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Dungeon Twister: Mercenaries» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Character Overview and Tips rss

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Eric Franklin
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With the English-language release of this set imminent, I figured it would be a good time to post some strategy tips for this expansion here on the 'Geek.

Reposted from my blog, here.

This is a tough set.

Base Set Average Movement: 3.62
Base Set Average Strength: 2.00

Mercenaries Average Movement: 3.375
Mercenaries Average Strength: 3.123

Looking at the average, you can probably already see the focus of this set. Please note that the Average Strength listed for Mercenaries is not adjusted for the special ability of the General.

This set contains one Runner, one Specialist and six Hitters (See here for a more detailed explanation of these terms).

The objects which are new to this set all enhance Strength - mostly when attacking. In fact, this set is balanced to give the attacker the edge over the defender. Keep that in mind when trying to decide whether to attack or not.

Here's the character overview with a couple of tips for each character:

Angel of Darkness: As the fastest character in this set, she is your best retriever. Her flying ability only functions in half of the rooms in this set, but she can work very well as a runner in Free Choice play. My most regular opponent suggests giving her a Two-Handed Sword - it allows you to have a Flying attacker with a surprising amount of punch that your opponent may not be expecting.

Crossbowman: Ranged combat. Yum. It doesn't change the game hugely, but it does entertain me greatly. My preferred trick with the Crossbowman is to try to trap an enemy character in his line of sight and then force my opponent to waste combat cards while I take potshots at him. I spent four actions shooting at my opponent's Samurai, once. Since the Samurai and the Crossbowman have the same Strength, my opponent had to figure out if I was bluffing with my +0 or burning a card to wound the Samurai. It was a very good way to burn him out of cards.

Assassin: This is a character I use a lot in Free Choice. Any time you are assembling a Hit Squad, include an Assassin. The ability to kill rather than wounding is huge. She's at her best in Group Combat while adjacent to multiple foes. She pairs extremely well with the Weapon Master from Paladins and Dragons.

Berserker: I don't use her very well yet, but she's rapidly becoming one of my favorite characters. Her ability to throw two Combat Cards when she's attacking alone makes her an extremely good Dragonslayer. Especially when given a weapon to use. She can also be used to burn down your opponent's Combat Card stack - just attack alone and throw a +1 and a +0. This is risky, of course, as your opponent may throw something high enough to wound her. Even this, of course, burns one of your opponent's combat cards.

Gold Dragon: Too many people force their Gold Dragon to lug around its treasure, rather than giving it a weapon. A Gold Dragon with a Two-Handed sword has a base Strength (when attacking) of NINE! If you can get your General into the room, that becomes a TEN. A Ten will wound most characters at a +0, even if your opponent throws their +6. If you're worried about losing your Dragon in combat, use him as a vulture and kill enemy wounded characters rather than attacking healthy characters.

General: The General is the most straightforward character in this (extremely straightforward) set. His allied characters gain +1 in Close Combat in the same room. It doesn't require Line of Sight, Adjacency, or any of the other limits which can be set. I tend to Phonebooth my OWN general when I find him in a room. True, he won't escape, but my opponent won't be killing him very easily, either. In Free Choice, he can either buff up your Runners (making them a credible threat in combat), or he can make your Hitters and Blockers even more effective.

Dwarf Troll-Slayer: His primary ability, it is worth mentioning, doesn't function in this set. It only works in Free Choice and Equal Forces play. The Troll Slayer is the counter to the Troll. It's that simple. Otherwise, he's still a decent hitter.

Samurai: Before doing something risky, I usually count out my opponent's characters and movements: "If I run my Assassin forward, he can still reach me with his Dragon, but he won't have a spare AP to attack." The Samurai makes this more difficult, because I have to remember that he doesn't spend that AP to attack me. Give the Samurai a Two-Handed Sword, and I'll sometimes forget that he can choose not to use it.
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Jared Kocet
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What is the point of the Gold dragon starting with treasure? Is it supposed to be a positive or a negative? Is the Gold dragon a super goblin or a dragon with a hefty bounty on his head? Just trying to wrap my head around how they balance some of the characters, verses the Undead Dragon for example.
 
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Eric Franklin
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Connatic wrote:
What is the point of the Gold dragon starting with treasure? Is it supposed to be a positive or a negative? Is the Gold dragon a super goblin or a dragon with a hefty bounty on his head? Just trying to wrap my head around how they balance some of the characters, verses the Undead Dragon for example.


Think of the gold dragon as being a more flexible Goblin - he doesn't have to keep the treasure, and can drop it in favor of something different. The risk, of course, is that your opponent might pick that treasure up and run with it.

As to balance ... there's a lot of debate as to whether individual characters are balanced or not. I don't personally believe that every character is created equally - the Wizard and Thief from the basic set are the core of my Free Choice team more often than not. Looking around online, it looks like the Wizard is one of the most-used characters in free choice play. This tells me that the Wizard may be a bit unbalanced power-wise.

The differences between the Gold and Undead Dragons are as follows:

Gold is NOT undead, has +1 Speed, doesn't regenerate, starts with a treasure, and is always visible on the board (even before his room is revealed).

The possible +1 VP of the Treasure is potentially game-breaking - remember: If you have the Gold Dragon and (for example) the Elf Scout on your team, your Elf Scout can take the treasure and run. A Speed 7 Goblin who can cross traps is a terrifying thing to comprehend.

Regeneration is also huge ability-wise, but I think the "undead" can balance it somewhat - an opponent with a Holy Cross and a flying character can instantly kill you. You're not immune to the Fireball Wand or the Red Dragon (if he can get a good line of sight). And there are areas on the board where you cannot move. Admittedly, the Undead factor is a smaller deal in Free Choice than in other modes of play.

When I'm working on a force of Runners, I'll use the Gold Dragon as my Hitter sometimes (I don't like a team of 8 Runners - it's never worked for me) - his Speed of 3 is average, but (as I stated above), I can always give the treasure to one of my Runners to get out of the maze.

Obviously, the relative value of characters does become quite subjective - I've met a few players who despise the Mechanork, but I think he's one of the best Specialists in the game. I've met players who love the Wall-Walker (who I can't stand).

Eric
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Jared Kocet
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Well...I did forget about the always being visible part. At a glance some characters just seem better. I was thinking about allowing the Purple Dragon I got into the free choice game which is another reason I was wondering about balance. Replacing the 2 AP singing ability of course with something else.

Someone on the board talked about making it a 1 AP ability that could break a door at range with a type of Acid Spit ability. Would a 2/6 acid spitting dragon worth 2 VP a balanced addition?
 
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David desJardins
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Anyone come up with good rules for building random teams, from all of the expansions? I don't like the fixed teams, and don't like unrestricted Free Choice. Just choosing characters and items completely at random seems weak/unfair, too (e.g., you could get fireball wand and no spellcaster). Some sort of hybrid with partial choice?
 
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Eric Franklin
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Anyone come up with good rules for building random teams, from all of the expansions? I don't like the fixed teams, and don't like unrestricted Free Choice. Just choosing characters and items completely at random seems weak/unfair, too (e.g., you could get fireball wand and no spellcaster). Some sort of hybrid with partial choice?


Go here. Click on "1 / 2 Joueur(s)."

You can get either matching forces or mismatched, depending on your preferences. "Forces Egales" is matching forces.

We run it twice to create a 'pool' of 16 characters and 12 items. Each player then assembles his team from that pool.

It's random, but players still have a great deal of control over their available forces.

Eric
 
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howl hollow howl
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Interesting web app.

Similarly, we just have each side randomly draw 12 characters and 9 items and choose from those. Depending on how many and which sets are used, it could mean certain characters/items (e.g., matic) gets used less often than others. We'll probably go up to 16 and 12 once we get a fourth 2p expansion in English.
 
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Jared Kocet
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What's with all this random stuff. with Free choice you get to choose your characters and items.
 
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Eric Franklin
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Connatic wrote:
What's with all this random stuff. with Free choice you get to choose your characters and items.


David desJardins asked if anyone had a good random method of generating teams. Some people find "deck-building" to be difficult due to the growing number of available choices. You can also use random generation to shake up one or more tournament rounds.

My preferred touranment these days is Equal Forces for one round, Free Choice for one round and Limited Random (as described above) for one round - it keeps players from being very good with one character and encourages a diversity of play.

Eric
 
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Jared Kocet
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Ah ok, I misunderstood what he said about Free Choice.
 
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