It’s time to step into the wayback machine and travel back to 1992, when the Imperfect/Perfect Cell Sagas first aired in Japan. The Z-Fighters face their toughest opponent yet, as the mysterious entity known as “Cell” absorbs Androids 17 and 18, ascending to his “Perfect” form and threatening the entire universe!
In the Dragon Ball Z – Perfect Cell board game, your task is to team up with other members of the Z-Fighters and quell this threat once and for all!
Dragon Ball Z – Perfect Cell is a dice game that relies on special attacks to deal damage to Cell, as well as heal allies and work to gather the Dragon Balls. It’s a 1-4 player game, meaning that you can sit down to attempt to battle the green devil all by yourself if you wish!
Each player selects a Z-Fighter, represented by a character card. Each fighter has a unique trait that may change the value of a dice roll, allow you to pass dice to the next player, or provide a bonus of some sort depending on what’s rolled.
Besides the characters inherent abilities, everyone can acquire familiar skills, such as Destructo Disc, Masenko Beam, and of course, the Kamehameha. This often will boost the strength & impact of particular rolls, helping you whittle down Cell’s HP even faster.
Besides damaging Cell, you can also work to gather the Dragon Balls. Gathering all 7 results in the full healing of all Z-Fighters, or the ability to bring back a Z-Fighter that may have fallen to Cell already.
If you thought this would just be a simple rush to deal damage, Dragon Ball Z – Perfect Cell throws one more wrench into the works. Each round, 3 new “threats” are placed on the board, with their own dice requirements to remove. So, in addition to beating down on Cell, you and your teammates have to do your best to fulfill the requirements of the threats, otherwise they all take effect at the end of the round, dealing damage and/or healing Cell.
The result is a frantic battle against a powerful enemy, and overall a pretty fun romp into the world of Dragon Ball Z.
When we played, we had a full group of 4 and played on the “normal” setting. You can increase or decrease the difficulty by adjusting the “threat” deck. The main comparison that we had to this game would be the Sword Art Online dice game that we reviewed some time ago, and I would say that there’s definitely a bit more going on with Dragon Ball Z – Perfect Cell. Unlike Sword Art, the villain is persistent, and the entire team gets to remain and play through the whole game. There’s also a better sense of balance and engagement when it comes to mechanics like passing dice and working towards a common goal (gathering the Dragon Balls).
Also, as huge fans of Dragon Ball Z, the vibrant representation of the intellectual property was also a big plus for us. The character cards and designs of the board, etc, are all spot-on.
That being said, there seems to be an inherent limitation on the variety when it comes to dice-inspired games. Even with elements of re-rolling and various threats and goals to pursue, it became easy at times to be detached from the game and feel like we were just “going through the motions”.
Furthermore, aside from the ability to tweak the number of threat cards and adjust the difficulty, there didn’t seem to be a lot of dynamism in the game itself. Once we’d played it through, it felt like setting it up and going for another round would look and feel almost exactly the same. Compare that to other games like Roar and Scythe and you can see how it might end up sitting on the shelf for a while.
Still, it’s a quick-play, and when you do execute a well-coordinated team effort it feels great. If dice games are your thing, and you’re a fan of Dragon Ball Z, you can’t really go wrong with this one.
Interested in picking it up? You can do so here!
Note: Many thanks to IDW Games for providing us with a review copy in exchange for our honest opinion!
Dragon Ball Z - Perfect Cell Board Game39.99
- Stays true to the look and feel of DBZ - great art and execution
- Elements of teamwork and coordination are rewarding
- As a dice game, easy to pick up and hit the ground running
- Lacks a compelling replayability factor - once you've played it 1-2 times, you feel like you've experienced it all
- Game either feels way too difficult or way too easy - struggles to find balance of challenge