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Todd
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Dorn is a dungeon type adventure game published by Altar Games.

I do not have a lot of time for a long review (I have to wake my daughter from her nap), but I wanted to write something quickly about this game.

Sifting through the Forums many users ask about the best Adventure game and many games are mentioned. However, Dorn is almost never talked about, it seems to be a very under appreciated design on BGG. The main reason being that it is not widely available. This is true, I had to order my copy directly from Altar Games (a very easy thing to do).

I will not go into a review of the rules of the game. I believe they are posted on the Geek.

I looked for an Adventure game for a long time. Posted questions on the geek. Traded and bought numerous games, including Castle Ravenloft, Talisman, Return of the Heroes, and DungeonQuest. What I want to do is list what I was looking for in a game and state why I think Dorn works.

1. Variety of Characters and Character levels. I played D&D in the 80's and I used to love building characters and watching them level up. I wanted a board game that could provide a similar feeling. Of the games I have looked at only CR allows characters to level up and it only allows for one level. You need to attain a certain amount of "experience" and then roll a natural 20. So some control, but then you wait for a lucky roll. In Dorn each hero can move up to Level 3 and you can do this as soon as you have killed enough monsters. Plus the game comes with a nice variety of characters.

2. Magic and quests. Both are available in the game (though you need the expansion to get the quests). Some fun spells that allow the the clerics and wizards to make a real impact on the game (unlike some where the Warriors are great and the Wizards are targets).

3. Interesting decisions. This game actually requires thought. It is a bit of a tactical brain-burner. No dice are involved. Combat is very simple and fast. I want to play a game, not have a game play me.

4. Quick player turns. I don't have a lot of patience for games that allow each player to take a 20 minute turn. Dorn is quick. The only person that is going to take a bit of time is the Dornkeeper.

5. Semi-cooperative. I like one against many in some games, and it works well here because the Dornkeeper has an actual character. This Big Bad can level up just like the heroes.

6. Reasonable playing time. Dorn comes in at 90-120 minutes. This to me makes it a highly replayable game. I like Arkham Horror, but I don't always want to play a 3-4 hour game and I will not play with more than 4 people because the time between turns can get long.

7. Replayability. This is the main problem that people seem to have with Dorn. However, if you get Dorn: Koschei's Eternal Return it will really help flesh out the game. New treasures, characters, monsters, spells, and a new Big Bad really make the expansion worth the money.

I realize this is not the best review. Sorry, I have to wake my daughter now or she will never go to sleep tonight. zombie

I just wanted more people to think about Dorn. It has great components, a beautiful board and I find it fun to play. Ordering from Altar Games is easy and they have great customer service.

Thanks for reading.

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Jeff Goldberg
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I didn't know this game existed. What is the best way to get a copy or is it coming to America soon.
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Reaper Steve
United States
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Thanks for the timely review. I played Runebound for the first time last night... I really wanted to like it, but just couldn't. I logged in to type up my reasons why and the first thing I noticed was your post... so I'm going to check Dorn out!
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Todd
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The best place to buy it is directly from Altar Games (http://shop.altar.cz)

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Reaper Steve
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If you don't mind me asking, what was the shipped total in $?
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nathan hayden
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Also beats Descent IMO too.

Descent creatures are more creative though. Gameplay, Dorn just topples these games in depth. Would love more boards and scenarios.
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Doug Adams
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Agreed, this is a great little dungeon hack. The expansion is excellent value too, adds a lot to the game.
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Todd
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Reaper Steve wrote:
If you don't mind me asking, what was the shipped total in $?


It was not cheap. Dorn and the expansion cost me 63 Euros including shipping and VAT. Don't remember how much that was in dollars when I ordered it.

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Moritz Eggert
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"Dorn" is an excellent design, but playing it is a rather dry experience. Any fantasy feeling is subdued by the fact that one constantly counts spaces "can the overlord reach this space? If I go here?". In a way it's more like Chinese Checkers than Fantasy Adventure (nothing against Chinese Checkers, by the way).
I found that I liked the design decisions, but in the end my craving for playing it faded quickly because it felt more like playing an abstract strategy game. I'd actually rather play Runebound for pure fantasy feeling than this game.
If you want a "deep" fantasy game that really is fun, check out the classic, "Magic Realm"...still top of the heap!
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Reaper Steve
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Thanks. That's $91.50 using today's rate. With shipping being such a large part of the expense (17 of the 63 euros... I used their cart), I agree that buying both the game and the expansion at the same time is the way to go.

$90 for a game completely off my radar, sight unseen? Hmmm.... (Well, I couldn't find anything else to get this month... Still, must resist...)
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Russell Campbell
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Reaper Steve wrote:
If you don't mind me asking, what was the shipped total in $?


I was just looking at purchasing this from the Altar e-shop and shipping to to the US is 17 euros for a total of 46 euros, about $67US at today's exchange rate.

Edit: Oops, didn't see the OP's response.
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Mark Chaplin
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Eggo wrote:
"Dorn" is an excellent design, but playing it is a rather dry experience. Any fantasy feeling is subdued by the fact that one constantly counts spaces "can the overlord reach this space? If I go here?". In a way it's more like Chinese Checkers than Fantasy Adventure (nothing against Chinese Checkers, by the way)


I'd steer clear of the latest version of actual D&D then, Moritz, because you'll be counting squares there too.



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kronlin
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Eggo wrote:
If you want a "deep" fantasy game that really is fun, check out the classic, "Magic Realm"...still top of the heap!


Yes to MR, but only if you have a JD/PhD in Tax Law will you be able to understand and apply the rules.
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Michael B. Hansen
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Nice review

Just wanted to add that it is a pretty good 2 player game as well.
I tried it with the 4 character variant that is in the rulebook.

I ordered the expansion from Altar a few days ago.
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nathan hayden
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Eggo wrote:
I'd actually rather play Runebound for pure fantasy feeling than this game.
If you want a "deep" fantasy game that really is fun, check out the classic, "Magic Realm"...still top of the heap!


I would agree on both of these points. For pure fantasy these are fantastic, and MR, still yet untouchable.

I thought Dorn really has the best D&D RPG team combat feel. As a game probably more similar to Descent and the new D&D games. I thought all the fighting was thought out very well, and the cooperative rpg team feel is tough to beat for a board game design.

Definitely a dry taste when reflecting on game, but every time I play it it feels rich and exciting. Weird.

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Aitor
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In Dorn, as in Chess, knowing how each piece moves is very easy. Knowing how to combine all pieces into a strategy is the meaty part!

The options/actions of a single hero may seem dry, but the meaty part is trying to make the best play as a team. That's because Dorn has been designed with scope on a squad-level. That's great, because forces all hero-players to cooperate heavily.

The player-versus-monster is simplistic, but the game reflects perfectly all the dungeoncrawling squad-level events: looting treasure, hunting for monsters, fleeing from an ambush, splitting the party for a moment to catch an unprotected Artifact, clearing a room with a sniper-fireball, securing a location, recovering HP in a safe spot, protecting a wounded teammate, rushing for the final showdown chased by legions of undead...

Also, even if combat is luckless, there are so many (squad-level) options available that it's very difficult to plan more than one turn ahead, so you get a great "uncertainty feeling" despite no random rolls. In a squad-level, you have to play intuitively, exactly the same as in dice-heavy games.
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Mark Wright
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I previously had thought about it and now I have done it.
Game and expansion ordered.
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Krystof Kozak
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I am one of the authors of Dorn, in the Czech Republic the game is available for 29 EUR...

The shipping costs are horrible, anybody has any ideas how to get around them? We are actually looking for partners that would distribute Dorn abroad...
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Mark Chaplin
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zorkal wrote:
I am one of the authors of Dorn, in the Czech Republic the game is available for 29 EUR...

The shipping costs are horrible, anybody has any ideas how to get around them? We are actually looking for partners that would distribute Dorn abroad...


You should do another small expansion - featuring, at the very least, giant spiders!



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Todd
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zorkal wrote:
I am one of the authors of Dorn, in the Czech Republic the game is available for 29 EUR...

The shipping costs are horrible, anybody has any ideas how to get around them? We are actually looking for partners that would distribute Dorn abroad...


Thanks to this review, your game is featured in the hotness so there will be some definite interest in it. I don't know anything about distribution but I wish you luck as I can't really justify the shipping personally.
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Wynand Louw
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zorkal wrote:
I am one of the authors of Dorn, in the Czech Republic the game is available for 29 EUR...

The shipping costs are horrible, anybody has any ideas how to get around them? We are actually looking for partners that would distribute Dorn abroad...


Contact FFG and Z-man... When they see the interest on BGG they should take note.
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Z-Man already decided not to pick up Dorn. I can understand them because the game still has some issues, e.g. player elimination and lacking replayability.
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Russell Campbell
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zorkal wrote:
I am one of the authors of Dorn, in the Czech Republic the game is available for 29 EUR...

The shipping costs are horrible, anybody has any ideas how to get around them? We are actually looking for partners that would distribute Dorn abroad...


I thought Fun Again Games was distributing Dorn in the US? Then again, I look at there site and it says it's back-ordered without a known delivery date. Are you looking for just a channel to distribute manufactured copies or also a publisher?

Russ
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Mark Chaplin
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Hegel wrote:
I can understand them because the game still has some issues, e.g. player elimination and lacking replayability.


I will only let you have replayability if you've had to play against the very same folks about 10-15 times, and without the expansion's inclusion.
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N S.
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Cool looking game I was not aware of. The cover art is really striking. The whole aesthetic is refreshing different from what we have come to expect from Dungeon-Crawls. I have a question about the pieces. Are they wooden blocks like in some of the pics, or cardboard stand-ups, or something else?

Would probably buy if available from a U.S. distributor. Shipping from Europe is a bit pricey, but maybe I'll go for it if I find a big pile of money lying around.
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