Today, we’re going to take a closer look at one of the core mechanics of Visions of Zosimos – and one that makes it stand out from many other games – the dice pools. As you may know, every player summons a homunculus to send into the Afterlife to carry out his or her will. Though the specific abilities of any given homunculus vary considerably, they all have the same varieties of dice pools from which to do a variety of different things.
The three basic types are as follows:
- Body Dice: Body Dice are Red in color, and are used to cast Minion encounters. These are granted to you by your Elemental Essence card upon Homunculus Creation.
- Soul Dice: Soul Dice are Green in color, and are used to cast Ambush Cards, which are invisible to enemy players until triggered. These are granted to you by your Ego Essence card upon Homunculus Creation.
- Mind Dice: Mind Dice are Blue in color, and are used to cast Persistent and Direct Spell Cards. These are granted to you by your Alchemist Essence card upon Homunculus Creation.
These three pools form the core of any homunculus, and have to be considered carefully based on the type of deck you would like to play. All three of these pools are divided into Attack and Defense. Depending on what element you are using, cards may pull their costs from one or the other, but it is generally consistent within an element. Earth and Ice tend to cast from the Defense Pools, but Fire and Lightning cast from Attack. Once a game begins, the maximum of any pool is relatively set, but taking damage can reduce a pool, and certain effects can restore them. Additionally, some minions and bosses grant a bonus to a pool to the homunculus of the player that defeated them; these bonuses last for the rest of the current game.
Dice can either be spent to use a specific card, such as summoning a minion or casting a spell, or can be used to directly attack or defend against enemy minions, bosses, and homunculi. In the latter case, the attacker chooses how many dice to attack with, and the defender similarly chooses how many dice they would like to defend with. If a die rolls an even number (a 2, 4, or 6), it is considered a ‘success’. The successes are then compared directly between the attacker and the defender to determine the result. For example, if an attacker has 4 successes while a defender only has 2, the defending unit takes 2 damage, losing 2 dice from the pool they defended with. If a defender gets lucky, they can block some or all of the damage they would have received from a given attack, but be careful – if any of your homunculus’ pools reaches 0 total Attack and Defense, you lose!
Regardless of how they are used, however, once dice are spent, they become inactive and shift to the other pool. For example, if a spell used 5 Mind Dice from Attack, they would become inactive and shift to Defense. At the beginning of a player’s turn, any inactive dice in their pools become active, becoming available for use once again. In the previous example, when that player’s next turn starts, they would have 5 additional Mind Dice in their Defense Pool. Players must balance Attack with Defense to keep their momentum going. Don’t worry, though- inactive dice are still considered part of your totals, so spending everything from one pool won’t cause you to lose the game.
It should be noted, however, that homunculi are the only cards that have multiple pools this way. For example, minions only have a Body Pool. In addition, minions do not have shifting dice pools; when they use dice, the used dice become inactive but do not shift between Attack and Defense. At the start of the player’s next turn, all inactive dice on minions become active in their original pool as normal.
Learning how to use these pools is the key to your success in Visions of Zosimos. For more information on dice pools check out our two videos from GDC. If you can master the skill of when and how to shift the die pools of your homunculus, it will lead you to victory after victory! Good luck!