$18.00
GeekGold Bonus for All Supporters: 88.28

5,784 Supporters

$15 min for supporter badge & GeekGold bonus
36.4% of Goal | 26 Days Left

Support:

Recommend
15 
 Thumb up
 Hide
10 Posts

Masmorra: Dungeons of Arcadia» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Light Hearted Dungeon Crawl for the Family rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
twesterm
United States
Lewisville
Texas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Arcadia Quest is already a pretty light dungeon crawler so when Masmorra was announced as an even lighter dungeon crawler, I was a little bit of a skeptic. Still though, Arcadia Quest is one of my all-time favorite games and I love me some CMoN games so I gave it a try.

And it's good. Mostly.

Pacing Problems
Discalimer: I've only played the versus mode and the epic mode and while I had fun on both, the normal mode felt way too short and the epic mode felt way too long.

In the normal versus mode for Masmorra players are simply racing to get 15 experience. It's not unusual for one player to immediately jump ahead and look like they're going to win right away, but generally that player then gets ganged up on and other players get to catch up. Still though, someone reaches 15 experience, the game end state triggers, and you're often left with the feeling the game ending too quickly right when things were getting good.

On the other end, when we played Epic Mode, the game felt like it lasted way too long. Instead of racing to 15 XP, in Epic you have to reach the third level of the dungeon to spawn the boss and then kill the boss to trigger the end state. By the time we reached the third level, we were all already over the 21 XP limit on the tracker supplied (you start looping at that point) and we were all ready for it to be over. At that point we all made a truce to stop messing with each other and just let the game end.

So normal mode ends just about when you feel like you're getting started and epic drags on for what feels like an eternity. Don't get me wrong, the game is good, but these two things stuck out as my biggest negative.

Character Balance Issues
Arcadia Quest has always had the good characters and the bad characters and that really isn't a problem when you have 40 characters to choose from. Masmorra currently has five characters with one amazingly broken character, three decent characters, and one bad character.

First, there's Jay. He's amazing. Every one of his powers just work brilliantly together and he usually wins because he just keeps getting better. Then there's Valerie and Greybark who are both just solid. Valerie's power doesn't sound great until you see it in action and Greybark essentially has a seventh dice and eventually gets an eigth (which is pretty great). Then there's Mika who isn't great, but being able to essentially auto disarm traps and open treasure is pretty useful. None of those are really a bad choice.

Then there's Algus.

At first, I thought my playgroup was exagerrating about how bad he was and then I played him and actually looked at him. Every one of his powers other characters do better and easier. Remember how I said Greybark just gets an extra dice? Algus has to pay money per turn if he wants that. Oh, you want to do a big damage spike? Pay two magic symbols where Mike just pays one. If you chose to play Algus, you just goofed.

When you're playing one of the four not bad characters, the balance isn't a huge deal (unless someone has Jays engine going in full swing, I almost lapped someone in experience in the epic game because he was so ridiculous), but when you're playing Algus, just prepare for a lot of turns where you don't really do anything.

Death Really Isn't a Consequence
We quickly discovered that dying really doesn't mean much. It sets you back some number of XP depending on what row of experience you're on and you lose a treasure which you get a lot of. We often found ourselves dying on purpose when we knew we wouldn't lose XP just to refill our health. I would have liked some more consequences for dying. It probably goes with the theme that this is a lighter adventure, but when dying usually helps you, that seems like a problem.

The Dungeon Crawling
So onto the dungeon crawling! Masmorra could not be any more straight forward, and that's not a bad thing. This is a very simple experience, even by Arcadia Quest standards, and it just works really well. Players get to move, explore, disarm traps, open chests, and fight monsters! This is dungeon crawling at its core and Masmorra does a great job at this. Even better, even though you're reminded of Arcadia Quest, this game feels like a completely different game so there are no worries about having to decide if Arcadia Quest or Masmorra is better. They're both their own game.

The Monsters
The monsters are a little disappointing in their simplicity and just being dice, but really, I'm fine with this. The dice are of a really nice quality and the random nature of just what monster appears is fun. It's a little sad that you still have to have a reference sheet nearby and everything doesn't live on the die itself, but that's understandable too. The dice already have a lot going on in them and cramming more information would be too much.

One of the improvement Masmorra has over Arcadia Quest is that the monsters feel much more active in this one. In Arcadia Quest, the monsters often felt really passive. They really only messed with you if you messed with them. In Masmorra, they feel much more active since you're moving them all over the dungeon and having them chase down the heroes.

Our new dungeon had our heroes spread all over the place and each had a pack of monsters chasing after them and it was pretty great.

The game does come with a limited number of dice which worried me at first, but I quickly found when we had to take monsters off the board to respawn them, it generally wasn't a big deal. Those were the ones left off in a random corner doing nothing and it felt great to respawn them right in the other players way.

Not So Cut-throat
Arcadia Quest can be pretty brutally cut-throat, which isn't a bad thing but it isn't for every group. There is still a lot of messing with your opponents in Masmorra through treasure cards, but since players can't directly attack each other, it leaves the main focus on killing the monsters and exploring the dungeon. I love Arcadia Quest for being so free to mess with my opponents and making/breaking makeshift alliances, but this is a nice breath of fresh air.

They Snuck a Gotcha Game in There...
I normally would not think I would want a gotcha game in my dungeon crawler, but with how light Masmorra is it works well. During the crawl, you are going to collect A LOT of treasure cards that all have two choices-- something you play on your turn or something you play generally on other players turns. A lot of these cards are gotcha cards like steal XP, steal treasures a player just drew, take away dice, remove abilities, and other nasty things.

These nasty little cards can completely turn your perfectly planned out turn on your head and manage to keep the game interesting. Without these cards, the game would get stale quickly but these are what add the life to the game.

Final Thoughts
Masmorra is a nice fit to the Arcadia Quest universe that can easily satisfy that dungeon crawling itch when you don't necessarily feel like dragging out and setting up a larger game like Arcadia Quest. This game is definitely worth a try.
16 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tomas Gudmundsson
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice review. Like with many games, the sessions depend on the players you play with. I've only had one or two bad AQ games pacing wise, where two players just kept on attacking each other as a revenge instead of going for the objectives. Might be easier in this game to mess with each other than in AQ since you can stack up on defense dice in AQ.

However, wanted to ask where you got your copy? Every KS backer is eagerly awaiting this and I was wandering if you got yours through KS and shipments were beginning to arrive or no?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ted Magdzinski
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
They had a copy in the library at BGGCon.

It was pretty fun. As soon as I said "this isn't as mean as Arcadia Quest," one player played like 3 'take-that' cards on me in a row to try and keep me from winning.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
WD Yoga
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Has anyone played the coop mode? Is it any good?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Morales
United States
New York
flag msg tools
I have a GenCon Copy. Coop mode is pretty good but can be really easy. Most of the time everyone has a hand full of treasure cards which can be really powerful in coop mode. there is never a time anyone is ever really in danger because the cards can be played for anyone.

We try to make the game harder by putting the stairs to lvl 2 and 3 on the bottom of the stack instead of shuffled into the bottom half as suggested but we still have never had a game where we even came close to the timer running out. The closest we have come to losing is on the final lvl if your unfortunate enough to lose all your cards in one of the possible encounters. We all rolled bad and everyone lost there treasure cards. We still won the game though.

The main reason we purchased this game is to use the heroes in AQ. There is also the possibility to use the dungeon tiles with house rules in AQ. the healing fountain can be used the same way that Promo fountain that came out you just have to proxy the portal tokens.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Chandler
Arizona
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
twesterm wrote:
...there are no worries about having to decide if Arcadia Quest or Masmorra is better. They're both their own game.


What I've gathered from the reviews/gameplays available thus far, this is an important takeaway. If you're looking for an AQ experience, there's nowhere to look beyond AQ. If you look to Masmorra for that, you'll probably find it lacking.


Esvath wrote:
Has anyone played the coop mode? Is it any good?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0g9N_tB5SM8

This is probably the only way I'll play the game.

Mrdabba wrote:
I have a GenCon Copy. Coop mode is pretty good but can be really easy.


I've seen a few complaints that it's too easy. I wonder if the character balance issues brought up in this review had something to do with it. I have yet to experience the game but if this is true, I may have to house-rule in some difficulty. Maybe do what you did with the tiles on top of making treasure cards more expensive/limit their use somehow.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Trueflight Silverwing
United States
Waverly
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Very nice and honest review. Sadly, those of us who backed the game on KS are still waiting for ours so it's going to be some time before I actually get mine and get to try it out for myself.

The only thing I would question is on the character thing. I have no doubt that some are good and some are bad, that has been a long running thing. The question is about there only being 5 characters (which is true for now). There is an adventure pack that adds 5 more characters to the game as well as a conversion pack that lets you run any of the 26 characters from the base Arcadia Quest games in Masmorra (Arcadia Quest, Beyond the Grave, and Inferno) coming soon, not to mention the 20+_ KS exclusive characters (as much as I hate KS Exclusives for those who want to get them later). That will add a lot more variety and hopefully help out with the character imbalance. I kind of like there being some weaker characters in the mix as it allows more experienced or just players that are better at the game to take one of them as sort of a handicap to keep games more fun and fair. I do it in AQ sometimes when playing with new players so it's more of a challenge.


Can't wait to actually get my game though. It looks like a lot of fun. I'm sure people will find some way to house rule the game to be a nice length in between the normal and epic games.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
twesterm
United States
Lewisville
Texas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Yeah, I played at BGG Con and like others I am eagerly waiting on my kickstarter copy.

The real kick in the pants is after playing our first game one of the people in my group was able to walk right up to the CMoN booth and buy a copy. Second year that has happened to me (last year was Ghostbusters).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Will M (Grey Areas Gaming)
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Great honest review!

In Masmorra De Dados (the original Brazilian version of the game) when a player dies, they're dead permanently.

In an early version of the CMON Masmorra rulebook when you die, as well as moving down the Experience Track to the last Level Up arrow you reached, you had to discard all Treasure Cards from your hand (if you have any), but in the final iteration of the rules they made the punishment for dying a lot less harsh by saying you must discard one Treasure Card from your hand (chosen randomly by another player).

To avoid the pacing issue of the competitive game somewhat, perhaps a house rule could be that it is a race to 21 XP rather than 15 (as the XP track goes up to 21). That's something I'll implement to my games if pacing becomes an issue.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Patrick Matheus
Brazil
Juiz de Fora
Minas Gerais
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
We had people on playtesting thinking Algus was the stronguer one, because of its good starting ability and the fireball that is very advantageous with lots of monsters and bosses.

Some people prefer some characters over others or tend to think one is better because the way they play.

Most of the Basic and some "sold a part" were already done because they came from Masmorra de DADOS; I had a lot of work balancing on the characters of extras and Arcadia quest and inferno, and they really came out great and in balance with the already existing ones; I think it will be a great experience for you to play with this enourmous variety of characters.
I'll want to know the ones you'll like better.

Pacing: You can play to 21XP on the competitive mode if you think the game is ending too short for your gaming group.

Remember that achieving the XP value to end the game only trigger the game end, players still get to end this round.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.