Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Super Dungeon Explore

It has been far too many moons since I ventured down to the Hove Area Wargames Society...but I finally managed to get there last night, even after a phone call with the Cayman Islands overshot. I was hoping to play Dystopian Wars, to get a feel for a steampunk naval system that the whole group seems to be raving about, but the loss of Duncan to lurgy meant the absence of the French squadron, and hence no DW.

Not to be fazed, Peter pulled out Super Dungeon Explore, a game I knew very little about, although it reminds me a little of the older Dungeons and Dragons board game I bought for my son back in 2003. It is defined by the very cute and detailed anime-style pieces, of which there are many, and if Pete follows through with painting them, they will look truly spectacular! It is also highly reminiscent of the Wrath of Ashardalon board game from Wizards of the Coast, although with a less extensive dungeon to explore.

One player takes on the role of the dungeon master (I think he's called a consul in this) and controls the critters, which spawn out of spawning points, a la Gauntlet (if you're young enough to remember that venerable 1980s arcade game or its entertaining PS2 successor). The rest of the players take on the role of the adventurers, who must destroy the spawning points to win the game.

The game gets underway!

The adventurers conform to classic D&D-style classes. We went with a Rogue, a Paladin and a Ranger, but lacked any kind of arcane magic user, which is where we may have come undone.

The dungeon itself is composed of square sections, with a spawn point in each. We failed to get out of the first one, although we managed to destroy a spawn point. I also failed to use my Rogue's teleport ability which, combined with her backstab, could have enabled her to take down another spawn point in fairly short order.

The opposition was mainly composed of kobolds or derivatives of kobolds as far as I could see. They're superb miniatures, very chunky, and somehow more appealing than the conventional D&D miniatures.

Each character is defined by attributes and special powers -for example, Stealth, which my rogue had, can be used to reduce the range of ranged attacks made against you, to the point where they may not reach you at all. Quite a nice little mechanic. A turn track keeps tabs on how many monsters the players slay, and this generates rewards for them in the form of loot cards - items you can use to boost various powers and abilities. I found a caltrops dagger which enhanced my ability to dodge attacks. Nice.

The Paladin gets into a scrum with some kobolds as the Ranger and Rogue look on.

The combat dice come in different colours, with red being the weakest (i.e. with fewest dots on them) and green the strongest. All rolls use one or more of these dice in combinations. Hence, my Rogue's Dexterity score was 2d6 red. When she found her magic dagger, she was given an extra blue d6 to roll with her Dex, useful for her, as she was using her Dex score to dodge attacks. These dice also generate potion and wound symbols, the latter used to help you to dispose of wounds. The potions come in handy to power special abilities, like the Rogue's teleport for example.

We abandoned the game when the Ranger was KIA, as there didn't seem a point in going on with two characters while a third player twiddled his thumbs. We managed to squeeze in a quick game of Kingdom Builder before it was home time. I lost KB badly, but it was my first game, and my mental capacities after a long day were undoubtedly waning and in no fit shape to take on a new game like this (that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it).


  1. I've been intrigued by Super Dungeon Explore since I first saw it, but I've been reluctant to get it since the miniatures probably look best painted, and my skills are not up to doing them justice I suspect.

  2. I suspect we were doing a few things wrong in that first game, but it was still fun.