Recommend
32 
 Thumb up
 Hide
8 Posts

Dungeon Twister» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Solid Two-Player Tactical Game That Happens To Be Fantasy rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: review [+] humor [+] [View All]
Jeremy Yoder
United States
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

The Premise

The premise of Dungeon Twister is an evil wizard has brought two groups of characters to battle one another in his custom-made dungeons that allow for turnable rooms for his own pleasure. (The person who can name the original Star Trek episode with a similar premise gets bonus quatloos points.) Every time I've explained this premise to people, at least one laughs. But who cares; the result is still a solid tactical two-player game.


Basic Mechanics

Each player has 8 characters with differing abilities (such as breaking doors, walking through walls, etc.) I'll not list them, but each brings a unique element, thereby forming an elite team, not unlike the A-Team similiar RPG/dungeoncrawl games with multiple units. All, that is, except for the weak goblin, whose "ability" is to grant an extra point if he survives.

The winner is the first person to 5 points. A point is earned by getting a character off the opposite side of the board (past all your opponent's characters) or by killing an enemy character. A bonus point is given for the goblin because he's so weak, and for carrying off a treasure chest. As you can see, getting a char off is good in that it gives you a point, yet it also makes your team weaker, so you need to weigh the pros and cons for the short and long-term.

There are objects throughout the dungeon. One is the aforementioned treasure chest, but others include a sword (+1 attack) armor (+1 defense), etc. There are 6 objects per player (identical for both players) yet players may also carry the other player's items. Each char may only carry one object at a time. A char can also carry a fellow wounded char, but that is also all he/she can carry.

Movement, attack, and play are done via "action points" that vary each turn from 2 to 5 per player, depending on the action card a player selects. These cards are recycled throughout the game after all are used. An action point is used as follows: Move a char up to his/her max movement, attack another char, use an object, use a char's special ability, jump, expose a room (all start face-down at the start of play), or turn a room 90 degrees. Any and all of these action points can be combined and/or shared amongst your chars.


Unique Mechanics

Turning a room is the most unique "twist" (get it?) of the game, which works as follows: The gaming area consists of eight good-sized "tile rooms" in a 2 by 4 pattern, each with 25 (5 by 5) spaces. In each room, one space is where a character can stand and turn the room 90 degrees per action point. Also, each room has a matching room (which is identified by color and a number) that the player can turn instead. Each room can only be turned in the direction of the room's arrow; unless you use the Mekanork char, whose ability is to turn either matching room in either direction.

Each char has a max movement and attack value printed on its standup cardboard token. When you attack, you play one of your limited attack cards, which is added to your char's attack value. The higher value wins. Example: Warrior attacks with 3 and Wall-Walker with 1. When they battle, each player selects an attack card. If the first picks a +2 and the latter picks a +6, then the Wall-Walker wins: 3+2=5 < 1+6=7. When a char is defeated, he is wounded on the board (by swapping the standup token for a flat circular token with the char's face.) It's attack value is now 0. If defeated again, it is killed and your opponent gets 1 victory point.

Why not always use your highest attack card? Because each player's attack cards are limited and once you use them they're gone, except for the +0 card. Therefore, part of the game falls under the bluffing/second guess category. (Do I use my +5 to guarantee victory, just in case he uses his +6? Or do I play the +0 card, thinking they'll use +0 since they expect to lose?)

Another unique combat aspect is that multiple chars can fight at once, given certain adjacent rules that I'll not spell out here. What I like about that is it allows for more safety in numbers, depending on how you work it. However, I'm not sure I like the idea of all of a player's involved chars winning or being defeated. (I have to play more to get a feel for it.)


Reasons I Like It

The game really does play like RPG/dungeon-crawling chess, which I had read a few times but didn't believe until I tried it. I agree and enjoy it for that. Although I'm bummed because I have yet to find someone to whom that appeals. As a result, I've only played twice, but both opponents were less than thrilled and were easily beaten, even though they somewhat tried.

I also like the board setup, which is elegant by allowing for strategy rather than random placement. As mentioned earlier, all rooms randomly start face down. But now each player secretly places 4 of their 8 chars on the 4 starting positions on your side of the board. Now players take turns placing on the rooms their remaining face-down tokens, which consist of your 4 other chars and your 6 objects. The 4 outermost rooms can only hold 2 tokens each, while the 4 innermost rooms may hold 3 each. Now you play. When a room is exposed by an adjacent character, the tokens are revealed, at which point players place their opponent's tokens anywhere in that room.


Final Thoughts

Even after reading the directions I was excited to play this game. Yet as I said, a worthy opponent has so far eluded me, so I don't feel I can accurately grade it yet. And while I don't mind random elements to games, there's something very rewarding about a game like this with no die roll because it puts everything on your shoulders. Win or lose, it's a result of your choices and your opponent's, so there are no excuses and true kudos for earning victory.

All that said, this game will mostly entice those who thrive on tactics and planning ahead. Having at least an appreciation for chess and enjoying fantasy are not necessarily prerequisities, but they would add to your enjoyment. Otherwise, if some of those traits don't apply to you (such as with the two people I've played) then you can go back to playing Skipbo, Uno, or Phase 10 different games that don't require you to use your mind give so many options.

... Why no, I'm not bitter. Why do you ask?

11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Yoder
United States
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

athmok wrote:
I had a similar problem with getting people to play, but finally got my wife to play the beginner variant in the back of the manual where you use 6 rooms while leaving out a few characters/items.

I also played the beginner variant with her. In fact, I made it even simpler and didn't mention pits and took out the rope, so we treated pits as a normal space. But the first thing my wife did was pick up her troll, make a face, and said, "Ew! He's ugly!" Even then I realized I'd lost her (she's not a fantasy fan) but we plodded on anyway. Yet between her deer in the headlights stare and occasional sighing, I knew we'd never play again.

But I'm glad it worked for you. And thanks for the kind words.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kali Fitzgerald
United States
Black Earth
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great review!

My husband and I just got this game and played it for the first time last night.

It is quite fun. I especially love that it makes good use of my skill for spacial relationships.

The first time we played I didnt' do so well, but the second time I picked my characters more strategically (pairing wallwalker with the troll so she could venter ahead and rotate the rooms to his advantage)

I still havn't won but came a lot closer. Looking forward to playing again!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dungeon Twister is a game my wife and I have enjoyed together also. Even though the theme isn't really "her thing", and as you say there was a bit of a learning curve... the basics are straight forward enough but then you need to learn what all the characters can do and what all the items can do. (We didn't try the beginner version.) As is common in such cases she found the first game very "ho hum" but the second game she enjoyed.

It hasn't seen a lot of table time, mostly I think because it can run to quite a long game (she says "because you think too long") but it's been a worthy investment... the theme softens any intellectual seriousness about it but you can certainly furrow your brow trying to work out cool tactical moves, and there's quite a variety of strategical options. (eg our first game... TOUCHDOWN!!.)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Yoder
United States
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

All these husband-wife combos that love to play; I'm jealous. As for it taking too long, I've read that many put a two-minute time on moves, to keep it in that 45 minute range as the box claims. Might be something to try if it means more table time.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Fabrice Wiels
Belgium
Chatelet
Unspecified
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
JYoder wrote:
All these husband-wife combos that love to play; I'm jealous. As for it taking too long, I've read that many put a two-minute time on moves, to keep it in that 45 minute range as the box claims. Might be something to try if it means more table time.


DT must be played with a time limit. It is mandatory, or you opponent will be bored before you know it. 3 minutes for a beginner is fine. For an experienced player 2 minutes is the maximum. I personnaly have a tendency to play in 30 seconds, since I use the time of my opponent to study my options...

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
"Every Board Game I Reach Is Dead"
United Kingdom
Scarborough
North Yorkshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Cheers for the review, I'm intrigued now- which will only lead me down the road to buying...
I pity you guys with your non-gaming other halves! I play with my girl friend and her sister! Wait, that came out wrong. surprise goo
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.