Dungeon Crawlers under consideration
Doug Bass
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Winston-Salem
North Carolina
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I've been scouring other geeklists for the perfect dungeon crawler (or fantasy game) and these are the games currently under consideration, with notes to myself. Important considerations: strong theme, high production values, miniatures, supports solo play, not overly chance-based. Arranged by order of desirability.

Comments are welcome - need feedback on randomness/chance element in particular.
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1. Board Game: Mice and Mystics [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:204] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Doug Bass
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Winston-Salem
North Carolina
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Cooperative and solo play. Looks freaking awesome, but I'm not sure how prominent the story-telling aspect is and whether I would like it. Wonder how it plays solo. Rodney Smith's "Watch It Played" video is here. Top contender along with Claustrophobia.

Also: Mice and Mystics: Heart of Glorm

UPDATE 11/12: Played first solo game this past weekend and, aside from a few rules quirks, I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to more. Excellent game, though I'm not completely sure it scratches the dungeon crawling itch (I think it's the theme). Might still have to pick up something else off this list (Descent possibly).
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2. Board Game: Claustrophobia [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:187]
Doug Bass
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Winston-Salem
North Carolina
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Modular board. Two-player, head-to-head miniatures skirmish game. Pre-painted miniatures. Post-apocalyptic theme? Readily available. Top contender along with Mice and Mystics.

Also: Claustrophobia: De Profundis and another expansion coming in 2014

UPDATE: Played this with Dale-Not-Chip on 11/4 and really enjoyed it. It was a very close game with an exciting finish. I just managed to eke out a victory; probably wouldn't have lasted even one more turn. Now I am not sure whether I will buy this one, though. I will play once or twice more before deciding.
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3. Board Game: Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:76]
Doug Bass
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Winston-Salem
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Lots of unpainted miniatures. Multi-player only, requires overlord player. Some complaints about balance, three heroes is best? Campaign-style play. Lots of expansions. Highly rated. First edition may be better? Previously owned, but played only once. On the short list.

Also: Lair of the Wyrm, Labyrinth of Ruins, The Trollfens, and various lieutenant packs.

UPDATE 11/12: After reading the review of Descent in a recent issue of Spielbox magazine, my interest has increased. The way the author describes the heroes and overlord as having separate goals for each of the scenarios appeals to me, as opposed to pure hack-and-slash. Sounds intriguing and I would like to learn more.
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4. Board Game: Hybrid [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:2805]
Doug Bass
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Winston-Salem
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Two-player skirmish. Modular board. Unpainted miniatures with assembly required. Poorly-written rules (but rules summary from Universal Head helps). Hard to find and very expensive. Under-appreciated? Looks awesome. On the short list.

Also: Hybrid Expansion 1: Nemesis
 
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5. Board Game: Runebound (Second Edition) [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:691]
Doug Bass
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Winston-Salem
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Multi-player competitive, not cooperative. Outdoor adventure. Hero miniatures. Weird dice-based movement system. Lots of expansions with varying themes. Overly long with more than 3 players, best with two? Previously owned (my first modern board game), now out of print. Really enjoyed my 2-player sessions, making the nostalgia factor high. Would ultimately want expansions, too. On the short list.

Expansions: The Island of Dread, Midnight, Sands of Al-Kalim, The Frozen Wastes, Mists of Zanaga, and many smaller ones.
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6. Board Game: Super Dungeon Explore [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1066] [Average Rating:6.91 Unranked]
Doug Bass
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Lots of unpainted miniatures. Multi-player, requires overlord player. Unbalanced, favors heroes? Already own, have played once, was fun but possible rules issues. Many expansions (I own three of them). Chad is painting the heroes for me.
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7. Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt Board Game [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:464] [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked]
Doug Bass
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Cooperative or can be played solo. Modular board. Lots of unpainted miniatures. How is solo play?
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8. Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:530] [Average Rating:7.20 Unranked]
Doug Bass
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Winston-Salem
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Cooperative or can be played solo. Modular board. Lots of unpainted miniatures. How is solo play?

UPDATE: Played this with Dale-Not-Chip on 11/4 and didn't really enjoy it. The AI for the game was repetitive and uninteresting, and the artwork didn't grab me. The other thing I didn't like was rolling a single d20, felt way to random and not fun (I think 3d6+2 would have made me much happier). Dale said the two other D&D games have similar mechanics, so I probably won't be getting any of these.
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9. Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:608] [Average Rating:6.98 Unranked]
Doug Bass
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Winston-Salem
North Carolina
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Cooperative or can be played solo. Modular board. Lots of unpainted miniatures. How is solo play? Worst of the three D&D board games?
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10. Board Game: Warhammer Quest [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:655]
Doug Bass
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Winston-Salem
North Carolina
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A classic. Multi-player. Lots of unpainted (and unassembled?) miniatures, modular board. Hard to find and/or expensive.
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11. Board Game: HeroQuest [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:547]
Doug Bass
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Winston-Salem
North Carolina
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A classic. Hard to find and/or expensive.
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12. Board Game: Nin-Gonost [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:10221]
Doug Bass
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Winston-Salem
North Carolina
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Two-player dungeon skirmish game. Modular board with magnetic components. Rules are poorly written. Extremely hard to find and probably extremely expensive. Collectible? If so, I'm probably not interested.
 
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