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5 tips for surviving the Cuphead board game’s brutal difficulty (Sponsored by The Op)

Here's a real high-class bout!
Cuphead Fast Rolling Dice Game
Image: The Op

This article is sponsored by The Op.

The Cuphead board game is just as challenging as the original video game, pitting up to four players (or you by yourself in its single-player mode) in a boss rush against eight of the big bads from the cartoony side-scroller.

Cuphead: Fast Rolling Dice Game skips the platforming parts of the retro-styled side-scroller, jumping straight into each level’s final confrontation with evil vegetables, fire-spitting dragons, King Dice and even The Devil himself. Each boss has a unique set of moves that must be dealt with across multiple phases, with players needing to use everything at their disposal to survive.

To bring down their foes and achieve a knockout as Cuphead, Mugman, Ms. Chalice and the Elder Kettle, the players must quickly roll dice against a ticking timer, giving them only seconds to assign dice on their player board to dodge boss attacks and shoot back.

With victory coming down to split-second decisions, careful planning and a good bit of luck, the Cuphead board game will test your skills to the limits. Don’t be disheartened by the steep challenge - overcoming the tough difficulty is absolutely part of the fun.

To help you fight your way to Inkwell Hell and back again, we’ve put together these essential tips to mastering Cuphead: Fast Rolling Dice Game so you can earn an A+ high score on every fight. It's on!


1. Practise against easier bosses

Cuphead Fast Rolling Dice Game
The Cuphead board game includes eight unique bosses for players to test their skill against. Image: The Op

The eight bosses in Cuphead: Fast Rolling Dice Game ramp up in complexity and difficulty, introducing new gameplay mechanics to the board game’s fast-paced dice rolling. Each boss itself has multiple different phases - just like the video game - that require players to deal more damage to progress and overcome different attack cards by assigning their dice.

While the board game’s campaign-like structure is designed for players to work their way through from the first boss - The Root Pack - to the punishing final showdown with The Devil, there’s nothing stopping you from replaying earlier bosses to get used to rolling and assigning dice against the clock. While later bosses layer on extra things to think about, mastering the basics first before you step up to the next level will mean that the core loop soon becomes second nature.


2. Learn when to dodge and when to shoot

Cuphead Fast Rolling Dice Game
Players must assign their dice results carefully to bring down the boss without losing their own HP. Image: The Op

One of the biggest decisions players face while playing Cuphead: Fast Rolling Dice Game is when and where to assign their dice. Matching symbols must be assigned to dodge boss attacks, but there are windows for players to shoot back using their own moves, dealing damage to the boss and progressing the fight.

Making this an even trickier choice is the rule that dice must be assigned to boss attack cards in order from left to right, so you can’t decide to go back and attack if you’ve already missed the window. Attack too much, though, and you might find yourself running out of dice to dodge attacks later on - leaving you with no choice but to take the hit and lose precious HP.

Players can also choose to assign dice to Wallop attack cards that appear in a boss’ deck, giving them the chance to draw Wallop cards that have helpful abilities and extra symbols for dodging and attacking. But Wallop cards also mean a boss will attack with an extra card during a round, often requiring all of the players’ dice results to avoid.

Learning when to spend dice on attacking and when to save them to dodge upcoming boss moves is crucial to reaching the highest scores of the Cuphead board game - get that under your belt and you’ll be able to take down bosses in no time.


3. Adjust the difficulty

Cuphead Fast Rolling Dice Game
Rounds last for just a few seconds, but you can give yourself a little more time to think on easier difficulty levels. Image: The Op

Like many retro video games, Cuphead is partly so difficult because of its speed. Players have milliseconds to dodge enemies, fire off attacks and hop across platforms before they take damage. The board game captures the same sense of urgency by using a timer to limit rounds to literally seconds, with players having to roll and assign their dice against the clock before the boss unleashes its moves.

While players can choose to use their own timer to measure rounds in Cuphead: Fast Rolling Dice Game, an official companion app can be downloaded for iOS and Android devices, letting you easily time turns and track your score.

While making your rounds shorter will earn you the most points and those A+ grades, beginners will probably want to give themselves a little more thinking time - there’s no need to pile all the pressure on at once. Rounds can be set to 10, 15 or 20 seconds long, offering easy, medium and hard difficulty levels for players to tackle as their skill increases.


4. Spend your coins wisely

Cuphead Fast Rolling Dice Game
Players begin the game with the same equipment but can buy different weapons and charms at Porkrind's Emporium. Image: The Op

Take down one of the eight bosses in the Cuphead board game and you’ll be richly rewarded with precious coins. And what do you do with coins? Spend them, of course!

Players can visit Porkrind’s Emporium at the end of each level to swap their hard-earned cash for equipment that will help them in future battles. Each charm, weapon and super art has its own unique benefits - from extra health to dealing more damage - that will help the players overcome their next foe, so choosing what to take with you is important, especially as you can’t swap halfway through a level. You’ll definitely want to upgrade that starter Peashooter for something with a bit more oomph, so don’t just save those coins either.

Players can also gain new abilities by unlocking achievements, which are stored in sealed envelopes when you first open the box. Achieve the given challenge - such as finishing a level with no damage or earning A+ grades on three levels - and you’ll be able to add the super art card inside to your inventory. Make sure you check the envelopes at the end of each level and try to reach their requirements, as they’ll be sure to make things easier in the later stages.


5. Take a break if you need to

Cuphead Fast Rolling Dice Game
The pad of save sheets let you track which bosses you've defeated and any achievements you've unlocked. Image: The Op

Cuphead: Fast Rolling Dice Game only takes around 20 minutes to play, but those 20 minutes can be full-on thanks to the energetic dice rolling and challenging strategy involved. Sometimes, you’ll want to take a breather and think about your tactics before you dive into the next boss fight.

Luckily, the Cuphead board game takes inspiration from its video game counterpart and allows players to save their progress between plays using a pad of save sheets included in the box. Just jot down the cards you have equipped, how many coins you have saved and your grade for each boss you’ve beaten so far and you’ll be able to pick back up right where you left off.

The save sheets also include a space where you can write down which combinations of weapon, super art and charm cards worked best for you, letting you record your own high-scoring loadouts for next time.


About the Author

Matt Jarvis avatar

Matt Jarvis

Editor-in-chief

After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.

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