Brendan Newell
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Manchester
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I've played through Deathtrap 1 a few times now and found it regularly beatable with all the basic options selected (as you would expect). I thought I'd see how far I could push the difficulty level of this first mission and see what happened...



Setup: I placed Maximilian and Temper on the Lookout Point (the 1st level spawn point) and placed Ivy and The Bride on Trapsburg.
Trapsburg spawned Spikes and Tar (my photo shows a support trap on Trapsburg - I noticed this seconds after taking the photo and replaced it but forgot to take a new photo).

Upgrade: With various zero cost traps and items available, I stocked up early.
I placed two Poison Needle Traps on the Lookout Point. Max took the Pointed Stick. Temper took the Spark Plug. Ivy took the Four Leaf Clover. I also upgraded Temper's weapon.

First spawn: 2 orcs, 4 kobolds.



The Poison Needle Traps took out the orcs immediately and were discarded.
Feeling confident that the Kobold group could be fairly easily thinned out, Max attacked but missed. Temper stepped forward... and missed.
Ivy advanced and missed. The Bride moved in... and missed.
A successful first turn for the heroes.

Upgrade: Ivy and The Bride used the little resources left to upgrade their weapons but no skulls remained to buy traps or items.

Second spawn: 4 orcs, 2 crossbow orcs, 1 cyclops (replaced by 3 orcs).

The kobolds flew forward two spaces.
With no traps on the spawn point, the orcs took 1hp from Max. The crossbow orcs did the same.

Ivy moved back to the T-Junction and used her auto hit to kill one kobold (her dice all missed). The Bride followed but missed. Temper joined them and killed one more kolbold. Max dived in but missed.

Upgrade: Ivy had just enough skulls to buy a Potion of Giant Strength.

Third spawn: 1 goblin sapper.

I felt pretty good about that spawn. Although I knew that the goblin sapper would remove a trap on Trapsburg, I also knew that a new trap would appear on the following turn.



The Trapsburg Spikes killed one crossbow orc before the remaining orcs fired a volley but missed.

Ivy ran back to the Acid Bath to cut off the kobold. Her auto hit took care of that. Temper moved to the lava lake and pushed the other kobold in (taking 1 damage for his trouble).

Max moved on to Trapsburg and killed the remaining crossbow orc. The Bride followed and took down an orc.

Things were looking up. The kobolds had been dealt with and a reasonable turn meant that only(!) six orcs remained.

Upkeep: Level two meant that Trapsburg got two new traps, Half Pounder and Love Tap.

Upgrade: The influx of Level two bonus skulls meant that Max could finally get his first weapon upgrade. Ivy, Temper and The Bride all got their second weapon upgrades.

The goblin sapper moved forward as expected and destroyed the Love Tap.

Fourth spawn(1): 4 orcs, 2 crossbow orcs, 1 cyclops.
Fourth spawn(2): 1 goblin sapper, Bloodspike.



The first of the bosses arrived! As will become clear, Bloodspike was a problem for far longer than he should have been.
He's pretty mean needing a double hit to do just one damage and with him recovering a health each turn, he really needs taking down in a turn or two so as to not waste hits.



The crossbow orcs fired but missed and Bloodspike used his ability to hit an adjacent tile to do 1 damage to The Bride.

Deciding to hold off attacking Bloodspike until everyone could get in on the action, Max moved to the Lookout Point and downed a crossbow orc. The Bride joined him and took out the remaining crossbow orc and one orc. Temper moved to the T-Junction and killed two orcs. Ivy followed him and took out two more orcs. She quickly drank her potion to have another go and took down two more orcs!

At this point I feel like things had picked up. A couple of decent turns in a row meant there were no imminent threats and hopefully I could co-ordinate my heroes on to Bloodspike on the following turn...

Upgrade: A new Ballista appeared on Trapsburg. Max upgraded his weapon. Ivy moved her skulls to the rift to allow Max to buy a Blade Wall for the Lookout Point. The Bride added another Blade Wall to the Lookout Point. Temper bought a Hero Potion.

The goblin sapper moved forward and destroyed the Ballista on Trapsburg.

Fifth spawn(1): 4 orcs, 2 crossbow orcs, 1 cyclops.
Fifth spawn(2): 3 kobolds, 3 crossbow orcs.



The Blade Walls killed three orcs. (I'd appreciate clarification on this point - each blade wall has one sword icon and one speed icon. I use each sword icon to kill an orc then combine the two speed icons to make a wild to kill the third orc. Is this okay? Are combinations only allowed on dice rolls?)
The Half Pounder did one damage to Bloodspike. (We're coming for you Bloodspike!)

The three orcs at Lookout Point did one damage to The Bride, the cyclops missed. Bloodspike used his adjacent tile ability to do two hits to Ivy.

Temper moved in on Bloodspike and achieved zero hits. He quickly downed his Hero Potion and combined with his Ultimate action, he managed two hits on Bloodspike. (Just four more to go!) Max moved in and managed one hit on Bloodspike, taking out an orc for good measure. Ivy moved in but could only manage to hit an orc - her ability hitting an orc on an adjacent tile. The Bride joined them and managed another hit on Bloodspike and another dead orc.

With five hits done to Bloodspike, I felt confident that even with his recovered hit point, he would die next turn.

Upgrade: A new Lightning Rod appeared on Trapsburg. Ivy bought some brass knuckles.

Sixth spawn(1): 2 orcs, 1 hobgobin shaman, 2 gnolls
Sixth spawn(2): 2 goblin sappers

Bloodspike recovered one wound (three to go...)



The Blade Walls on Lookout Point worked their magic and took out two gnolls. The Lightning Rod killed two crossbow orcs. The Half Pounder killed and orc and a crossbow orc.

The orcs managed two hits on Temper, the cyclops missed. Bloodspike used his adjacent tile attack to do two hits to The Bride (the adjacent tile was behind him but I guess this is okay and he isn't limited by direction like crossbow orcs.)

Ivy fired off her Ultimate action giving two hit points back to all the heroes who were gathered in Trapsburg. Time to take down Bloodspike!

Ivy moved to the T-Junction and rolled in favour of the kobolds. Three of them dead. Temper moved to the T-Junction and made a hit on Bloodspike. The Bride followed up but missed! Max moved in but missed as well!!

Upkeep: Level three meant that Trapsburg got two new traps, Wall Grinder and Hammer Time. Ordinarily this would be fine but with two goblin sappers incoming, they would both go to waste.

Upgrade: Max upgraded his weapon to maximum level. Ivy followed suit. Temper moved his skulls to the rift and The Bride got her maximum level upgrade too. I added a Pound Pounder and Void Wall to the T-Junction to provide some well-needed cover.

Seventh spawn(1): 4 crossbow orcs, 4 gnolls.
Seventh spawn(2): 2 orcs, 3 gnolls, Earth Lord(!)
Seventh spawn(3): 4 kobolds, 3 crossbow orcs, 1 ogre.



I considered leaving off the Earth Lord since things were already looking pretty grim but I'd committed to a maximum carnage play-through so I went ahead with it anyway.



Bloodspike recovered a hit point (still three to go...)

At the T-Junction, the Void Wall removed an orc and the Pound Pounder killed a Cyclops. At Lookout Point, the Blade Walls continued their good word and removed two gnolls.

Bloodspike used his adjacent tile ability to do two hits to Max.

Do or die time! Bloodspike had to go. Ivy moved on to the Narrow Bridge and was finally gifted some luck. Three hits and Bloodspike was down!
The Bride moved to the Dusty Room and BAM! the cyclops fell.
Max moved to the Drawbridge and took out two gnolls, Temper followed him but sadly missed.

Upkeep: With two traps destroyed on Trapsburg, two more appeared. A Firehose and a Finger Trap. Unfortunately the Finger Trap is all but useless on this square as any fast moving minion will pass over it.

Upgrade: Temper got his last weapon upgrade and Max bought a Mood Gem.

Eighth spawn(1): 2 orcs, 1 hobgoblin shaman, 3 gnolls.
Eighth spawn(2): 3 orcs, 2 kobolds, 1 ogre.
Eighth spawn(3): 3 orcs, 1 ogre, 3 gnolls (2 of which became orcs due to a model shortage)



I have to admit that at this point, things were looking a little crowded on the board. The Earth Lord was looming and I was considering letting him go in favour of trying to stop everything else.

At the T-Junction, the Void Wall killed a kobold and the Pound Pounder did the same. I used the Finger Trap to take out a crossbow orc (four speed icons = two wild??) and the Firehose took down another crossbow orc.

The gnolls on the Drawbridge went crazy on Temper and did 5 damage! Due to his ability, one of them died. The orcs there did one more damage to him and one of them died as well. The ogre there did three damage to Max.

Ivy moved to the T-Junction and killed an orc, her ability also killed an orc in Trapsburg. The Bride moved to the T-Junction and missed. Max killed the ogre on the Drawbridge then moved to the Narrow Bridge. Temper killed two gnolls then moved to the T-Junction.

Upgrade: Max placed a Void Wall on the Narrow Bridge. The Bride took the Burning Coal Amulet. Ivy took the Dragon Shield.

Ninth spawn(1): 3 kobolds, 3 crossbow orcs, 1 ogre.
Ninth spawn(2): 4 crossbow orcs, 2 trolls.
Ninth spawn(3): 2 kobolds, 4 crossbow orcs (turned in to 3 orcs and 1 kobold due to a model shortage)



At this point, things were looking really grim. I had nearly run out of models to put on the table and I had no idea how I was going to slow down the looming hoardes. I was also well aware that I had planned to bring out Swiftyhooves on the following turn which just seemed silly given the current state of play. No matter, I would see how my attacks went and devise a plan from there...

At the T-Junction, the Void Wall downed a gnoll and the Pound Pounder took out a crossbow orc. Trapsburg saw off a goblin shaman and my trusty Blade Walls killed a kobold.

Then bad things happened.

First the crossbow orcs hit Ivy once. Then the orcs hit her once as well. The gnolls hit The Bride three times. Desperate for somewhere to distribute hits as everyone's health got worrying low, the ogre did two more hits to Ivy. Finally the Earth Lord hit Ivy twice more but worse, rolled two stuns.

I'd like to say that though the bravery of my heroes and due to some lucky rolls, I was able to grab victory from the jaws of defeat but unfortunately it was fairly clear at this stage that I was done for. With two heroes stunned, I was looking at some hero death on the following turn. Not only that but the stuns meant I was missing some vital attacks.

With the game already having run for over two hours (taking notes and photos for a session report seriously adds to the game duration), I was starting to get concerned about being late for work so I decided to concede.

In the final analysis, it's sure to say that I got off to a very bad start which put me on the back foot. In all the games I've played so far, a weak start means a lack of skulls which means a lack of upgrades which leads to a lack of kills and a further lack of skulls. Although the mid-game went okay, it was never enough to get me back in control of the situation.

I enjoyed playing with the heroes from the Hero Pack and would like to mix it up again next time. It's difficult to say whether any of the new heroes were particularly useful since I lost so completely but at least there was plenty of variety.

The Minion Pack certainly changed things up. I didn't feel too much pressure from cyclops since they did very little damage. Although they couldn't be killed until they were alone, that wasn't too much of an issue. The goblin sappers certainly did their job though - Trapsburg was constantly devoid of traps and that might have had a hand in my eventual loss.

The addition of bosses was certainly a game changer. Even if we ignore the Earth Lord who I never even wounded, Bloodspike was enough of a challenge to seriously derail the game. I strongly suspect that the game was over when I failed to kill him in a single turn and certainly I had wasted too many attacks when I failed to kill him after three turns. Looking back, it might have been better to ignore him until Level 3 when I could have hammered him with my most powerful weapon upgrades and spent the intervening time mopping up the other minions instead.

I'll be sure to have another go when I get a chance and post back here when things will hopefully have gone differently...
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