Monday, August 11, 2014

Testing Dungeon Saga: The Dwarf King's Quest

So I backed another dungeon crawl game (mainly for minis and for pure geekiness - I rarely play board games).  I downloaded the rules and set up a facsimile dungeon this afternoon to give the very very Alpha (read: simple) rules a go.

 I whipped up a quick version of the board from some D&D tiles (ain't breakin' out my Dwarven Forge fine china for this!)
 The adventurous group gathered (first time these models have been used - note the warrior is standing in for a proper - improper(?) barbarian.
The doors and bad guys are placed...
Having watched the videos from BOW, I decided to go on the attack and run straight at the baddies in the first turn - the Barbarian and Dwarf chopped down their foes luckily.
The fight continued in the first room, with a zombie inflicting wounds on the Wizard quite easily and a skeleton getting involved.
After the first room was cleared my heroes ran through the second room - running into a Dwarf revenant (a goblin sitting in for this...).  He was difficult but dispatched.
Two skeletons popped up and were immediately dispatched by the Dwarf and Wizard.

The heroes rapidly exit stage right.
     My initial thoughts were very "meh" upon running through the game (admittedly solo).  The mechanics are reasonably sound, but the game was very boring and formulaic.  I do think that this is simply the penalty of being a very early starting mission without many additional rules.  Here are my thoughts summed up in bullets for easier digestion...
  • Baddies are tough to kill.  While it's a reasonable system, the bad guys can be very tough to injure.  Even with minimal dice and armour they can be tough if your dice suck.  The Wizard is unlikely to ever be able to kill any of them because of his 2 fighting dice.  With most creatures in this adventure requiring minimum 3 successful wounds to kill.  So, the Wizard is beyond hopeless.
  • Heroes die easily.  While I didn't lose a hero, it is very easy to inflict many wounds.  Now, this mission did not contain any potions or other manners of healing (spells etc.).  Suffering ANY wound immediately drops you a dice (meaning a wounded Wizard rolls 1 dice...).  A barbarian has armor equal to a normal skeleton --- same goes for the elf.  No characters ignore the first wound, so any success against a hero causes a single wound.  Now, could this be negated by gear and adventure scenarios, treasures, gifts, and armor?  Sure.
  • Control zones.  I hate control zones.  The game already looks like it's a little claustrophobic, but even a group of 5-6 bad guys could block a hallway for a very very long time.  I imagine (hope) that certain characters will have an ability to ignore control zones etc.
  • Bone mechanic = gimmick.  I like the idea of bone piles turning into skeletons.  Before this game launched I started assembling some bone piles for my own dungeon crawls.  However the constant presence of this and cards in the necromancer's hand turn this into a bit of a silly gimmick.  Only blocking them by standing on them etc.  I think a mechanic to disrupt/break up a pile or bones would be useful.  Maybe only place bone piles when a skeleton is encountered and killed etc.  It just adds a bit of silliness when you run into a room and immediately want to go stand on a pile of bones.  I can see this becoming tiresome.
  • The barbarian sucks.  He's only a scant bit above an average skeleton in skills/abilities.  The Dwarf is significantly batter in combat and defense.  In any game like this each character needs something very useful or very cool (hopefully both).  I see no reason to play the Barbarian over the Dwarf.  While the barbarian ignores the wounded doesn't make up for crappy armour.
  • Overall...meh.  Mechanics are fine, but with any bad luck dice rolling this could become a really serious grind-based game.  I'll be keeping judgement until more rules come out. 

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