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Subject: A tough, low-scoring game rss

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Merric Blackman
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Josh's first game of Dungeon Lords turned out to not be an introductory one, as everyone else had played the game (in some cases, many times before). So, it was going to be a tough game for him. What I didn't expect was that it was going to be a tough game for everyone - and this without an earthquake destroying our rooms!

Both Rich and I "selected" the Room and Monster cards to be our initial inaccessible cards. Looking back, I think that was a mistake: it's probably best to always have the Room option from the start.

The key point of the first year was the event: Extra Tax. We had to pay extra gold for every room we had, or it would be destroyed and replaced by a regular tunnel. Of the four players, I was the only one to lose a room (the Propaganda Room) to the Extra Tax, but it made all of us have not very much gold by the end of the year.

Otherwise, I hired a Slime and a Witch, built quite a few tunnels and a Tunnel Building room, and stayed Not That Evil. Josh, playing opposite me, hired a Goblin and built a Trapmaking room at the entrance to his dungeon. Apart from that, he drew a lot of trap cards, which is what he was spending the copious amounts of gold he was digging on.

Merric=green, Josh=yellow

Richard was the most evil of us, hiring an early vampire (and thus becoming more evil during payday), but otherwise doing very well at building tunnels and a souvenir shop. What Rich did better than anyone else was build up a massive stockpile of food and gold for the next year, something that would come in very handy indeed.

Jackson built a chicken farm and grew his supply of imps (supplemented by a Troll). A goblin and a trap rounded out his defenses and, like everyone but rich, he was poor at the end of the year.

Rich=red, Jackson=blue

Then the adventurers came, and we got to see how good our defenses were.

In Josh's case: not very well. Two fighters and one rogue managed to overcome his goblin and traps pretty effectively; well, both fighters were eventually captured, but the rogue just kept on going. By the end of the invasion, his small complex of tunnels was completely destroyed. With no gold remaining, Josh was going to struggle in the next year until he could build some more tunnels.

In my case: slightly better. I lost two tunnels, but my most horrible fate was the wizard casting "Graffiti" on the first round of combat. Everyone else wasn't affected by that, but it meant I could only use two minions on the first season of next year, and that hurt a lot. The second round (with Invisibility), I used the slime to stop the conquering in a turn with no fatigue (I'd noted the spells beforehand through propaganda actions), but I couldn't stop them from conquering the next turn. At least all the adventurers were in my prison by the end of the phase!



Jackson fared less well than me, losing three tunnels, although he did capture all the adventurers. I thought he'd have done much better, but clerics are a pox on monster damage.

Rich, meanwhile, lost three tunnels and a room and only captured the one adventurer: once again, the cleric made his attacks so much less potent, especially when his only real attacking monster was a vampire!

For a first year group of adventurers, they'd done really well - and we'd done exceptionally poorly. Here was hoping the next year would be better!



Gold was the pressing problem for everyone this year, even Rich found himself short at times. My biggest problem was that, thanks to the graffiti, I couldn't do a reusable gold action first round. Instead, I had only one action in the first two seasons for gold, and then it was tax-time. And, yes, I couldn't pay it all, taking two penalty cubes as a result. Urgh.

Rich and I had an unofficial war going on for most tunnels: I might have had an advantage due to my tunnelbuilding room, but I couldn't use it for the first two turns due to the upcoming taxes! Rich, with his gold reserves, didn't have that problem. Lack of gold also made food-gathering hard, which then meant that recruiting monsters was difficult. When I eventually recruited one, it was a choice between a Ghost, a Troll and a Demon... on pay day! The ghost was my only option.

No gold, so no traps for me. I did finally build a few tunnels, though, and put in an anti-magic room and the trophy room: if I was very lucky.

Josh's biggest mistake in this year was that he didn't hire another monster. Otherwise, he gained some gold and food and built tunnels - a lot of tunnels. That hit him back during tax time, and he took 3 debt cubes. Josh also lost a couple of his imps to desertion, as he couldn't quite get them all working.



Jackson knew what he wanted: monsters, and set about to get them. By the end of the second year, he had two trolls, a golem and a goblin to protect his dungeon, and that seemed very impressive to me. (Compare to Josh's lone goblin!) As with the rest of us, he couldn't pay his taxes and gained 2 debt cubes, but his chicken farm and his extra imps did very well to give him all the food he needed for his monsters: a very impressive effort!

Rich, as I mentioned, went on a tunnel-building trip, adding in a couple of rooms for variety and to give his witch and vampire somewhere to hang out. He gained one debt cube and was by far the most evil of us all, but somehow managed to avoid the paladin. He did have a couple of turns where our actions manage to block him out of one of his minion's actions...



Then the second year adventurers came, and once again we discovered how awful our defenses were. In Josh's case: he had hardly any. A trapdoor allowed him to stop the adventurers conquering one turn, and another trap and the goblin got rid of two adventurers, but that was as well as he could do and two tunnels and a room fell to the marauders! To add insult to injury, a magic key allowed his adventurers to rescue one of the previously captured adventurers!

I also lost two tunnels and a room, and only captured two of the adventurers. Once again, the cleric was my downfall, although the wizard was annoying as well: I didn't have the monsters (and no traps), so my anti-magic room was far less effective than in previous games.



Jackson did a lot better (looking at his map, I see one tunnel conquered that is too far away from the entrance - no matter, it doesn't make a difference). Trolls and Golems proved too much for his adventurers; he lost only a room and a tunnel to their incursion!

Rich had the curse of the cleric again with his vampire - however, he was able to do some nice tricks so that eventually all his adventurers succumbed to fatigue, traps and the bite of the vampire. Two tunnels and a room were his losses.



Final scoring was interesting - and somewhat depressing. It went like this:

Rich 10 (2 monsters, 2 rooms, 8 adventurers, -14 conquered, -3 taxes, 2 point rooms, 13 titles)
- Lord of Dark Deeds
- Lord of Halls (shared)
- Tunnellord (shared)
- Lord of Imps
- Lord of Riches

Merric 6 (2 monsters, 4 rooms, 10 adventurers, -10 conquered, -6 taxes, 6 titles)
- Lord of Halls (shared)
- Tunnellord (shared)
- Battlelord (shared)

Jackson 5 (4 monsters, 12 adventurers, -10 conquered, -6 taxes, 5 titles)
- Lord of Halls (shared)
- Tunnellord (shared)
- Battlelord (shared)

Josh -14 (1 monster, 6 adventurers, -12 conquered, -9 taxes)

Rich had won it through his titles - a very impressive list. My trophy room was sadly empty. (Another tunnel and I would have won the game!) Poor Josh ended with a very low score, although Pat, who was sitting at the next table, wasn't impressed. "Call that a low score?" he said.

In fact, all the scores were very low. Considering that most games I've played of the full game, the winning score has been in the range of 20-30, this game of Dungeon Lords was one of the toughest. It's hard to say why, either: it didn't look that much harder than the others. The order of events, rooms, adventurers and the interference of the other players must have caused the difficulty; now we need to play again to see if this was a once-off event!
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montag 66
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Great session report! You've really captured the feeling of this great game.

One question though...how did Jackson and Rich only have to take a few debt cubes in the second year? They both had to pay close to 14 gold and I don't see where they've accumulated that much gold. Maybe I missed it or they built all those tunnels after the tax event.
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Kris Van Beurden
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montag66 wrote:
Great session report! You've really captured the feeling of this great game.

One question though...how did Jackson and Rich only have to take a few debt cubes in the second year? They both had to pay close to 14 gold and I don't see where they've accumulated that much gold. Maybe I missed it or they built all those tunnels after the tax event.


Taxation is only 1 gold per pair of tunnels/rooms, not 1 gold per tunnel. So if Rich & Jackson both have about 14 occupied tiles, that means they have to pay 7 gold (or pay 4-5 gold and take 2-3 debt cubes).
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montag 66
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Well, that makes a big difference! I somehow missed that point during my first two games. You should have seen the pile of red cubes in my dead letter office!

Thanks!
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Merric Blackman
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montag66 wrote:
Well, that makes a big difference! I somehow missed that point during my first two games. You should have seen the pile of red cubes in my dead letter office!

Thanks!


Did you have any cubes left for damaging the adventurers?

Cheers,
Merric
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