Book Resources has the first look at Superman/Wonder Woman #13 by new creative team Peter J Tomasi and Doug Mahnke. It's only a few days away but since this is one of those titles that I'm heavily invested in, as a fan, I needed to comment on what I saw.

Do you remember the telephone game?

One person starts off by whispering something in their friends ear. That person then repeats what they heard to the next person, and so on until finally the last person says, what they heard, out loud. Often times it isn't nearly close to what was originally whispered. Occasionally the basic thought still remains. In the end, the idea is, the more times a story is told, the more things get left out or embellished.

Peter J Tomasi is saying that what Geoff Johns told us about Superman and Wonder Woman's first meeting, isn't exactly the whole truth of it.

In the first story arc of the New 52, members of the Justice League were meeting for the first time as they were drawn together to combat Darkseid's army of para-demons. As the focus shifted back and forth between characters, Superman and Wonder Woman apparently had a lot more interaction than we were originally exposed to.

The latest issue of Superman/Wonder Woman appears to go back in time to show us what was happening when they weren't on panel. The relationship was happening as a backdrop to so many other moving parts. This is a nice way to expand on, what many detractors felt was, a 'manufactured romance' between Superman and Wonder Woman.

Which is a touchy subject if you know anything about it.

I love this relationship and personally it makes sense for these two to be together (feel free to flame me in the comments). That being said, it's too late in the relationship for it to seem natural. Rather than invest years into building it up, DC dropped a few hints and then made the plunge by having their first kiss appear on the cover of Justice League #12.

From the brief preview it looks like we could start off with a little 'love-hate' between the two of them. We'll get to see some romantic tension, which is something we sorely missed out on as Geoff Johns tried to build this couple up. Given that they met in the middle of a huge battle, it makes sense that they would've gotten off on the wrong foot. Their focus during combat poses a huge point of conflict, defined by their upbringing.

I'm very interested to see how Tomasi plays it all out.

Superman/Wonder Woman #13 comes out this Wednesday!

Marvel Movie Mayhem: Phase 3

Today Marvel had a live event that announced their full 'Phase 3' plan for their cinematic universe. Looking to create media buzz and trending topics full of gasps and squeals, they went fast and furious with their reveals.

So what exactly DID they reveal?

Nine movies in all, including a female-led solo film and a film starring a person of color. Up to this point these two characters are relative unknowns to the general audience, but Marvel wants to inject some diversity into their lineup. Never mind the fact that they already had two established characters that fit the bill:

War Machine and Black Widow. I understand that using War Machine would seem a bit redundant on the heels of the Iron Man films but for Black Widow, there's no excuse. Her character has been well established across the cinematic universe and is deserving of a solo film.

So before I go on a long rant about how upset I am that a Black Widow film wasn't announced, let's get into my thoughts on 'Phase 3' of the Marvel movie mayhem:

Captain America 3: Serpent Society Civil War

Release Date: May 6th, 2016
This is the movie that was slated to go head-to-head with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, until DC blinked and moved their release date up. Leading off by stating the subtitle would be 'Serpent Society', I immediately thought of a parody of 'Snakes on a Plane' starring Nick Fury, who calls Cap for help. Twitter account The Film Stage immediately tweeted out this photo to the right. By the end, they revealed what we all knew already; the film would be called 'Civil War'. I'm looking forward to this movie as it pits Captain America against Tony Stark. Not sure how this gets resolved in two and a half hours though.

Doctor Strange

Release Date: November 4th, 2016
With the announcement that Benedict Cumberbatch has been signed on to play the lead character, my excitement level for this film is growing. His performance as Khan in the J.J. Abrams directed Star Trek, was excellent and I'm sure he is up to the task of this role. Not knowing a whole lot about the character, my only experience reading about him is when he made an appearance in The Invincible Iron Man comic books to 'reboot' Tony's brain after it was systematically shut down by the billionaire philanthropist himself. Given that was a residual storyline from the Civil War event, I wonder if Dr. Strange will make his first appearance in Captain America 3. This movie is sure to tickle your senses and will no doubt be in 3D with magical special effects.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Release Date: May 5th, 2017
The sequel to the 2014 surprise hit of the summer, Guardians of the Galaxy, this movie will be highly anticipated. Chris Pratt danced his way into the hearts of, not only comic book fans but, the general audience. A Sci-Fi adventure comedy that came equipped with a soundtrack which was just as talked about as the movie itself, I wonder how a sequel can live up to the billing. We all knew a sequel was coming, but where will Star-Lord get new music from? I truly feel that while the story, action and characters were memorable...the music is the bow that tied it all together.

Thor: Ragnarok

Release Date: July 28th, 2017
The son of Odin continues his adventure in his third movie subtitled: 'Ragnarok'. Another story that is spun out of the Civil War event, I'm starting to see a theme here. Ragnarok was created by Tony Stark, Reed Richards and Hank Pym (Ant-Man). Unfortunately because Fox owns the Fantastic Four, Reed's part in this will be non-existent. It is one of the sad realities that stems from Marvel selling off it's properties to avoid bankruptcy years ago. Ragnarok is a cyborg version of Thor, cloned from one of his hairs after Thor was presumed dead. He was created to help combat the heroes who fought against the registration act. Naturally things got out of hand. We've all seen the Age of Ultron trailer where Thor puts Tony in a choke hold right? Hmmm. The most important thing though, is this movie is sure to have a shirtless Chris Hemsworth.

Black Panther

Release Date: November 3rd, 2017
This could be the first real threat to Marvel's perfect movie record. Everything they've put out has been gold and the only one people were concerned about was Guardians of the Galaxy, but that crushed expectations. Black Panther is the first movie Marvel will release that features a person of color as the lead. Where will we see him introduced? Speculation could have him be a part of Avengers: Age of Ultron, but that's still two years off from the release of this movie. Will people forget? Will the hype train go off it's tracks by then? I would love to see this movie succeed, but unless I tell you something about the character here, odds are most of you won't know why he's deserving of a movie. Quite honestly, other than the fact he adds some diversity into Marvel's lineup, I don't know why he's deserving of a movie. Odds are he'll replace Spider-Man's role in the whole 'Civil War' event and spin out into his own movie from there. I hope it's successful. He'll be the first black comic book character in a solo film since Wesley Snipes played 'Blade'.

Avengers Infinity War Part 1 & 2

Release Date(s): May 4th, 2018 & May 3rd 2019
No doubt these films will be on an aggressive Peter-Jackson-Lord-of-the-Rings-saga style schedule, they will be the penultimate chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Could it be the end of comic book properties on film for Marvel? Probably not, but it could be the end of the Avengers story that started back with 2008's 'Iron Man'. Thanos will finally see his day in a prominent role on the big screen. By the year 2019 most general audiences could be suffering from a comic book movie overdose and the Infinity War is just the place to collapse the universe. At least for the Avengers. Iron Man, Thor and Captain America will all have had 3 movies and it's not often you see a franchise do more than that. Especially when you hire A-list actors to play the parts. They typically will want to move on and do other things. Thankfully deconstructing the Avengers in this final chapter will enable Marvel to step into the next decade by introducing new characters from their expansive lineup.

Captain Marvel

Release Date: July 6th, 2018
Let me preface this by saying I'm glad that Marvel is planning a female led solo film. Let me also say it's not the one I wanted them to do. Captain Marvel is a great character and I'm sure she'll play an important role as these movies roll on, that being said it's sad that She-Hulk (who is one of Marvel's longest standing female characters in comic books) or Black Widow (who is highly established in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) will not be getting their own movie. She-Hulk would've been redundant and too high of a risk given HULK's failed movies. So I get that. Black Widow, however, would have been and should have been an amazing spy-thriller much like typical James Bond movies are. Captain Marvel will need to be built up before her solo movie drops or it will surely fail. There just aren't enough people in the general audience who know the character. I'm looking forward to seeing who they cast to direct and star in this movie.

Inhumans

Release Date: November 1st, 2018
I've seen people clamoring for an Inhumans movie and they'll finally get it...in 4 years. If you've been watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., they've been hinting at Inhumans for quite some time now. There's a good chance if the show remains on the air long enough, it'll lead right into the 'Inhumans' movie with Skye taking center stage. If Black Panther isn't the movie to break Marvel's box office blitzkrieg, then Inhumans is sure to do it. An even less known commodity than Guardians of the Galaxy, Inhumans will have to find a way to appeal to general audiences in a way that will allow it to step out of 'cult status'. I've never personally met anyone who has read an Inhumans comic book, nor do they get talked about much. It's an idea that people get behind though because the people who love it...REALLY love it. They're passionate and I applaud them for it, however I just don't see how it can be successful at the box office. Marvel has 4 years to build up to it and if any studio has a plan in place, it's them. I'm interested to see when the hype-train leaves the station for this one.

So that's it! If you're still reading, I cannot express to you enough how grateful I am for it. There is a lot to take in here. Since I currently have blisters on my fingertips, I'm going to wrap this up by saying Marvel certainly dropped a mega-ton-gamma-radiated bombshell on it's fans. It should be a wild ride and the next 5 years will be filled with cinematic comic book goodness!

Which movie are you most looking forward to?


A Marvel Dice Masters Post: Gearing Up for Uncanny X-Men

It has been a long and grueling 5 months for many Marvel Dice Masters players. While some have been able to continue to get new product by attending OP's and WKO's, many of us in smaller rural areas have not seen new product since last May.

All of that changes tomorrow.

Uncanny X-Men is the expansion set for Marvel Dice Masters, promising new (and many repeated) characters that can be added to our teams. New powers, new mechanics and new basic actions that many of us hope will fix the meta and other broken cards.

This expansion was supposed to hit shelves last Wednesday, but WizKids announced a last minute shipping issue prevented the west coast from getting their product on schedule. This, in turn, caused delays for the rest of us because they wanted to release it all at the same time. Fair is fair I suppose!

One of my sons has lost interest in the game, the other is chomping at the bit for Uncanny. Even my daughter, who enjoys playing the game at 9 years old, is looking forward to seeing new cards. My friends and I have gathered around my dining room table and have faced each other in more matches than I can count. We've tried as many combinations as we could with zero product to speak of outside a starter set and 20-30 boosters.

I'm eager to have the cards in my hand so I can go through strategies. I've seen card lists and their descriptions but quite honestly, none of that matters to me in a strategic sense. Sure it's cool to see what's out there, but I don't want to waste my time studying cards I may never have in my hands to play. I won't start putting my strategies together until I see what I have in front of me. Since I'm not a hunter, I won't go looking for cards and dice to purchase individually to improve my team. I'm a gatherer; I pick up what I can find and make the most of it.

I play the hand that's dealt to me. There are a lot of great resources out there for tips, tricks and strategies including the website, Dice Anon. They have a great article that breaks down every card in the Uncanny X-Men set. After I get my boosters home; who am I kidding, I'm not waiting that long! After I open my boosters, I'm sure to go back to that article for reference as I target specific cards to build teams with.

So tomorrow I'll go to my local game shop, pick up my comic books and buy my Uncanny X-Men starter along with 20-30 boosters. I'll see what I have to work with, and develop my strategy from there.

Hopefully, we can start getting some OP events at the store as well. I love my kids (and friends), but I really need new opponents to meet and challenge!

For more Marvel Dice Masters posts by me, check out:
Marvel Dice Masters is Flying Off the Shelves, But is it any Good?

It Theme's Impossible (But Cyclops Rocks)!



Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer - No Strings Attached!

If you haven't seen it yet, you must be:

A) living under a rock.
or
B) NOT living on social media sites

The trailer was leaked, initially, and then officially released by Marvel so we can have it in all of it's explosive HD goodness. And yes, I'm going to share it here because it's awesome. And it's my blog, so I can do what I want.


Warning: This trailer looks all 'doom and gloom' with melodramatic over AND undertones, but let's be honest. It's Marvel and Joss Whedon. There will be plenty of snappy one-liners and slapstick comedy to numb us all to the apocalyptic, world decimating, Michael Bay-ish destruction porn.



Batman v Superman: The Price of Justice

The folks over at ASONS solicitors created this cool info-graphic, detailing the cost of personal injury claims that could be made by Superman and Batman. Thanks to these two alone, all of us could be seeing an increase in our premiums. With the 'World's Finest' insurance customers ready to square off in 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, let's take a look to see who has filed the more expensive claims over the years!

You think maybe there's a discount available for non (sorry Lobo) smokers?

If Superheroes Could Make Personal Injury Claims
An Infographic by Asons Solicitors

Knee-Jerk Reaction: Marvel Cancels She-Hulk!

Add She-Hulk to the list of characters that Squirrel Girl has defeated.

Marvel comics has released their January solicits and it's clearly labeled that She-Hulk #12 is the final issue.

This seriously feels like something DC would do, doesn't it? And they'd take loads of crap for doing it. Message boards and twitter would be exploding with criticism as to why they can't seem to get anything right. And although She-Hulk is trending on twitter at the time of this post, it's different.

This is Marvel we're talking about. They hold a significant amount of top ten books each month (except in September because DC variants rule all) and their movies live in a fantasy world where people just throw money at them.

I'm betting that the people at Marvel think they can pretty much do anything they want at this point.

Marvel NOW branding allows them to cancel a title, only to re-launch it with a new #1 issue and a freshly squeezed adjective. Maybe that is what's happening here, but honestly the backlash is warranted (and encouraged) until fans get an explanation.

Charles Soule, who writes the She-Hulk comic book, just signed an exclusive deal to write for Marvel and this is how he's rewarded?



Looking forward to it!

Update: We finally have a response from Charles Soule. He says a lot of nice things and is very gracious to the outcry of support. However that being said, the one thing to take from all of this is:

"In this day and age, every book has to justify its existence on a financial level, even one as beloved as She-Hulk. Comics is still a business, and there are considerations beyond the creative."

Good books get cancelled all the time because they don't get the financial backing. If you're reading a book you enjoy, it will need the financial backing as well. In a market where people look to cut corners on what they spend money on, these books need every sale they get to stay on the shelf. So support the good ones with your hard earned dollars and then sing its praises to convince others to do the same.

image courtesy of comic vine