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Subject: The Ministry of Dungeons Final Exam rss

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Brown Deer
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I found it odd that I enjoyed this game as much as I do. Normally a resource management game where you need not talk to other players would irritate me to no end. Yet somehow, I really enjoy this game. I find it very important to play this game with the right set of expectations. You are not a dungeon taskmaster beating minions and heroes into submission. Rather you are the dungeon administrator handling all the paperwork and taxes that your various minions will require.

You gather resources to feed minions, mine gold to pay taxes and buy things, recruit monsters to smash heroes, and manage your reputation to either attract or repel nefarious do-gooders. You do all these things by sending your faithful minions into the nearby village. There you have it, the game despite its theme, is a worker placement resource management game with an optimization puzzle for combat.

The Infernally Good

The Humor
I found the writing to be hilarious. I fully understand it might not be your cup of tea. What it did do for me however was to turn a rather daunting rulebook into something palatable that I read with a smile on my face.

The Decision Making
The amount of decision making I feel is very good. Your opinion will vary, of course. What I find best about the game is that every decision counts. There is nothing trivial at all. You face very limited resources and are asked to sacrifice resources periodically. This keeps everything relevant at all points of the game.

Even after a few plays, the strategies I think work turn out not to do so. The order in which certain monsters and rooms show up drives a lot of decision making. However your basic need for resources and desire to score more points complicate things a lot. Another twist, two of your orders will not be available to you next round, and you get to decide which! All in all, I find there is enough to crunch for my brain to be very happy.

Combat
For me, I very much enjoyed the logic puzzle of combat. You have to consider what monsters and traps to use, how much damage they can do, how much of that damage will be prevented and healed, and how much of your dungeon you're willing to have conquered. It turns into a giant math problem of maximizing damage while minimizing loss. Yay optimization calculations! There is an element of unknown due to random combat cards that show up, however it is a highly cerebral process, which I enjoy.

The Slightly Ooze Covered

Bookkeeping
There is a lot of it with fiddliness abound. You will be moving your minions around each turn to indicate your orders, collecting different bits for food, gold, imps, and tunnels. Monsters, heroes, and rooms all have individual bits that fly around the table as well. It can be a lot to keep track of and it can be easy to misplace things. In terms of bits, I'd say this game is along the lines of Endeavor with a few more bits. Also, the imps are pointy. Be warned.

Player Interaction
It is possible to play this game without ever looking at someone's face. It is what it is. Everyone is very concerned with the state of their dungeon and the only real common ground is the common board. Take it or leave it.

The Blindingly Bad

Analysis Paralysis
Consequences of each decision abound. APers need not apply in my opinion. There can be a lot of down time inherent to watching people lay down orders and make their combat decisions. The potential is there for the game to just bog down indefinitely.

Learning Curve
The game is difficult. It can be very difficult to recover from mistakes and you can be very harshly punished for misplacing a card or not managing a resource properly. It can take awhile to figure out what balance you need.

Overall Impression
I really, truly enjoy this game. It is to me, a logic puzzle that is craving to be solved. It takes a few games to figure out what works and I'm ready to go back at just about any time. For my group the game works and is very enjoyable. It's not a hack and slash, it's not fast paced action, but it is a lot of fun.
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Garry Rice
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Perkasie
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I'd say there's a tad more interaction than you mention. It IS important to look at opponent's boards to see what action cards they are locked out of to try and time things properly...and to try to get a feel for what direction they may be trying to go...one of the attractions I find is trying to figure out what the other players are doing and place my minions accordingly.

That said, good review, and I really enjoy the game too!
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Benn Christensen
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Also remember to look at opponents resources. If payday is up, and one of your opponents needs food to feed his troll, you can plan after that. Granted this is still player interaction, Euro style
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Jeff Thompson
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I suppose you could play with a 30 second or 1 minute timer. First one done with his action selection turns the timer. Anyone who hasn't made all selections simply shuffles his cards and randomly selects them.

This does not cut down on AP if everyone has it. But it does let the non-AP players keep the game moving.
 
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David Henry
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Tompy wrote:
I suppose you could play with a 30 second or 1 minute timer. First one done with his action selection turns the timer. Anyone who hasn't made all selections simply shuffles his cards and randomly selects them.


Ahh the Robo Rally method. I think we have incorporated this into a dozen or so games.
 
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Linda Baldwin
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But ... but ... how can you not mention the bits?

(Looks lovingly at those imps.)
 
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Jacqui Keller
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Milwaukee
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the imps are so cute and pointy... meeple
 
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