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Dungeon Lords» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Too much variance because rooms are too important rss

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Alejandro Magno
Argentina
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These last months I´ve been playing a lot of dungeon lords in my group as it has been the main game for the group for the last 3 months, I think at this point we played around 16-19 games.
Also two weeks ago I started playing online, though no game finished yet.
But I did observe games of teh players that win the most.

A pattern is starting to show that is annoying me.
The most important factor on who wins seems to be determined by what rooms you get. If a player gets the right rooms (say the Vampire/ghost guy gets the chapel), he usually wins.

Ive noticed this pattern in my group games, and that is the reason that i started to play online, while I didn´t manage to finish a game yet (games online go very slow), Ive observed games of the most winning players, and the winner generally is the one that got pandemonium with 2 big creatures, or chapel with 2 ghost and a vampire or in one game even the guy that won had cafeteria with 3 food monsters + half of fame with 2 titles.

The pattern seems very strong 1) Scoring rooms are the most important rooms in the game 2)The player who gets the neccesary scoring room generally wins.

And this is made worse by fact that is very hard to control what room you get. Room is the most tight place and at the same time the more contested. If you can snatch a room, you can´t let pass that opportunity, and the game variance determines ultimtely what room you get based on when the room comes and turn order.

Is this your experience? mostly asking people with experience, at least 5, 4 player games. (3 and 2 players games do not count the dynamics on those games are vastly different)

I almost wish the scoring rooms didn´t exist and there were only combat rooms.
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Nathaniel Chambers
United States
Austin
TX
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You can always make a variant.

I've played this game plenty, but it's usually teaching people, not playing with people who've played a bunch of times. I've never noticed an issue, but it may pop up with experienced players. Certainly if you are all on equal ground, the rooms are one way to get ahead, but I also think keeping in mind other awards will probably go a long way. Perhaps the expansion would fix some of your issues (I find expansions often do, as they split up the strategy more)
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david landes
United States
oak hill
Virginia
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We play with Festival Season mostly, so it may change the dynamics over the base game. Over a fair number of games (50+), I would agree that rooms that generate points are valuable, but not necessarily an over-riding factor as it seems to be in your experience.

From an analytic perspective, getting a good room probably gets you an average of four points, though it could get more. Each of the four rooms is capable of delivering those points.

I would argue that any good player HAS to plan on collecting points on one of the rooms.. but notice that each player could potentially get such a room.. so there is no artificial logjam on one particularly good room. And if there is no particular room that helps the strategy you have backed into, it is still feasible to have a good sense of who is winning and to block them by taking a room they want. ANY un-conquered room delivers points at the end, so it is not strictly defensive anyway.

More broadly, one can 'collect' those four points in a number of ways:
- Being most evil and killing one or two paladins (worth three for the evil and 5 for the paladin.. eight points.. AND there can only be one person who succeeds at this
- Keeping your dungeon clean of conquered tiles - each of which is worth at least two points.. thus 2-3 conquered tiles is four points better than 4-6 conquered tiles
- Focusing better on the titles (which many players really only plan on two wins) and getting an extra win and one fewer ties (3 points or so)
- Capturing two extra adventurers - four points
- Avoiding a red mark which is negative three all by itself
- Incorporating offense in your game rather than strictly playing defense.. (LOL). Leveraging the tile and monster taxes as well as the random event(s) to stick it to your opponents.. understanding what they are strategically best positioned to do.. and maneuvering on the evilometer to get them adventurers that mess them up.. understanding their needs during worker placement selection, so as to sub-optimize their choices.. etc.. all of these can quickly cost an opponent(s) a fair number of points.

Well.. that's a little bit of a long list and may not help with HOW to implement those tactics/strategies.. but Rooms are not the "be-all, end-all" in Dungeon Lords.. they are a way to get a few points, which, if nobody else is leveraging, may be able to eke out a victory in addition to doing some other things right. Also, I would point out that the learning curve for really strong DL play is WAY longer than 20 games.. this is a viscous, unforgiving, slugfest and I think a lot of players wind up playing solitaire against their opponents when they should be looking for how everyone can be interacting with everyone else.

Cheers and enjoy.
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David Harrison
United States
Greenville
SC
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Objectively speaking, Dungeon Lords obviously has more randomness than, say, Terra Mystica, Tzolk'in, or Agricola; the game has a decent amount of hidden information which leads to some things beyond your control (even when you try to account for them). Even so, the best players will win against average players a majority of the time.

However, I'm skeptical of your idea that this is mainly due to rooms (possibly just confirmation bias on your part). As the poster above me stated, there's several different sources of points that can swing the game as much as a good room pickup. IMO, which adventurers you get is a large source of point variation (yes, I know you can influence this somewhat based on your evilness, but you only have so much control).

At the end of the day though, the fact that you don't know what actions the other players are choosing is probably the largest source of variance; if I knew other players' actions beforehand every round, I could probably win almost every game. I wouldn't make the same claim just because I knew what rooms were coming out beforehand.
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Game Guy
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Pennsylvania
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One way to respond to the OP's point is to say that his concern that "If a player gets the right rooms... he usually wins" essentially means "if one player plays well (by getting the scoring room which scores a lot for his set up)... he usually wins." whistle

One thing I have noticed is that the production rooms you build drive quite a lot of your subsequent strategy. This is not unbalancing, but newer players often fumble this point. For instance, failing to realize that owning the Chicken Coop does not support the "Lot'sa Evil" strategy.
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sonny sonny
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if the OP's conclusion is correct, that means all wins would have to be only by 2-4 points (the difference of getting a perfect VP room vs another one). i doubt that's the case.

but even then, it seems to be a matter of planning at least as much as luck, because "the guy (singular!) with the big 2 creatures" is only one of them, so one else would need the room anyways. it's very rare to have 2 players specialised for the same special VP room.
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