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Subject: Dungeon Lords short review after one play of the prototype rss

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Joachim Pehl
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Hi,
three weeks ago, I got a chance to play the prototype of this game, since I was very impressed with it, I decided to write this review.

Two disclaimers, I'm a Vlaada Chvâtil fanboy and english isn't my native language. If you can live with that and want information about the game, continue reading.



The goal:

If you know the pc game Dungeon Keeper you already know that, you are an evil dungeonmaster who wants to build an underground dungeon, you are hiring monsters, planting traps and other fun stuff. Sadly the heroes of the land are not very happy about that and therefore try to destroy your precious dungeon. So, you must build a dungeon that is deadly enough to keep the heroes from destroying your home.


The game:

The game is played over two years (approx 1,5-2,5 hours). In each year you play three seasons and in winter a group of heroes enters your dungeon in order to destroy it. After two years, the player with the best dungeon (most victory points) win the game.

A season:
In each season you choose secretly 3 of your action cards. The possible actions are
-gain food
-mine gold (you need imps and empty corridors for that)
-mine new corridors (you need imps for that)
-create imps (workers)
-become less evil
-hire monsters (costs gold, food and/or spaces on the evil track) (the available monsters change each round)
-develop traps
-build a room (you upgrade a corridor two a room with a special function) (the available rooms change each round)

Each of your action cards represents one of these actions. Now, when everybody has chosen his three cards, each player, beginning with the start player, reveals his first card and places one of his player pawns on the icon for the appropriate action, after that the same procedure with the second and third. Each action can be done three time, this means if all 4 players choose the same action during one season, the fourth gets nothing (he gets a little payback, but I don't remember what it was, since it never happened in our game). However, usually the third spot is the best, so don't want to be the first one to place his pawns. For example the food action.
The first player will get 1 food for 1 money
The second player will get 2 food for 1 money
The third player will get 2 food and one money, but he becomes more evil (There is a track to represent that)
Now all actions will be executed, after that players can also use remaining imps if they have a room where they can do something.


Each player will get a hero, the players which are the most evil will get the stronger heroes. If you are extremely evil you will also get a paladin.

Furthermore of the three chosen actions, the second and third will stay on you player board and won't be available for you in the next season.

Now after three seasons you will have three heroes (and sometimes a paladin). Now the heroes enter the first space of your dungeon, you can now use your monsters and your traps, how many depends on the room. If you do enough damage to kill the entire hero party you are save (or you have an appropriate trap). Otherwise, they will destroy the corridor in their location and move on (up to four times). Furthermore each round there is a spell card, if the heroes have a magician in there party and he has enough mana, he automatically casts it The other heroes types are warrior (soaks up the damage), thief (prevents traps), cleric (heals damage) and the paladin (he has all 4 types). I don't remember the exact sequence of the fight, but you should now have an idea.
Each slain hero is worth victory points, and a paladin is especially good (but hard to defeat). Furthermore, you will get VP's for special rooms, undestroyed corridors, and titles. There are several titles handed out after the game, for example master of evil, master of monster, etc.

The second year works the same, but you will see stronger heroes.

There are some other details like events and you have to pay taxes, wages for your monsters and so on. But I can't remember them all at the moment.

I hope that this short review helps, feel free to ask question in this thread.


My opinion of the game.

It's great, I can't really compare it to another game since it tries to (and accomplishes) a lot. It has euro mechanics, but also a good amount of randomness and a strong theme. I think that if you like Vlaadas other designs, you will most likely also like this game. For me it's a preorder


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Art Vandelay
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this sounds like another amazingly fun game from Vlaada!! cant wait to see it
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A. B. West
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I appreciate early looks at games and your review has reminded me of the aspects of this one quite nicely. Thanks!
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brian laing
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oh bloody hell I cant wait to get this. I have been thinking for years on building a board game based on the PC game. My wife still mimics the sounds from that game. "Your Minions are hungry" SMACK!!!
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MS-06 Zaku II
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Where is the picture showing the game components? When the game will be out?
 
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James Cartwright
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Great review, no problems reading and understanding it.

Sounds like it's going to be a great game.

Is there not going to be copyright infringment on the original Dungeon Kepper game though?
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Joachim Pehl
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ah3Dog wrote:
Where is the picture showing the game components? When the game will be out?


The artwork is still in developement, I asked Vlaada Chvâtil about the style of the artwork. Unlike Galaxy Trucker it will be more realistic. But I can say you that it already looked great (for a prototype). I will try to find a picture of the prototype.

They hope to release it at Essen this year.
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Ingo Griebsch
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Hi,

how about a map? Is there one map? Or will the players lay tiles to expand their dungeons (like descent or so)?
 
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Ingo Griebsch
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Hi,

another question: How about the figures in the game (imps, monsters, heroes)? Are they described with cardboard counters? Or are they described like for example the aliens in galaxy trucker? Nice little miniatures which represent the dungeon keeper like imps were great.
 
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Ingo Griebsch
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Hi,

tech7 wrote:
I will try to find a picture of the prototype.


mean you this picture?

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Choubi Gogs
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I love the idea of the game but it's not clear to me by what means the players interact...

Could you tell me more about that?
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Scott Everts
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Looks like he has another hit on his hands! I've been waiting for a game like this for ages. I loved the Dungeon Keeper PC game so glad someone decided to make a boardgame like it.

Based on the picture the dungeon you build isn't that big so I assume it gets pretty beat up during each adventurer round. And like that they used the Galaxy Trucker astronauts for imps!

I remember a small box boardgame that had a theme like this from a few years back. Can't remember the name but it didn't get good reviews.
 
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Timothy Pride
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This is a cool idea for a game. This really escalates Vlaada Chvatil to be the best multigenre designer out there.
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Joachim Pehl
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Rindel wrote:
Great review, no problems reading and understanding it.

Sounds like it's going to be a great game.

Is there not going to be copyright infringment on the original Dungeon Kepper game though?


Thanks,
I don't think that there is any problem. I mean many boardgames have themes similar to PC-games.

d0gb0t wrote:
Hi,

tech7 wrote:
I will try to find a picture of the prototype.


mean you this picture?




Jup, that's the prototype, but I think that the people from cliquenabend.de made another picture, but it doesn't seem to be online now.

d0gb0t wrote:
Hi,

how about a map? Is there one map? Or will the players lay tiles to expand their dungeons (like descent or so)?


Take a look at the picture, on each players tableau there is a 4*5 grid, with some (hard to see) black tokens, each token is a empty corridor, if you update a corridor to a room you replace a corridor, that isn't adjacent to another room, with the appropriate room tile. Furthermore, if you expand your dungeon you may never build a 2*2 corridor. Destroyed corridors/rooms are marked by turning over the appropriate tile.

d0gb0t wrote:
Hi,

another question: How about the figures in the game (imps, monsters, heroes)? Are they described with cardboard counters? Or are they described like for example the aliens in galaxy trucker? Nice little miniatures which represent the dungeon keeper like imps were great.


Monsters are represented by cardboard. Each season you draw three monsters which are available. Each monster can fight once per year unless it has a special ability which allows multiple attacks.
The imps are represented by plastic miniatures, at least I think so. In the protoztype they used the astronauts from Galaxy Trucker.

Choubi wrote:
I love the idea of the game but it's not clear to me by what means the players interact...

Could you tell me more about that?


Player interactions comes from guessing which actions the different players will take. For example, if multiple players will need food for payday, and you are early in player order it could be a good idea to take the food action so that one player will be screwed.

Another interactions come from the competition of the different titles, the titles make a lot of victory points. For example, in our game I and another player were pretty evil, but we had a really nasty dungeon (I had a lot of monsters and he a lot of traps), we both tried to get even more evil so that we get the paladin (in order to slay him) and the master of evil title.



I hope that it willl later be possible to send monsters to your "friends" But this would be a wish for the expansion


ScottE wrote:
Looks like he has another hit on his hands! I've been waiting for a game like this for ages. I loved the Dungeon Keeper PC game so glad someone decided to make a boardgame like it.

Based on the picture the dungeon you build isn't that big so I assume it gets pretty beat up during each adventurer round. And like that they used the Galaxy Trucker astronauts for imps!

I remember a small box boardgame that had a theme like this from a few years back. Can't remember the name but it didn't get good reviews.



The small cardgame was probably MiniMonFa (MiniMonsterFantasy). And yes your dungeon gets beat up, one of our players made a critical mistake and lost his complete dungeon (with the exception of 1 empty corridor) in season 1. And we were playing without the event cards, which screw you further devil (For example Rats, anyone who knows Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization knows what that means )

I hope that my answers help.

By the way, if one of the people of CGE reads this, many thanks for the friendly talk and games at Stahleck and for getting explanations of games even way after midnight. About the games, I assume that Essen this year will be expensive, if you can publish all these prototypes until then .
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Galen Ciscell
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This game sounds great! From the brief rules explanation I am confused as to how/why it takes 1.5-2.5 hours to play. Any help on why it's such a long playing time?
 
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Marc Mistiaen
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I'm drooling already. The only reason I've not bought Galaxy Trucker is for lack of a playing group now that I've relocated to Spain, and I already own Prophecy and Through the Ages.

It seems interaction is on the light side, à la Race for the Galaxy - not that it bothers me but there's no need to hide it either.

tech7 wrote:
I hope that it willl later be possible to send monsters to your "friends"

Which was actually featured in the PC game.
 
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Joachim Pehl
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gciscell wrote:
This game sounds great! From the brief rules explanation I am confused as to how/why it takes 1.5-2.5 hours to play. Any help on why it's such a long playing time?


1,5 -2,5 is long ?


during our first gmae we needed 2 hours including rule explanation. I think that you can play it in one hour if all people know the rules and most of the available spells, traps, mosnters, heroes, events, etc.

Corwin1980 wrote:
I'm drooling already. The only reason I've not bought Galaxy Trucker is for lack of a playing group now that I've relocated to Spain, and I already own Prophecy and Through the Ages.

It seems interaction is on the light side, à la Race for the Galaxy - not that it bothers me but there's no need to hide it either.

tech7 wrote:
I hope that it willl later be possible to send monsters to your "friends"

Which was actually featured in the PC game.


Yup, interaction is defintely on the light side, compared with Race, imo, there is more interaction. You have the titles, the evil track and the choice of rooms or monsters, there will be times when you choose before your opponent and all options are good for you and only one for your opponent.



Furthermore,Vlaadas last release (Space Alert) was interactive enough for three games By the way, there was also a Space Alert expansion there, unfortunately I didn't get a chance to play it.
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Robert Buciak
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I played Dungeon Lords prototype im March. The game doesn't change much from that time. IMHO dungeon building mechanism is something new, great and original. It looks like worker placement and action planning mix. Unfortunately fighting with heroes is overcomplicated and game has too much downtime. Maybe I will have second chance to playtest in September. Now, for me is 7/10. My friends rates it higher.
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Martin Hrabálek
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You need just around 2 hours for the first game, at least we made it under 2 hours (but one person already knew the game). It runs smooth, there seem to be large variety of ways how to play the game - we played in 4 and we ended up within 1 point margin, although most of us applied different strategies!!! For my first impresion I rate it 9/10 There are also other more "light" games to come from Vlaada this year, one of them extremely funny and other a nice quick filler
 
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Joachim Pehl
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dracoPL wrote:
I played Dungeon Lords prototype im March. The game doesn't change much from that time. IMHO dungeon building mechanism is something new, great and original. It looks like worker placement and action planning mix. Unfortunately fighting with heroes is overcomplicated and game has too much downtime. Maybe I will have second chance to playtest in September. Now, for me is 7/10. My friends rates it higher.


I don't think that the fighting is overcomplicated, the game just needs a good player-aid for the sequence.

For the downtime, where did you have the downtime issue, planning is parallel, our game was rahter fluid.
 
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Matt M
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Played Space alert all weekend. Looks fun! If Vlaada can nail this videogame conversion,then move on to X-com!
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Robert Buciak
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tech7 wrote:
I don't think that the fighting is overcomplicated, the game just needs a good player-aid for the sequence.

For the downtime, where did you have the downtime issue, planning is parallel, our game was rahter fluid.


We had downtime during fight. There is a lot of things to count and remember. IMHO player aid for fighting could be very very long. Maybe Vlaada changed something from March. If CGE will come to Pionek to Gliwice in September, than I will probably know about changes.
 
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Mark Crane
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If he keeps this up they're going to move Essen-Spiel to Czechoslovakia.
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Robert Buciak
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craniac wrote:
If he keeps this up they're going to move Essen-Spiel to Czechoslovakia.

As I remember Czech and Slovak got a divorce in 1992 and from 1993 they are two different countries. shake
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Tim Collins
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"your creatres are fighting amongst themselves!"

man I loved the PC game and this game looks RIGHT up my ally. Its so funny that I to was just thinking of a way to do this in a board game. Looks like I got beat by one of the best designers out there! GOOD! cant wait to see this one!
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