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Item - Diceman #2

Series: Diceman — no. 2
Contents: You Are the A.B.C. Warrior vs. Volgo the Ultimate Death Machine (Mini-Adventure)
You Are the Diceman: In the Bronx, No-One Can Hear You Scream (Mini-Adventure)
You Are Slaine in Dragoncorpse (Mini-Adventure)
Author: Geller, Simon (editing)
Illustrators: Fabry, Glenn (cover)
Stead, Ian (editing)
Skizziks (assistance)
Date: 1986
Guillermo's Thoughts:

This issue is similar in quality to the previous one, again containing three adventures. The first one, You Are the A.B.C. Warrior vs. Volgo the Ultimate Death Machine is a game of giant robot combat, which uses the speed system from the Nemesis story in issue one. This adventure, however, is more interesting because the choices are tougher and involve more strategy, and die rolls have a much stronger relevance on player success. These features, coupled with Steve Dillon's great artwork, make it an amazing experience, especially for people who like combat picture games like Lost Worlds.

The second adventure, titled In the Bronx, No-One Can Hear You Scream, pits the player as the magazine's title character, Rick Fortune “The Diceman”. The player character, created by Pat Mills just for this series, is an investigator of the film-noir kind living in the Depression era, who controls some ancient magical dice (hence the nickname), which give him supernatural powers, but also attract a demon whom the player can't always control. The impact this background story has on gameplay is obvious: the player rolls one die at the beginning, and the result determines which power from a list s/he controls. Being this a horror adventure, the player character is given body points and mind points, the latter being a measure of sanity a la Call of Cthulhu. The adventure itself, a rescue mission, is rather tricky to complete, requiring both good luck with the dice and careful choices (both of the rational kind and those which require the player to second-guess the intentions of the designer). Characterization and atmosphere, as usual in this series, are top-notch, and the story is genuinely horrific, which if I might add, is not something that can be said about most "horror" gamebooks.

The third and last adventure, titled You Are Slaine in Dragoncorpse, is a fantasy dungeon-crawl similar to the one in the first issue. It's worth mentioning that it was illustrated by Nik Williams, who also did the artwork for Armies of Death. The adventure is tougher and more complex than the one in the first issue, with several choices meant to mislead. However, it shouldn't be too difficult if the player manages to visit all the locations and recover all the necessary items. Characterization and writing are, again, excellent, and I actually laughed out loud at several of the dialogues and situations.

Overall impressions: the issue is of great quality, but as was the case in the first one, the three adventures feel far too short due to space constraints (this sentiment is echoed by fan letters appearing on this issue). The authors and editors seem to have taken this criticism seriously, since in later issues the adventures are longer and more complex. This issue is good enough, however, and it's an essential read for appreciation of the rest of the series.

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Diceman #2 Ad (part 1 of 3)
from Eagle comic, April 5, 1986. Thanks to Ed Jolley for the scan.

Diceman #2 Ad (part 2 of 3)
from Eagle comic, April 5, 1986. Thanks to Ed Jolley for the scan.

Diceman #2 Ad (part 3 of 3)
from Eagle comic, April 5, 1986. Thanks to Ed Jolley for the scan.