It’s been a while since I experienced collectible fever, that crazed irrational gut level emotional need to complete a set or acquire something special that’s part of a game. Thanks a whole helluvalot, Wh!z Kids.
The newly released Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men collectible dice game is like tiny nicotine cubes covered in chocolate dusted with crack in a bag for $0.99. That’s probably not possible. It’s difficult for me to make drug references, due to lack of experience. That’s a good thing, kids.
The moment this hit town, there was a mad craze to grab every available copy of the two-player starter set. It was pure mayhem, like she-devil shoppers fighting over a pair of overly bejeweled butt-pocket jeans on a black Friday sale. I’m already tired of typing out Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men.
Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men (ugh) is a super-hero themed collectible dice game for two players, designed by Michael Elliot and Eric Lang. These are the guys that brought us Quarriors!, which is an obvious ancestor. Personally, I think they managed to improve upon their earlier design. Quarriors! is fun and does end with an exclamation point, but Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men is a better game, and it has a colon and a hyphen. I copied it and then pasted it so I didn’t have to type it again. This is not meant to be a review of the game.
I’m much more interested in talking about the fever it created. Typically, any game that has a collectible element is an automatic no for me. I dislike the idea that another player has an advantage simply because they were lucky enough, or spent enough, to get a copy of the super-mega-rare-limited-edition-foil Doctor Fartmaster card. I am also usually immune to completer madness. Other than what may be an unhealthy fascination with Rudiger Dorn games, I never worry about having a complete set of anything. I don’t care if I don’t have all of the games in a numbered series.
Why did I catch the fever with this dice game?
I think Wh!z Kids made a smart choice with their price point of 99 cents per booster. If I break down the happiness created by opening up a booster pack, then it seems reasonable that not only did I experience that “what am I going to get” anticipation, but I also end up with two dice and two cards for the price of a candy bar. That single event feels like it has a reasonable happiness to cost relationship.
If I consider the cost of all of the booster packs that I’ve purchased, compared to the total happiness that the game has given me so far through play, then the happiness to cost relationship is totally unbalanced; however, much of what I’ve liked about the game hasn’t been limited to actual play, but rather the experience of building a collection of dice and cards.
When I purchase a $50 boardgame, I feel okay about the purchase as long as I enjoy the game enough to anticipate the happiness value of potential future plays of it. It appears to have a value that isn’t tied to game, but rather my use of the game. Spending $50 on booster packs for a collectible dice game seems ridiculous, because the experience of building the collection is a fixed event with no future potential beyond the initial enjoyment.
What do you think? Have you had an experience with collectible games or collecting fever?