If you could touch the alien sand and hear the cries of strange birds and watch them wheel in another sky, would that satisfy you?
It was hearing the name over and over, seeing odd but intriguing pictures, and finally reading up on it as much as I could that brought me to buy this little gem of glory.
Dungeon Twister is an amazing addition to my collection. The basic premise of a dungeon crawl/fantasy adventure gets combined with the deep strategy of an abstract. Some very basic pluses include the high board(s) quality; spiffy pieces, cards, and tokens; and very readable rule book.
The board itself is eight seperate boards, arranged 2x4, each depicting a part of a dungeon maze. Along with the most basic part of a maze, the walls, the dungeon is littered with portcullises and pit traps. These must be negoticated, of course, but that's not all. Very rarely (read: almost never) is there a straight shot from one end of the dungeon to the other, due to the afore mentioned walls. Since that is one of your primary goals (to be discussed later), you might wonder how you can effectively play this game.
This game is called Dungeon Twister, tho'. Each board has a gear on it, and with one of your characters standing on this gear you can rotate that board or one of the same colour (there are two boards each of the four colours), ideally to your advantage.
You play with a party of eight characters, all of which have different statistics (which isn't hard, as there are only two stats) and special abilities. Between your characters and a dozen items scattered throughout the dungeon, you try to score 5 Victory Points. You get 1 VP for escaping (ie, getting to the other player's starting line), 1 VP for killing an enemy character, and 1 VP for getting a piece of treasure out of the dungeon.
The characters are:
* The Wizard, who can fly over traps and enemies, as well as cast the all powerful Fireball
* The Wall-Walker, who can (drumroll please) walk through walls
* The Cleric, who can heal the wounded
* The Troll, who is slow but your best fighter. He can also heal himself, making him virtually impossible to kill
* The Warrior, who is your next best fighter. He can also break down a portcullis
* The Goblin, who sucks in a fight, and has no special powers at all; if he escapes the dungeon, however, he is worth 2 VP instead of 1
* The Mekanorc, who, when standing on a gear, can rotate a board in either direction rather than just the one prescribed by the board
* The Thief, who is the fastest character, can move freely over traps, stand on traps, help people over traps, and open and close portcullises
You use this team with a clever Action Point system. You have four AP cards, ranging from 2 AP to 5 AP, one of which you play ever turn. You must play all of your AP cards before you can get any of them back, forcing you to decide, "Is this the turn I only want to do 2 things?" or sometimes, "Crap! I wish I had more than just the 2 left..."
With a single AP, you can move a character, rotate a room, use an item, use a special ability, or start combat. Combat is a simple affair, judged by who is stronger. You compare Combat Values, secretly pick a Combat card (which go from +0 to +6, and are discarded after use), total the two, and compare. Easy stuff.
All in all, it's an intriguing game, with much depth and even more fun. I'm told the expansions add to it, but I wouldn't know yet.
I only recently acquired Paladins and Dragons, but after playing with an expansion and drafting in secret, I enjoy the game even more. Great game made better. Can't wait for English editions of the other expansions.