I generally teeter right in between being a geek and a nerd. I’d say at the end of the day I’m a little bit of both, with tendency towards geek. The distinction to me is that a geek is more into gadgets and gizmos (and Gizmodo), video games, and how they did the things they did on Mythbusters. A nerd is more of a super-smart person who’d be able (and willing) to point out all the errors in the Mythbuster’s research method (though still enjoying it). That pendulum swung way over to the nerd side when my friend bought me into the world of Marvel Dice Masters.
I literally meant ‘bought.’ That wasn’t a typo. He bought a set for me. ‘Cause he’s a good friend (a bestie, even). Dice Masters is a game that incorporates dice (obviously), cards, and an intricate play mat. Kinda like Magic The Gathering but with more dice, and all comic book characters (whether that is more or less cool I leave for you to decide). I consider this more of a nerd experience because I feel like a geek would prefer to play the game in a digital format whilst a nerd would appreciate the old-world charm of rolling dice.
Dice Masters is my first foray into these types of games. I mean I played board games as a kid — I enjoy a good run of Mall Madness like the rest of ‘em — but the hardcore stuff like Dungeons & Dragons, the aforementioned Magic, and other games that I don’t even know of, never really interested me. Not that there’s anything wrong with them. But my friend’s been getting into board games in a hard way, which led to Dice Masters. When I hung out with him one of the handful of times I was able to this year (wife and kid + crazy job + out in Jersey = not a lot of hang time), he busted this game out on me.
I was skeptical at first. When they say Dice Masters, they really mean dice masters. There are a lot of dice. Granted, for me a lot of dice is like more than two, but even by Yahtzee standards, it’s a lot. There are a lot of things to keep track of too. Health, abilities, attacks, and special moves (to name a few) can overwhelm even an averagely-smart guy like me. But being open to new things, I decided to give it a shot. After finishing off said shot of whiskey, I attempted to play the game.
Turns out the game is pretty fun. My biggest gripe is the fact that the characters back stories don’t really matter. You’re focusing on the stats for the characters rather than who they are. So for instance, I don’t care that it’s Storm — I just care that she’s a dastardly wench who could botch my or my opponent’s strategy at any moment. You could just as easily be playing with My Little Ponies characters (most of which are dastardly wenches). Or just numbers. But then it would be more of a mathematician’s game I suppose, and I’m not good with numbers (though I know there’s 10 of them). Plus it would just be boring.
At any rate, there I was with my best friend, hunched over a dining room table while we grabbed dice out of a satchel, rolled them, and moved them around on our respective mats. I had a moment of clarity that was totally unrelated to the shot of whiskey (which led to all the unclear moments), and realized that I was entering a whole new town in the Kingdom of Nerd-dom. And you know what? I was pretty stoked. Cause I knew that I had just unlocked an achievement of the universe. Which is a statement my fellow geeks and nerds will appreciate.