Monday, November 7, 2011

Super Dungeon Explore - The Review

So now that we've played several games all the way through I feel comfortable giving my review.

First Glance: I did a huge first glance with our Unboxing post. 

What you get: You get a lot in this box set. 22 kobolds, 6 wyrms, 8 heroes (+1 large "angry bear" form for the druid.) 2 kobold ogres, which are huge!, and a Dragon, which is a sculptural piece. You also receive 5 spawn points, 2 mimic chests called boo-booty, and 5 chests; around 100 cards and lots of counters. You also get 15 custom dice. You have 5 double sided game boards, which provide lots of different options. The last thing is the Adventure Tracker board, which tracks, loot, power meter, and provides a place for the cards.

A Note about the minis, they are made of plastic which doesn't take super glue very well, so Insta-set should be used. There is some flash, and all the pieces come already removed from their sprues, so for the person who is meticulous in their miniatures will need to do some flash clean-up and some gap fill. I was having issues with the legs of the minis as far as paint due to the scale of them, detail was difficult. I am out of practice though, so that could be part of it.

Main Review: Let's face it, this game is heavily weighted in favor of the heroes, they are heroes after all. The Consul (the game master), have the honor of running the monsters. The premise is this is a video game being played as a board game. Not the first to do it, as FRAG by Steve Jackson Games has been out for a long time, still it is unique, combining a unique gameplay experience with chibi style miniatures [Chibi is a japanese manga style where the head is over-sized with emphasis on the facial features, with characters having toddler proportions.] This is a great game to attract more females into the board game world, and is especially attractive for geek parents young girls.

Hexcast Sorceress, in all her Chibi Glory!

The dice are a unique d6 and an important part of the game, each having a number of stars (*), blanks and a either a potion, heart or combo potion/heart.
Blue Dice have 2 blanks, *, *, **. heart.
Red Dice have 1 blank, *, *, **, ***, potion
Green Dice, the best of the three, have NO blanks, *, **, **, ***, **** and the combo Potion/Heart.

Stats are represented by the dice you roll which applies equally to Monsters and Heroes.
Attack/Armor/Will and Dex.

Attack is used for melee rolls
Armor is obviously always important, as most monster attacks will target armor.
Will is used for Magic and initiative rolls!!
Dex is used for ranged attacks.

Both heroes and monsters have movement (represented by a video game movement pad)
Action Points (represented by a video game button)
Hearts represent life, while each character has unique potions.

The heroes are as follows:
Claw Tribe Barbarian
Deeproot Druid (and his Angry Bear form) Half-Elf
Ember Mage
Glimmerdusk Ranger Elf
Hearthsworn Fighter Dwarf
Hexcast Sorceress
Riftling Rogue Demonkin
Royal Paladin

Each hero has their own unique powers, which makes it interesting, some combos are much more powerful than others. The Ember Mage and Claw Tribe Barbarian are probably the most powerful of the bunch, but they really need to be backed up by a healer.

Gameplay starts with initiative, each side rolling their best Will. The winning side chooses which side activates first. Players can activate a hero, or the Consul can activate 4 skulls worth of monsters. Play proceeds back and forth until all the heroes and monsters have activated. Finally the Consul spawns more monsters. The heroes attempt to destroy the spawn points, once you reach the 16 bit mark, two things happen, the mini-boss spawns and the consul draws a loot card to affect all of his monsters. This can actually be one of the turning points for the consul if he gets certain cards.

There are three levels of play
8 bit: two heroes, 1 mini boss. (1 hour play time)
16 bit: 3 heroes, 1 mini boss, 1 dungeon boss. (1-1 1/2 hour play time)
Super!: 5 heroes, 2 mini bosses, 1 dungeon boss. (2-2 1/2 hour plus play time)

Truthfully, I think I prefer the 16 bit playtime, you get in, get the mini boss spawned, get a dungeon boss out and are done within 2 hours. The game can drag a bit, but I think as we get used to it, it will fly faster.

Family Rating: This can be a great family game, as it's a primarily cooperative game. It's a game that requires the heroes to work in conjunction with each other.

Cost: A Whopping $89.99. Now, you're paying for miniatures, 40 actual miniatures, not including the spawn points, automatically puts some value to that price.

Value: You get a very unique game, with a lot of minis, for an industry standard $90. It's worth it just for the minis.

Rating: Epic! This is a unique game with lots of options, it's good for kids and adults, boys and girls. While some people might not like the chibi style, it makes it endearing and one of a kind. Soda Pop Miniatures bridges the gap between manga and dungeon crawl games in a video game style format.

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