First Impressions: Santa v Krampus

So, I got the latest release from Dice Throne – Santa vs. Krampus. This was a Kickstarter earlier this year and I went for it because I am obsessed with Dice Throne. I bought Season 1 earlier this year and I’m debating when (not if) I will pick up Season 2 and Marvel.

So far, I’ve only played 3 games with these two characters, so these are just those initial impressions after learning their cards and dice combos.

Santa is essentially very festive Barbarian. He has a low complexity and is just a massive tank. He chugs egg nog to get boosts and uses cheer (bells) to re-roll dice. He is a great character to give to someone new to Dice Throne who needs to keep it simple – roll, combo, attack and maybe a card here and there.

Krampus, on the other hand, is a much higher complexity and better for experienced Dice Throne players. While his rolls can deal damage, the boosts he gets from the Rejects (misfit toys) are what really make him powerful. Krampus reminds me a bit of the Shadow Thief, trying to save up those combat points, not doing a lot of damage…until they finally decide to attack and it hurts. But you have to learn how to manage your cards and the Rejects’ powers since they are discarded after they activate and you can only have three of them in play at a time.

I think this set is great for a Dice Throne fan who is trying to bring someone new into the hobby – they give the new player Santa, which is easy to figure out, and Krampus provides enough of a learning curve that the experienced player won’t be able to just wipe Santa off the board in a few turns. But if both players are experienced in Dice Throne, the combo feels uneven.

I’d be curious to put Santa up against the Barbarian or Krampus and the Paladin or Treant (as I said, I’m only familiar with S1 rerolled box). I almost feel like they will be more balanced against other characters rather than each other.

I’m hoping to get a few more plays in during the holiday season. Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like using all your combat points to render your opponent unconscious!

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