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Subject: A negative take on Dungeon Twister rss

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Ben The Man
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I lately came across Dungeon Twister in a local game store and the owner convinced me to play a session of Dungeon Twister against him. So here I am writing my first ever review based upon only one session of it (and it's not even positive robot ).
I won't go into too much detail about the rules of the the game, there are a lot of other reviews covering that, but to me it feels like a mixture of "Das verrückte Labyrinth" and "LotR the Confrontation", in that you have a sort of maze which you have to clear to gain VPs
while you try to delay your opponent through fights, which are resolved comparing the battle-values of the 2 figures plus a numbercard chosen from your hand which is discarded afterwards. Both have the same number cards in their hand and once all cards are played you pick them all back up, so you can always know, if you memorize a little bit, which cards your opponent still holds.
The components of the game are okay, the artwork is decent, the cards should be larger, but I absolutely despise the cardboard figures. I am used to plastic-orgys like Doom or Descent and at least games with wooden counters, but cardboard is in my opinion despicable. It's easily blown away, if something spills onto the board the counters are ruined too and it plainly looks cheap. Not that I have a problem with cheap looking games, but I want to have the feeling that I spent my money's worth. 15 Euros is a price I would pay for this, but 30 Euros is a complete ripoff.
The game itself is kind of nice, but for me there is simply no appeal to it, I had no desire to play it again after my first play.
I think it comes down to the fact that although it has tons of stuff I generally like, there are far better alternatives in every area.
It has got a fantasy/dungeon crawl theme, but if I want fantasy I play runebound, if I want dungeon crawl Descent.
It's got a "clear the maze" theme (I love mazes ninja ) but that is something "Das verrückte Labyrinth" handles far more clever.
It has got items and individual characters, but since there are only 5(if I remember correctly) different items, some of which are clearly designed for a certain characters and since the characters are the same on oth sides it still feels generic.
It has got battles (always a good thingarrrh ), but with a fighting system that is entirely unoriginal and too luck driven for the tactical heaviness of the rest of the game. That is probably my biggest complaint:
This game is said to be strategic, but the battle system is at times unpredictable, therefore luck-driven. You won't always know which cards your opponent will play and while you can make educated guesses, you can still be blatantly wrong.
Given the fact that there are perhaps 6-10 battles during a game, and only some are luck-driven, this causes the game to potentially hinge on those 2 or 3 times you fight and lose simply beause of bad luck. And this just doesn't diversify the random element in this game enough to be satisfiable to me.
Then there is also the fact that there are these tons of expansions being and coming out. I have got the impression that this game is designed as a cash cow, and I already got Runebound to waste my money on tons of expansions.
Don't get me wrong, none of these arguments in and of itself disqualifies the game, it is the fact that they all come together in this game that I don't like, or perhaps the missing of the one mechanic, component, rule or theme that is outstanding and unique to the game.

I rate it a 4 of 10.
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Mark Crane
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Quote:
since the characters are the same on oth sides it still feels generic.



When I played my only game both sides had different characters.
 
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Mik Svellov
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Yoy can only play with different characters if uou have an expansion - which Ben the Man clearly won't have.

And yes, each Combat card (except '0') can only be used once. So there is a limit to how many useful fights you can start.

Finally - Dungeon Twister is the absolute opposite to Runebound, so no wonder Ben the Man didn't enjoy his experience.
 
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Loren P
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Yes, combat cards are not picked back up. But I think he was referring to action point cards which you do pick back up.
 
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Ben The Man
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Great Dane wrote:
Yoy can only play with different characters if uou have an expansion - which Ben the Man clearly won't have.

And yes, each Combat card (except '0') can only be used once. So there is a limit to how many useful fights you can start.

Finally - Dungeon Twister is the absolute opposite to Runebound, so no wonder Ben the Man didn't enjoy his experience.



Sry, we didn't get through the whole deck of combat cards, so it seems I just made that rule up based on the action card recycling...
and first, why is it the exact opposite of Runebound, I can see they are different, but opposites? I don't say DT is the opposite of chess for example.
And secondly why do you suppose I only like games like Runebound?
 
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Mik Svellov
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IndianaJones wrote:
why is it the exact opposite of Runebound, I can see they are different, but opposites? I don't say DT is the opposite of chess for example.


Saying that DT is the opposite of chess would be silly as I believe the designer has named it as an inspiration.

Runebound is full of luck and there is no luck at all in Dungeon twister. In Runebound is each player mostly running around fighting the game whereas in the Dungeon Twister is he always fighting the other player(s). Runebound is designed to be enjoyed for the 'experience' of discovering things (a roleplaying element). While Dungeon Twister has lent its theme from the RPG/fantasy world it really is a highly abstract game of skill.

Quote:
And secondly why do you suppose I only like games like Runebound?


I don't.
But the two games targets different audiences, and there doesn't seem to be many geeks who are fans of both games.
 
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John Lopez
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Great Dane wrote:
...
But the two games targets different audiences, and there doesn't seem to be many geeks who are fans of both games.


Well paint me up in a scarlet letter then: I enjoy Runebound (and Descent) but also enjoy Dungeon Twister. However, they clearly scratch different itches.

I play Runebound or Descent when I want the "Pseudo-RPG" experience. The Pseudo-RPG experience is where you go adventuring on some type of board, collecting equipment, advancing character's abilities and generally munchkin-ing yourself to the point you can defeat the final conflict. As an aside, the dice tend to flow freely in these games, making them more "luck" dependent. Generally speaking, I enjoy these when I have four or five at the table.

Meanwhile, I play Dungeon Twister when I want a strategic experience closer in nature to chess. The initial tile placement is the only random element in the game: everything else that *feels* random is determined by the Iocane Powder aspect of doublethink. At any combat, you should know exactly what cards your opponent has. The question then becomes "is he the type of person who would poison his own drink" by playing a lower card than needed to win. Although there is a four player expansion, I wouldn't find it as interesting. I play Dungeon Twister solely two player: more players would kill the strategic element for me. (The new characters expansion is a lot of fun though, allowing for drafting of characters).

As an aside, I enjoy Navia Drapt even more than Dungeon Twister. Being a chess variant with no luck whatsoever, it scratches that strategic game itch *so* well. I suspect that would go over even more poorly though
 
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Bobb Beauchamp
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As others have said, DT is almost luckless...meaning, aside from initial set up of the tiles, everything that happens after that is totally strategic. There's no luck, no random events, nothing that happens that isn't under the control of they player. Combat is very strategic...do you "waste" a high value combat card for your troll to squash the goblin, or do you wisely spend it to ensure that you do defeat the little gobber? That's not luck, that's strategy.

I enjoy both Runebound and DT, but they are very different games. DT is a variation on chess...equal sides (in the basic game) with the same goal. Runebound is hard to pin down, but it's what I call an adventure boardgame, heavily dependant on luck and randomness. However, my wife doesn't care much for DT...the multiple levels of strategy needed to play the game I think were too much for her to deal with. arrrh
 
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David desJardins
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generalpf wrote:
Ben, I wouldn't say the combat system is luck-driven at all. In fact, there's no luck at all. What you're seeing is doublethink, where one player tries to guess what the other player will do and act accordingly, sort of like the classic poison scene from The Princess Bride.


"Doublethink" and "luck" are equivalent. Typically in DT you reach a battle and the right strategy is for Player 1 to play Card A with probability p, and Card B with probability 1-p. And Player 2 plays Card X with probability q, and Card Y with probability 1-q. And so the result is just a random outcome determined by their respective random choices.

Saying this has no luck is like saying Rock-Paper-Scissors has no luck. Is that really what you think? The way I play RPS, it's all luck.
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John Lopez
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generalpf wrote:
Doublethink is not luck.


I agree completely. At the extreme edge, both players use the appropriate cards to force "optimal" outcomes. In that case, the game will become even more predictible in that you will never allow your opponent to get away with anything without paying the proper cost. However, in the case of a combat where you can't win if your opponent uses his best card, you can either roll over and play the zero (thus keeping your good cards)... or you can evaluate the chance the opponent will try to use a lower card (since you are likely to roll over anyway) and perhaps end up victorious.

That evaluation takes in to consideration the personality of your opponent, the prior cards played (are they using their last decent resource or do they have a stack of combat cards left) and the board situation (is there another, more important combat to resolve). The value of the card required to take that chance also is important: if you lose because he did play the appropriate card, you lost out of a future card advantage.

Double think is not the same as dice. If you are not convinced, go play one of the online "learning" rock paper scissors AIs: you will find they are quite effective against a human. We are rather predictable.
 
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Michael Jordal
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I hate it when people write review after one play. I hope he didn't get 3 GG for this. This is a session report, not a reveiw. Reviews are written by people that have played the game muliple times. If you haven't played the game enough time to get the rules and mechanics correct, then you haven't played it enough to write a review. I think this needs to be moved to the session report section, as it is simply a recap of one game session.
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Michael Jordal
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I will always give a game at least a second chance.
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Universal Head
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Jormi_Boced wrote:
I hate it when people write review after one play. I hope he didn't get 3 GG for this. This is a session report, not a reveiw. Reviews are written by people that have played the game muliple times. If you haven't played the game enough time to get the rules and mechanics correct, then you haven't played it enough to write a review. I think this needs to be moved to the session report section, as it is simply a recap of one game session.


I agree with you. I had the same discussion here:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/958305#958305

To me, one play equals a session report, and that's where first impressions belong. Several plays and some thought, insight and intelligent examination of the game as a result of your experiences equals a review.

But not everyone agrees of course.
 
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Loren P
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I think it's permissible to write a review after one playing as long as you're up front that the review is only after one play. The author disclosed the informaiton here. How many other reviews that you think are great could have potentially been written after one play?

Also, while I personally LOVE Dungeon Twister, Kudos to the author for letting us know his opinion.
 
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FerrumEtBombyx wrote:
Also, while I personally LOVE Dungeon Twister, Kudos to the author for letting us know his opinion.


Kudos: noun, "praise and honour received for an achievement." Nup, personally I don't think it deserves kudos. Certainly I have nothing against someone voicing their opinion about a game - and there are forums here in which to express them (Sessions and General), but here, we are supposed to be reading reviews - a critical appraisal, not just a "I played a game once and this is what I think". I mean, he played a crucial rule incorrectly, he thinks the game is luck-based when there is virtually no luck in it, and frankly I think he misses the point of the game. These are all problems that could well have been resolved if he played it even once more.

I'm not desperately defending DT - actually I think, so far, it's a pretty average game. But my opinion is based on only two plays during which I was learning the rules, and referring to the book more than getting into the game. In fact I made the same rules mistake he did, and I think that playing this rule correctly will improve my future plays of the game. As a result I would never rush off and write a review based on these two plays. I'm not telling anyone anything useful if I haven't learnt the game, played it a few times, and then written an informed, experienced, critical review.

Anyway, sorry if I'm ranting, and this is not meant as a personal attack on the initial poster or anyone else, but I just think these 'first impressions' take up space in the reviews section, where personally I go for reviews, not off-the-cuff after-one-play opinion.
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David Rauscher
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Okay, obviously just my two cents, but I see no reason to punish someone by making them play a game they don't like a half dozen times or more before they can write a review. I think it's perfectly appropriate to put up impressions after one play. And I think it's helpful to those interested in gathering opinions about the game, especially if the reviewer is up-front about the number of times they've played. The reader will take that into account when reading the review to balance it out against other opinions.

Just by way of example, if 50 people played a game once and hated it, but 5 played it a number of times and loved it, reviews from all 55 would be helpful, indicating, perhaps, that the game appeals to only a very small niche audience. Certainly the positive and negative reviews would provide a more balanced picture, regardless of the number of times each reviewer played.

The more reviews the better, I feel, regardless of number of plays by the reviewers; it trends toward balancing out the exceptions.

(Time for statistician/professional pollsyer to step in here.)

Just my humble opinion, of course.
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Trevor Murphy
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The problem is that unless a game is very popular, the majority of people who bother to write a review are going to be the people who like it. For example, I read a lot of glowing reviews of Battlestations, only to discover too late that it's way too much of an RPG to make it to the table with my regular game group. Ideally there could almost be a sub-category of reviews called 'Dissenting Opinion' or something just for situations like this.
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Loren P
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FuriousCorgi wrote:
The problem is that unless a game is very popular, the majority of people who bother to write a review are going to be the people who like it. For example, I read a lot of glowing reviews of Battlestations, only to discover too late that it's way too much of an RPG to make it to the table with my regular game group. Ideally there could almost be a sub-category of reviews called 'Dissenting Opinion' or something just for situations like this.


Exactly. All too often in a review forum, the reviews with the most thumbs-up are the glowing recommendations. The negative reviews are almost always accompanied with responses, much like we've gotten here, that blast the reviewer for whatever shortcomings his analysis may have. I LIKE reading dissenting opinions before I purchase a game - they may hit on something that makes me realize that the game isn't for me after all.
That's why, although I disagree with the reviewer, I welcome his criticism of the game. As long as one is open that his review is based off of only X playings (as the reviewer was), then the readers can interpret his comments properly.
I don't think this site is solely about game masters giving "definitive" reviews or accurately documenting the ins and outs of every game for posterity. The site, for me, is about gathering information on playing - but mostly purchasing games. And in my quest to determine whether a game is right for me, I find it benefical to hear from not only the expert gurus but also the one- or two-playings reviewers who just didn't like the game.
And as I close out my rant, let me just say that I personally love the combat system in Dungeon Twister.
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generalpf wrote:
Rock-Paper-Scissors isn't a game of luck. It's a game of bluffing, especially when you play the same person all the time. I sport an ~80% win ratio against my wife.

Doublethink is not luck.


Whether or not doublethink is luck depends on your opponents.

RPS is a game of luck if played with rational opponents. Of course if you play against someone who plays suboptimally, you can do exploit that. E.g. if your opponent always plays "Rock", then you you can always play "Paper" to achieve 100% wins. The strategy of always playing "Paper" is not an overall good strategy, of course.

Yes of course there are many people who play RPS suboptimally and thus can be exploited with specialized strategies tuned to them (and of course those specialized strategies are suboptimal and could be exploited by other strategies). That doesn't change the fact that against someone who selects their RPS choice randomly you can do no better than select yours randomly also, and it is a game of luck. Certainly you will not achieve an 80% success rate like against your wife.

This sort of debate seems to be based on differing assumptions: are we talking about theory or practice? In theory RPS is certainly a game of luck. In practice, whether it is depends on one's opponents. Note that even against a suboptimal opponent, the optimal strategy will not do worse than the opponent's suboptimal strategy.

Speaking of RPS, in case people don't know this link, it is nifty:
http://worldrps.com
 
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stephen
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I dont see a problem here, the author stated he had played only once at the beginning of his piece and as long as there is a place below his review for others to voice their objections to points he raised, based on his limited knowledge of the rules what is the problem?

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David desJardins
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Godeke wrote:
If you are not convinced, go play one of the online "learning" rock paper scissors AIs: you will find they are quite effective against a human. We are rather predictable.


Been there, done that. It comes out to 50-50 as expected. All you have to do is use the second hand of your watch, or any other trivial randomizer. Making random decisions when you want to is not hard.
 
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Ben The Man
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Heyo everyone!
I think I should make some clarifications on why I chose to write a review, not a session report (I thought about the issue of only having played this once):
1. As already said I tell everyone right up front that this is based on one play of this game, so anyone not liking it can just stop reading it.
2. I tell you what I think of the game, not how I played it, and I looked it up here on BGG, reviews are supposed to express one's impressions of a game.
3. I think some of the people who bash me for reviewing after only one play are biased because I wrote a negative review. Funny that a negative review gets oh so much criticism while there are a lot of positive reviews where noone cares how accurate they are or on how many plays they are based.

I didn't do this review to flame DT or anyone liking it, I just think that most people will only like reviews about games they like, not games they don't like. I don't want to stop anyone from liking the game, I just want to give a differing opinion.
This is my first ever review of a game, all the games I like already have reviews where most of the things I would want to say are covered.
I just wanted to give a differing opinion, which was not present on the reviews page. In my opinion this game is far too hyped (comparing it to chess, lol).
Thanks to all the people who responded to my review!

ah, and one more thing: If I say there is luck involved in this game, I am thinking about playing against someone you don't know, since this game has got tournaments and such and if I would play it, I would like to play it competitively. Don't tell me that in three rounds of DT you get to know a before unknown opponent so well as to predict what he will choose.
80 percent wins in RPS against your wife is understandable, since you should know your wife better than anyone else does. (though, if she had more talent at RPS (no offense intended) she would know what you think she chooses next).
And finally I did not(!!!) say every combat in the game is luck driven, but there are instances where you just don't have enough information to
know which card your opponent will play (both still have a lot of high cards, you don't know wich strategy your opponent will employ and how high he ranks the loss of that certain figure, or destroying your figure, etc.)
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IndianaJones wrote:
ah, and one more thing: If I say there is luck involved in this game, I am thinking about playing against someone you don't know, since this game has got tournaments and such and if I would play it, I would like to play it competitively. Don't tell me that in three rounds of DT you get to know a before unknown opponent so well as to predict what he will choose.


Even with an unknown opponent it isn't luck unless both players select their combat cards randomly.

Each combat occurs in a context, and some are more important than others. You have to pay a finite price to increase your chances of winning, because non-zero combat cards don't come back. Judging the cost of playing the card vs. the potential strategic gain or loss requires skill.
 
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Ben The Man
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And I repeat:
I do not, mean every time you do battle there is luck involved, but certain battles, see above post. The outcome of the game can hinge on the one time you lose.
This is no perfect information game and in some instances this can **** up your whole strategy. Of course a skilled player can minimize the risk, but this doesn't mean there is no risk present at all.
My whole complaint about the fact that there is luck in this game is based on the fact that the instances it is involved are at best once or twice a game. This just doesn't diversify the random element enough to put it in my opinion above or even on the same level as Risk 2210, since the more battles you fight, the more it evens out the random "imbalance" towards one player.
And to all those who complain about me not having the competence of writing a review for this game, I would even play the game 2 more times if that is so desperately wanted, prerequisite being they can assure me they don't just complain to discredit my review.
Though I do have to state that I am under the impression that reviews are supposed to contain your personal opinion and not some absolute truths. I have an opinion about the game, I am willing to share it, I write a review, trying to divulge all information necessary to form your own opinion about my review.
 
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IndianaJones wrote:
And I repeat:
I do not, mean every time you do battle there is luck involved, but certain battles, see above post. The outcome of the game can hinge on the one time you lose.


Repeat at will, but I won't buy it. If you lose the game because of one battle, you've done something wrong. How did you get in the position where losing that particular battle would cost you the game? Give the other guy some credit.
 
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