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Super Dungeon Explore: Von Drakk Manor Level» Forums » Reviews

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Brown Deer
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Ok so I'm a little late to the part (ok really late). I have had the chance to bring Von Drakk to the table finally, after a long delay. I also realize that a large majority of this review will become moot in a few months with a new editionbeing released later this year. However, with the recent surge in popularity due to the kickstarter and the number of "Is old stuff X worth it" questions popping around, I figured I'd contribute my two cents.

Short Version:
VON DRAKK IS TOTALLY WORTH IT AND IF YOU PLAY SDE YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY GET IT LEST YOU BE RAVAGED BY A PACK OF HYENAS.

The real review:


(photo b Kirenx)

Von Drakk takes SDE into the Castlevania-ish realm and introduces halloweeny undead and the Baron Von Drakk into the fold.

The Good

The Feel
Immediately you will feel a difference as we've changed fantasy trope settings. Mechanically this translates into many different status effects being used. Whereas in the base game (and even with the first expansion Caverns of Roxor) the major status effect thrown around the board was fire. Everything was on fire...everything. With a wider variety of monsters to pick from the heroes now have to adapt to a different set of challenges due to the new status effects.

The Variety
NEW MONSTERS! It goes without saying that any new expansion should contain new monsters, but these monsters add a delicious amount of variety to the consul's plans. Traditionally the strategy of clog up everything and make the heroes slog through everything doesn't change. But now there are ways to make it even more effective. The witches can turn heroes into frogs. If the heroes don't spend actions stomping bone piles you can double/triple the amount of mobs around them very quickly. With the ability to raise minions it is no longer a sheer attrition game as the heroes inevitably whittle away the dungeon mobs. On the consul side of things, you actually kind of want that now.

(Photo by Shawn_Kehoe)
The new mini-boss is great, teleporting around the board and inflicting unpreventable wounds. And Von Drakk himself....oy a major beast. Two thumbs up here. And of course...NOT EVERYTHING IS ON FIRE!

The Heroes
I'm always for more choices here and the new expansion delivers again. With three new heroes to pick from which all fulfill different roles (you have a melee DPS/control, a range DPS, and a support) there is something for everything here. Granted if you were to do a straight stats comparison some of the heroes are inferior to their previous counterparts in some ways but that is not a bad thing in my book. Unless you're constantly min/maxing or sometimes it is interesting to play with a "suboptimal" hero in the role you want. Or other times, the hero is a different approach to the same problem. For example, the sister of light could arguably be redundant with the paladin in terms of healing and removing status effects. The different is that the paladin relies on a potion while the sister of light has the ability inherently. The paladin is more powerful in this aspect but less reliable. The sister is reliable but less powerful. You decide what you want, that is the interest.

...Normally I continue reviews with "The Bad" and "The Mediocre" but I don't really feel it necessary for Von Drakk. The mechanics don't change at all, the strategy doesn't really change either (heroes want to go through as fast as possible while consul wants to slow them down as much as possible) and the expansion adds different ways to achieve those goals. If you like SDE you should get Von Drakk, hands down, not because it radically changes the game, but because it expands it. I feel Von Drakk is a better expansion than Roxor because the theme is so different it can lead to a different play experience and the tedium of fire tokens everywhere is somewhat alleviated.

With respect to the new edition, I really think you should get Von Drakk. If you were in on the kickstarter you are already getting one of the spawn points (The Pumpkin patch) and doubling up on that one is beastly. Additionally the extra heroes, boss, mini-boss are definitely worth it.
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Marquis DeSade
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Thanks for the review!

Does VDM come with new map tiles? I don't know if I read this correctly, but some of the less positive reviews here seemed to imply that there were no official tiles for this expansion, meaning you'd have to play von drakk in the fiery caverns.

Some of the newer crystal and faewood tiles look like they'll do the job of a creepy vampiric warren, but I'd love to hear whether soda pop actually produced something for their horror/undead forces.
 
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Andrew Wodzianski
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No new map tiles with VDM.
 
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Dean Blanchard
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Gray
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They actually are working on von drakk tiles.The von drakk tiles will come in a pack with 12 rattles bones, which with the new rules are now creeps.
 
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Marco Signore
Italy
Napoli
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A possibly dumb question: does the "2.0" Von Drakk expansion come with both Classic and Arcade cards for the monsters? That is, can it be played in Arcade Mode at all?
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Richard
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Yes, all the 2.0 stuff comes with both Classic and Arcade versions of monsters.
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