Eddie the Cranky Gamer
Dungeon Twister showed up in my mailbox on monday, and I scavenged someone from our regular group to give it a whirl last night.
It was very interesting.
Please note that this is a session report, not a review, and game mechanics will not be discussed (except briefly at the end, in terms of what we got confused).
Our game took just over 2 hours. There was a lot of rules discussion, a few attempts to translate the french ourselves to resolve ambiguities, and a lot of thinking. I've heard a timer can be useful for playing this game - with our experience I can see why.
Now, we really didn't know what we were doing. We both played conservatively, however I spied an opening earlier than my opponent, and within 30 minutes I had 4 victory points by using a 5 Action card to move my Goblin - and later my Wall-Walker (with treasure) - a incredibly large number of steps. I was fortunate in that my opponent did not quite comprehend how one can leave one vulnerable to such a move - always keep *someone* blocking any direct (no traps, no doors) avenue of escape. At least they AP will need to be burned to jump traps or walk through walls.
I tried to repeat this trick with both my wizard and my theif (both able to ignore traps), resulting in a quick and untimely death for both.
This placed be in a troublesome spot - he had 8 characters, and I only had 4. Fortunatly he failed to capitalize on this position, instead moving around his side of the board collecting items. Both Fireball Wands were in his possesion - making his Troll basically immortal - but he didn't move on that advantage either.
Eventually I moved my Warrior to the second to last row of rooms. My opponent moved a number of characters to block, but I spotted a hole in his defense - my Mechanork was in the companion room to the last room I needed to penetrate. With 5 actions I rotated the room so the first row was vacant, moved my warrior on, rotated it 180 degrees (2 more actions) and then moved my warrior off: victory.
This game gave me the kind of headache highly-analytical games tend to do. Maharaja was the first game to do this in our group, so we call it a Mahaheadache. At the end I was sweating and exhausted: a very stressful game.
The mechanics are sound, but very subtle in terms of exploitation and excecution. We constantly discovered moves and methods that were less than obvious. Here are some quick thoughts:
- always engage the enemy before they reach the last row of rooms, unless you control the rotation devices in both rooms of that colour.
- when a row of rooms are both the same colour, a very effective choke point can be formed.
- a wizard without a fireball wand sucks. Place yours close to your side of the board.
- always look for open corridors leading to your starting row. 5 actions with a goblin is a LOT of movement.
- travel in groups. Combat is a LOT easier in groups.
- never, ever reveal a room with your last action point. You never know what your opponent has placed in that room.
We were very pleased with how easy this game was to play, considering it wasn't in english. Occasionaly we found the english rules posted here ambiguous or lacking. As Canadians, we both had some background in french, so some fumbling with the french rules proved illuminating. Here are a few things to note:
- It seems the game was designed without the standup cardboard characters in mind. The game refers to the characters only by their tokens - face up indicating active, face down indicating injured. There is a section of the french rules that indicates it is the intention of the designers that the standups are "optional" and should be swapped in for face up tokens - and back out for face down tokens when injured. Keep that in mind when "face up" and "face down" are mentioned.
Example: We didn't know if characters came into revealed rooms healthy or injured. The rules say "all tokens are face up" - therefore they come in healthy.
There were a few other ambiguities we encountered:
1) When a character is face down (injured) are players allowed to look under to token to be reminded of who was injured? There is a section of the rules - under setup - that says it is strictly forbidden to look under face down tokens, but that might only apply during setup. Since we were swapping standups and tokens, we just left the tokens face up. This might be wrong.
2) Does a character HAVE to move through another character to give/take/exchange items? We ruled that it was part of a move action, but that the character could stay in the same space if adjacent at the start of a move. I'm pretty sure this is wrong, as the rules strongly imply otherwise, but it made more sense to us.
We had a really good time, but we did find the experience a little overwhelming. Dungeon Twister is not a light game, but it does seem to have a tremendous depth and a very tangible Player vs Player challenge. We look forward to future plays.
(any ambiguties expressed herin are just as likely to be a fault of our reading as a fault of the translation. I might just be horribly embarassing myself by discussing them )
You understand lost of it very weel it seems.
You are correct about the stand up carton models they were not part of the original protos.
A face down character is wounded (except duriong set up on your starting line) and a face up counter represents a valid character.
You cannot look at you face down characters durng the setup phase.
During gameplay you can look under any character, your enemy's, yours, objetcs, wounded. You can simply lift any counter on the board and look at what it is or what is under it. No secret at all about counters.
But you cannot look at the cards playerd (action, combat or jumps).