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Subject: First Session of Augmented Miniature Board Game rss

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This is the first time we actually play the board game as per my description in my most recent post (New Way of Playing D&D Miniature Game). This is a summarized review of what happened yesterday:

We played according to the setting of dungeon setting with floor tiles from Decent: Into the Dark. The game setting was Circle of Champions. Simple rules are set: 100 monsters points for one level up (+1 to attack or save or AC or DC from spells/abilities or +5 damage or +2 speed or trade for a predetermined follower). All characters have either newly added abilities or being adjusted to improve its survivability. Player that accumulated 500 monsters points is the Champion.

Characters
Me: Guardian Mummy, Mina Dark Cleric, Eye of Gruumsh,
Philip: Air Genasi Swashbuckler, Rikka Angelic Avenger, Chimera
Nick: Thrall of Blackrazor
John: Death Slaad, Champion of Yondalla
Dominic: Astral Construct, Hellcat


Guardian Mummy (lasted 1 round) – a nice character to play but was slow in dealing more damage as it relied on Mummy Rot, and this can be a problem when enemies succeeded in saving it, thus takes no damage. It will have problems when it is gang bang and against monsters that are fighter or warrior class which is fast and ferocious in dealing damage.

Mina Dark Cleric (lasted 1 round) – a fantastic character to play but was killed by critical hits from enemies that ditched out 30 non magic damage (x2 so it became 60 damage) while she still has 50HP. A potential character as her summoned follower, Terror Wight was instantly killed due to low HP and AC. Castigate spell is quite strong, but needed time to cast on enemy. No chance of using Death Kiss ability which can be strong if she faced lower level minions.

Eye of Gruumsh (lasted 1 round) – another interesting character. Though he has limited fighting options (either smack the enemy with double axe or use Blinding Spittle), I decided to use the 2 attack which has +15/+15 (25 magic damage) hoping to kill off enemy in shortest time. Unfortunately the Vicious Attack that deals 5 damage to himself for every successful attack proved to be painful to him. Eventually he died even after I have adjusted his HP to 115. Perhaps the character should use Blinding Spittle to cause blindness (DC18) to his enemies before attacking because if that works, enemies must roll 50% chance of hitting him (similar to concealment ability).

Air Genasi Swashbuckler (lasted 2 rounds) – can be very powerful with unlimited Retributive Strike, but may face problem when he is being gang up by spell casters such as clerics with fighters or wizards with warriors. Overall, a highly potential character.

Rikka Angelic Avenger (lasted 2 rounds) – powerful in the first round due to adjusted Waylay ability (add save to initiative roll and first attack that hits if the character starts first deals additional 25 damage to one target enemy), but sustainability is in question as she has only one attack, though the damage is considerably high. The Greater Rage which added was very useful but may not be sufficient when face with higher level monsters or being gang up. However, a very nice themed character to have and needed more testing against different monsters.

Chimera (lasted 2 rounds) – a monster character with 3 unique abilities from each of the head. However, it was not helped by the HP even though it has 3 attacks, all being non magical. It does not have sufficient HP to fight higher level monsters as it can’t heal or regenerate, made worse with low AC. May need to reconsider this character as what needed to be adjusted.

Thrall of Blackrazor (lasted 5 rounds) – the most powerful character so far and survived all the way by taking over enemy’s body and continue on playing. Nick played it really well by attacking the less desired enemy when being gang up. So he allowed the better monster to kill him and use the Thrall ability to take over the better (unscathed) monster and continue playing with it. Interesting and superbly powerful.

Death Slaad (lasted 3 rounds) – one of the instant killer with Deadly Rend. However, he succumbed to critical hits and died before he could eliminate enemies. Definitely a potential character and nice to play with.

Champion of Yondalla (lasted 2 rounds) – a highly “battle tactician” character that requires player to use her 2 Skullclan Hunter followers intelligently. She can be very powerful, especially when she gets more followers that provides synergy to her abilities and tactical style, such as clerics, spellcasters, etc

Astral Construct (lasted 2 rounds) – good abilities and should have sufficient sustainability with choosing 2 abilities during every encounter. Interesting character as it has immunity to many effects.

Hellcat (lasted 3 rounds) – definitely one of the stronger character with SR and Concealment 11. In fact, it may Rend and Pounce, powerful in its own way.

Many more characters (out of 40) needed to be retested for playability.

Game Progress
The battle may take at least 5 – 20 minutes per battle as character face with at least 2 monsters, and each has their own ability and synergies. Players needed time to read and understand what are these abilities and quickly strategize how to best play it. This has resulted in down time for other players, unlike fast phase board games that every player may take about 1 minute to finish his turn.

This is also in view of all players are either former or current D&D RPG pen and paper players who are quite used to the complex D&D system as compared to any normal board games. The battle system may be difficult to be simplified (characters system of save, AC, HP, attack and damage, special abilities, spells, effects, tactical movement, range, commander effect, etc..) but game setting can be improved and made easier.

Characters died easily due to monsters encounters could be too high. As long as the monsters level be readjusted, the game play can be more fun and interesting. The monsters points should be the same or slightly higher than the character and not overly exceeding, in which case, killing characters too easily. This, I guess is the main issue during the game play where players do not really enjoy so much as they were overwhelmed by enemies (except for Thrall of Blackrazor, because he is suppose to be killed and take over enemies).

Miniatures
Great miniatures and its fun to play them but needed time to search for each one when monster’s card is drawn. That took quite a bit of effort from me and needed to sort them out nicely to cut short the pain of looking for miniatures that matches the card. Now im sorting them according to 20-29 points, 30-39 points and 40+ points. Perhaps I should sort them according to smaller number such as 20-24 points, 26-29 points.

Map
My group of players like fast and less down time types of board games. Therefore I needed to cut short and simplify game setting or theme for faster battle and progress. Will design a few more dungeon setting/theme that will inject fresh feeling during play. PvP setting is still preferred for better player interaction.


Conclusion
A highly potential board game that may take some time to finish. The key is to find ways to cut short player's down time as well as game setting/theme that consists elements which will keep players engaged and intrique all the way, though not as easy as said.

Only players who enjoys tactical play and strategizing battle would truly enjoy this game. The characters and D&D miniature game system has provided sufficient ingredients for variety and surprises.

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