Last time I got into Dicey Dungeons, I got into whining about the gross changes to the game made between the online demo free version and the final paid version. I also got into berating some gamers out there for their persistent whining about luck (“too much based on RNG”) in games. I still cry hot tears of rage that people are complaining that a game with “dice” in the title involves random numbers, duuuuhhhhh, but we digested that biscuit last time.
We’ll call that “out of my system” for now and boldly go forward with a character strategy guide for Dicey Dungeons, an innovative mini-RPG which, I feel, is underappreciated. At its core, it takes your RPG dungeon-crawler experience and distills it down to its key essence. It’s D&D without all the dragged-out talking parts.
So this time, let’s examine the very different play experiences you get with the six (seven!) different characters. You unlock them one at a time playing through the game from the beginning, and then each character gets a series of replays with added difficulty for quests.
Dicey Dungeons General Play Tips
Your character’s path through the game is determined largely by equipment. You will find equipment in chests, have the chance to buy more from vendor carts, and will be awarded the occasional equipment upon leveling up at some levels. All the characters have their own unique set of equipment, including the bear, although some equipment is common to all character classes. You will also have the chance to upgrade some equipment.
You have limited space to equip items, the rest of which go in your backpack. So you have to manage your inventory too, taking whatever equipment will be most useful going into a fight. The set of equipment you have settled on by the late game determines your build.
During play, you have to manage your health. You can pick up health apples along the dungeon path to restore some health and can also buy the occasional apple at a vendor cart. The rest of your health management is done through equipment. You may either restore health directly or shield against damage. Your health carries over from one fight to the next, but your shield goes away at the end of a fight! Be advised that shield does not protect you against poison damage.
Strategy is best described as “prepare for the worst-case scenario” and insure yourself against bad rolls and lucky enemies. You want a wide spread of equipment to handle different situations, including the cases where your enemy nerfs your gear. For example, you don’t want to have just one weapon because if your enemy cripples it every turn, you’re stuck. The categories of equipment are:
Weapons – They deal damage, duh. Some weapons also have a nerf effect.
Protective gear – Recover health and shield against damage
Dice manipulation – Ways to change your dice total
Nerfs – Hexing your opponent’s equipment or dice
Nerfs can be inflicted by players and enemies against each other. Some enemies deal little damage but drag out the round with nerfs to heckle you. Nerfs are as follows:
Burn – Causes dice to deal 2 damage to the player when used
Freeze – Reduces a die total to 1, regardless of what was rolled
Blind – Hides the die total from the player (doesn’t seem to be available to use against enemies)
Lock – Locks the die so it can’t be used
Curse – Randomly makes the equipment vanish for the turn when activated, wasting the dice spent there
Shock – Requires a die to be placed on the equipment to free it for use
Weaken – Makes the equipment worse for one turn in various ways, such as limiting the dice totals it can use or reducing its effectiveness
Various equipment combines some of the above effects. One weapon may deal 6 damage and burn two dice, or deal odd-number damage plus freeze one die. Other weapons combine dealing damage and dice manipulation, such as re-rolling the die.
In addition, equipment has different ways in which dice may interact with it. Most equipment can only be used once per turn, but some allow multiple or even unlimited uses. Some equipment takes any die, or only even or odd numbers, or a maximum or minimum value. There are also items activated only by a countdown, where any number of dice may be dumped into it until the countdown is completed. The countdown is cumulative from one turn to the next.
Each character also has special abilities. One ability stays with you all game long, and the other is called the “limit break.” Upon taking so much damage, your limit break meter fills up and you get one charge of that ability, which you may use at any time or save for a later fight. Sometimes you may want to build up your limit break fast and activate it at every opportunity, while other times you may want to save it for a later fight if you can finish the current fight without using it.
Dicey Dungeons‘ strategy mostly revolves around thinking ahead and planning. Things to be aware of:
The dungeon level’s layout, watching for which enemies you have to overcome before reaching which rewards
How many fights until your next level-up, as that resets your life total to your current max
Available equipment, and when it might be best to switch up
Your limit break, and the best time to use it
The enemy’s equipment, guarding for nerfs that might knock out your ability to fight them
Your equipment’s die total limitations, since having too many restrictions on what dice your can use just makes you waste dice
The versatility of your build: Do you have ways to work around problems as they come up?
In almost all cases, equipment that takes up only 1 slot is better. You only have 6 equip slots. Three items that take up 2 slots each leaves you with just 3 items in a fight; if the enemy curses or weakens those, you’re out of luck. With 6 equipment, you will always be able to count on having an option open. Also look for equipment upgrades, which sometimes reduce equipment from taking 2 slots to the more mobile 1 slot.
Dicey Dungeons Warrior Guide
The Warrior is intended to be the easiest starter character. Like any good RPG tank, the Warrior solves most of his problems by slicing them into pieces. The Warrior’s chief gear is heavy weapons and solid shielding. Being more of a tutorial character, the Warrior is pretty easy to run all the way through.
Warrior starts out with:
Special ability: Re-roll a die up to 3 times
Limit break ability: Double the next action
A sword dealing D6 damage
Later on, the Warrior gets an arsenal that will put his early sword to shame. The Warrior has an option to have a shield-focused build, which will both protect from damage and have a weapon which deals damage based on smiting with the shield. However, the shield still resets to zero after every fight, forcing you to rebuild it before using it to smash the enemy.
There really isn’t too much to Warrior strategy. His re-rolling ability makes you depend less on other dice manipulation equipment. His limit break is always a bonus; use it to double your most powerful moves. Your best bet is usually just to keep a versatile build open with as many options as possible.
Dicey Dungeons Thief Guide
The Thief is a nimble and inventive character, which rewards getting creative with his equipment. He has a variety of available strategies and gets some of the most efficient gear in the game, but his best options require rolling low numbers. The Thief starts out hard but gets easier once you have a fleshed-out inventory.
Thief starts with:
Special ability: Steals one random item of opponent equipment per turn
Limit break ability: Rolls four extra dice, all 1s.
A dagger which allows infinite reuse but only takes a maximum of 3
A device which splits a die into 2 re-rolled die
The Thief is the only character who can build a solid poison-based build. Poison damage stacks and counts down by 1 each turn. So if you poison an enemy for 3, they will take 3 damage this turn, 2 next turn, and so on until it wears off. It is not worth dealing only a little poison damage, but it is worthwhile to stack a lot on an enemy and keep it high throughout the fight.
Thief’s dagger can be upgraded to add D1 to every use. This makes splitting your dice into smaller totals even more valuable. A 3 in an upgraded dagger will deal 4 damage, but splitting that into 3 1s will deal ((1+1)+(1+1)+(1+1)) for a total of 6. The Thief gets a lot of equipment for splitting and re-rolling dice, which works great with his low-maximum, reusable equipment.
Because high rolls still happen, it is also wise to hang onto one piece of equipment which accepts high values, such as a countdown-based weapon. This allows you to dump those high totals you can’t use otherwise.
Because the Thief struggles in the early game, it is wise to keep either shielding or health recovery available at all times. Near the end of a fight, calculate if you have lethal damage this turn, and if you do, how you can also heal back damage with your remaining dice.
Budget your limit break to use those 4 extra dice where it counts. You don’t want to take too much damage since your health recovery resources are limited.
Don’t ignore the opponent’s equipment. Sometimes it will come in handy, sometimes it will be a dud. And of course, one select piece of equipment lets you play through the game as a Bear (see below)!
Dicey Dungeons Robot Guide
The Robot is one complex character with a hodge-podge of themes going on. While he has the potential for a powerful build, he takes a lot of figuring out! Practice playing through with the Robot a few times to get a feel for his groove. He gets easier by late game, but only if you have conquered his steep learning curve.
Robot starts with:
Special ability: A “CPU” which rolls dice when you click the button, but if the cumulative total of dice rolled exceeds the limit amount, it makes all your equipment “crash” and disappear; getting an exact total triggers a “jackpot” which adds special bonus functions
Limit break ability: “Autoroll” triggering an instant jackpot on the CPU and a run of dice
A weapon which deals a maximum of 5 damage
A reusable weapon which takes a D5 countdown to deal 2 damage
Dealing with that CPU is half the struggle with the Robot. This makes it necessary to carefully roll enough dice without overclocking, then use the dice before you try to roll your last numbers so you’re not out of your moves for the turn. Just remember, you’re probably being too greedy with the dice. Normally you’d be rolling 3 dice and having to live with two 1s and a 2, but now you’re rolling a 4, 3, and 2 and sweating if you can get an extra 4 out of it. The Robot’s CPU guarantees that you’ll have a minimum total across dice every turn. Count your blessings and use it wisely.
The Robot’s equipment is varied and powerful, so once you get the CPU handling nailed down, you’ll be able to exploit it on a versatile build. The one thing the Robot is good at is doing ridiculous amounts of damage in one turn. Focus on getting reusable weapons and a versatile layout to use all those extra dice you can roll. The Robot also gets access to some special weapons that don’t burn out from the “crash” effect, so you can save that weapon for your final roll.
The Robot also gets special equipment to manage the CPU, such as adjusting the total or triggering “jackpot” effects. It’s up to you if you want to mess with those; they do take up precious equipment slots and aren’t always useful.
The “jackpot” trigger gives you 3 options: Deal 5 damage, recover 3 health, or roll an extra die. This makes the Robot the only character to have a consistent healing ability throughout the game, even if only infrequently available. It’s a handy tool to have on tap, and adds another level of strategy to your turn.
Once you master the intricacies of the Robot, he just might become your favorite character! His potential is off the charts, and he gets a well-rounded range of equipment to work with.
Dicey Dungeons Inventor Guide
The Inventor is a baffling character who challenges your ability to adapt to constant change and come up with new strategies throughout the game. Since he cannibalizes equipment after every fight, it is impossible to develop a consistent build. While he gets 3x the equipment drops to compensate, this is still a pain to deal with. The Inventor starts out easy, but finishes out the game barely limping along, struggling to hang onto enough weapons to finish the final boss.
The Inventor starts out with:
Special ability: “Invent,” where he takes your choice of one out of three pieces of your equipment and turns it into a “gadget” which will be used only during the next fight; then it’s time to replace that with the next gadget…
Limit break ability: Re-rolls all dice as 6
A weapon which deals straight damage and on 6, adds a shock nerf to the opponent’s equipment
A reusable weapon which takes a D5 countdown to deal 2 damage (same as Robot)
A device which combines 2 dice into 1
The first thing to know about the Inventor is that he has a special checkbox in the upper left corner called “toggle gadget preview.” Always have that on, and you will always be able to see what equipment becomes what gadget. This is important since the process is not always intuitive; a weapon might become a dice manipulation gadget, for instance. The range of gadgets are generally the same functions as your equipment, but do not require dice to activate.
The aggravating thing with the Inventor is that you tend to run out of weapons fast, and also get very few if any items of protective gear. Furthermore, that “invent” ability is mandatory; you will lose one equipment per turn. The mechanism selects 3 items from your backpack and allows you to choose. You still have the standard 6 equipment slots, so sometimes you might never have the option to spend a worthless box you were lugging around for this purpose, while the Inventor insists on sacrificing one of your 3 most precious weapons.
Never sacrifice a weapon if you can at all help it! You will run out of weapons fast and be stuck with no way to finish. Have a designated pile of junk equipment to repurpose, and some reserved back-up weapons in your backpack. Don’t get complacent and head straight from one fight to another, because you will forget that you needed to save your last weapon. Instead, carefully manage your inventory before every fight to plan for the item you’ll need to sacrifice.
The gadgets are variously useful, but they’re only good for one fight each, so don’t get attached to any of them. If at all possible, think ahead by floor 5: You want to meet the boss with a good gadget by your side and still have ample weapons to finish them off.
Dicey Dungeons Witch Guide
The Witch is the hardest character in Dicey Dungeons. When players complain that the game is too prone to RNG and bad luck, they’re talking about the Witch. Her spellbook ability replaces the normal equipment + backpack model with a limited 6 spell pages which she must first roll before she can even use her items. While she does have some unique tricks up her sleeve and rewards creative play, she’s still tough going from the start and gets into frustrating situations.
The Witch gets:
Special ability: She can chuck dice at the enemy for 1 damage each
Limit break ability: Roll 3 extra dice
One prepared spell slot which is available from the start of every fight
A spell on the prepared slot which deals one damage and re-rolls the die
An uncast spell in the spellbook which deals 3 damage from any die
There’s a number of strengths and weaknesses to know about the spell-casting system:
You’re limited to six pages in the spellbook. Once you commit a spell to a page, it’s stuck there. You can only overwrite it with another spell in the same page, which erases the previous spell.
You get four spell slots. Later upgrades will allow additional spells prepared in those slots, but the maximum you get is four spells running at a time.
Once you have a spell cast in that slot, it stays there for the duration of the fight just like any equipment.
You can cast the same spell more than once in a turn, even repeatedly, as long as you have the dice for it.
You can cast the same spell in more than one slot.
If an enemy weakens, shocks, or curses your spell, you can recast the same spell in that slot and use as normal.
So this adds some versatility to the Witch which other characters don’t have, being able to renew her equipment at will. However, she pays for that by having to spend a percentage of her rolls (and quite a bit of finagling) to get access to her items in the first place. While the Witch allows some customization, she is at the complete mercy of item drops and even the order they happen, since she has to agonize about what to take and what to leave behind while other characters can happily stuff everything in their backpack and sort it out later.
One more handicap is that the Witch doesn’t always get extra dice when she levels up like normal characters, only one time per game. She also doesn’t get the “deal or no deal” green wagons on her maps, although those are generally worthless to most characters anyway.
One recommendation for aiming the Witch’s build might be:
Two dice manipulation spells. You start with the Cauldron, so it’s recommended you get a spell which gives you an extra die.
About 3 damaging spells. The Witch really struggles to end fights fast, only getting her first decent equipment right before time to meet the final boss.
One of either shield or life recovery.
Of course, if you can combine multiple functions in one slot, that’s usually better. Also pay some attention to the limitations of what values can be spent in what spells. Try to have something to do with every number you can roll.
Playing the Witch requires creativity and strategic problem-solving. You’ll often find yourself measuring whether it’s worth the die to re-cast a spell, re-roll a die to try for a better number, or just chuck the dice to deal quick scratch damage.
Dicey Dungeons Jester Guide
What are you laughing at? The Jester is a very well-implemented character in Dicey Dungeons, with a unique mechanic that has the potential to build into the most powerful character in the game. We’ve even had Jester runs where we could kill an enemy before they even got a single turn! The Jester rewards study and practice. Once you master the mechanics of his play, he’ll become your easiest character.
Jester starts off with the set-up:
Special ability: Can discard matching pairs of cards
Limit break ability: Auto-load free dice into matching pairs of cards to activate them
4 cards that deal 2 damage
3 cards that deal 3 damage
2 cards that either heal for 2 or equip 2 armor when at full health
The Jester’s deck plays out with 3 cards visible at a time, next to a list showing the next 3 cards he will draw, and a counter showing the number of cards left in the deck. The Jester has to activate a card with a die, then he will draw a card to replace it, keeping 3 in hand at all times. As you play through the game, you will be allowed to add more cards to the deck and even remove some for a price.
The Jester’s play style is all about the tempo. He gets 3 dice to play with throughout the game, but he can find and upgrade many cards which return a die spent. Thus, he can play through more and more cards in a single turn. The Limit Break ability, “Snap,” supplies the dice for matching pairs of cards in hand to fire off automatically. It is possible for the Jester to burn through his entire deck in one fight.
The major key to Jester’s strategy is in building his deck. You will want to pick and choose cards to experiment with what works, but you will inevitably find three strategy points overall:
SPEED – Cards that return the die or even 2 dice are superior, as they allow you to fan right through the deck
Theme – You get to pick a combo pack of cards which revolve around one of the game’s mechanics (Ice, Fire, Poison, or Shield), giving you a theme for cards that work in combination
Consistency – The more matching cards you have, the easier you can cycle through the deck with either discard or Snap
As with any equipment in the game, you will also obtain cards from vendor carts, chests, and level-up rewards. You will also have opportunities to remove a card from your deck, in case you want to thin it out for consistency or you made a mistake.
For your theme choices, we can make the following arguments to rank them in favor:
Ice – Freezing enemy dice is usually a viable strategy, since it keeps them off high damage and the Jester doesn’t get much defense
Poison – Poison damage stacks well, which is helpful because the Jester doesn’t get much through in the way of high damage
Fire – Burning dice doesn’t do much, but the Burn combo finisher is devastating
Shield – Terrible, as it is difficult to build up enough shield from one turn to the next in order to reliably fire off the damage combo
The Jester is slightly easier to run than the Witch, and tons of fun once you get selective deck-building down to a science. It helps if you’re already familiar with TCGs such as Magic: The Gathering or Hearthstone, because many of the same concepts carry over.
Dicey Dungeons Bear Guide
The Bear is an “Easter Egg” character which is only accessible to the Thief, who can steal the “Bear Potion” equipment form the Alchemist on level 2. Once transformed, you get Bear equipment and go through the rest of the game in Bear-mode. The Bear is limited in his options, but gets strong damaging equipment.
As a Bear, at the point where you transform, your lot in life will become:
No special ability! You lose the Thief’s talent for stealing equipment
Limit break ability: Hit for 10 damage!
2x weapons which deal D6+2 damage
Afterwards, all equipment you pull out of chests will be bear-themed. You do get some equipment options for dice manipulation, health recovery, and even nerfs to opponent’s equipment. Most notably, your weapons for the rest of the game are massively overpowered, so you will finish most fights in a couple of turns. This turns most of your strategy into “hit enemies really hard.”
HOWEVER, you lose the ability to do business at the shop carts. You can’t buy anything at the vendors, nor can you trade equipment at the “deal or no deal” green carts. You can still upgrade equipment at the anvils and recover health as normal. You even still earn gold, you just don’t have a place to spend it now because apparently bears don’t have pockets.
Finishing the game as a Bear counts as a victory for the original character prior to the transformation.