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Subject: Don't Let Them Loot! rss

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Silidus
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As a consul player I have had a heck of a time keeping my heroes challenged in both 16 and Super! games. To be fair, I have been playing with fairly experienced rpg/games who know how to co-ordinate potions and abilities which makes them very hard to pin down, especially after the first few turns when they start getting loot and treasure.

My strategy for unit placement has usually been towards trying to hit Rex and the boss as quickly as possible. Spawning hatchlings (2 wounds, 1 skull) and whelps near the first spawn point, and Ironscales near the 2nd or third. While general strategy is moving as many units into melee range around the mage (or pally if mage is out of range) to take advantage of mob).

Typically the games have gone like this:
Turn 1: Mage wins initiative for heroes, and destroys the tower in the first room with range (before flingers have a chance to smoke) (+1 loot). I move some units (usually trying to plug a hallway on route to the second spawn, or sending the units in the first room to attack the mage). Rogue pops the teleport potion to move either himself or pally/berserker closer to the 2nd tile, then pally/zerker scores 3 hits on the weaker units near the second spawn, past the plug (+1 loot). I move guys in the back, remaining rogue mops up units in the first room (usually hatchlings) scoring another 3 hits on the 0 armor units (+1 loot) or just going for the treasure chest.

By this point my 2nd spawn is in trouble, the heroes have 3 loot and some extra attack dice, or worse, status effects and can easily deal with Rex and any ironscales I have near the second or third spawn point.

The game always ends with the heroes just cutting down the boss within 2 rounds, while I struggle to inflict wounds, which usually are healed during heroes next activation (either by hearts or pots).


Last night however I decided to try something different. Spawning Ironscales near the first spawn, the mage took still took out the spawn point (+1 loot). I then RAN the dragon priest from the 2nd spawn up towards the heroes, to a hallway about 7 squares from the heroes, smoked him with a flinger, then ran the flinger back as far as he could go. This prevented the heroes from doing a full 10 square teleport, best option being to port 6 squares run up, hit the priest (less than 3 wounds due to decent armor, no loot), then run past the smoke with the flinger still out of range. My next move I activate auras on the 2 ironscales and run them up to the hallway to form a decent stopgap (hitting the heroes once each on the way). Rogue moves, cant get past ironscales 1B + 2w armor (no loot, should have gone for the treasure). My last go I sprint up the remainder of my units from the 3rd spawn, but keep them well out of range of the pally.

That basically set the tone for the rest of the game. I kept smoking the ironscales while running other units out of range of the pally and using range. Less loot for the heroes meant the ironscale armour actually held, while no hits by the pally prevented healing/pots and further loot. Pally was able to take down the 2nd spawn after a few turns, but by then there was such a buildup of units near the third spawn + miniboss + consul loot card, it was pretty much over. By the time starfire spawned the heroes still had only 2 loot cards and 2 treasures and simply could not stand up to the onslaught.

Looking at the mechanics the game is really a game of attrition for the consul. Every wound inflicted advances the counter towards the boss, but every 3 wounds gives a loot, which resets each round. Reducing the number of wounds the heroes inflict per round by doing hit and runs (even if it means losing a spawn point) means the heroes will likely be poorly geared when the miniboss and boss arrive, which means easy wounds for the consul and hard wounds for heroes, which just perpetuates. Conversely, sacrificing weaker units for the sake of a wound (like running knuckleheads and hatchlings up to melee range before its 'kill time') just means more hearts/potions and loot for the heroes... sure the boss will spawn quicker, but he will likely just get stomped.

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Aaron Bergman
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Generally speaking, I disagree - I want to hit 16-bit as rapidly as possible, before they kill their second spawn point, so I can draw and pick from four Loot cards.

I'm willing to sacrifice the first spawn point and spawn hatchlings and gougers from it to achieve just that.

The first spawn point is ALWAYS a loss - there's just no way that the Consul can save it. Admittedly that means they get some Loot, but once the Consul draws something like the Serpent Sword, a Rune of Defense (or Better Defense), or (spirits forbid!) the Rune of Haste, that makes cutting down the horde much harder.

I'm still not sure which is better, though; defense or attack. I think attack is better as the Consul, but defense has made my life harder when playing the heroes - after all, it cuts down on potential Loot!

One thing to remember, too, is that you can do your actions and move again; I find myself with Ironscales stepping forward, taking a swing, and then stepping back to use their Shieldwall aura.

Using smoke to block teleports is genius, though; I'll have to do that.


When using the Dragon, the key is the timeout spawn - do NOT put the Dragon too far away unless the dragon has had all his activations, and if you use the spawned monsters right (Whelps and then the Wyrmling) you can kill at least one Hero.

Actually, I find myself not WANTING to reach the Dragon's spawning until I have the chance to put out a reasonable complement of monsters to help him: a couple of Ironscales, at least one Rex, and (with our house rule about using a Hero model as a miniboss) it helps to have the Hexcast Sorceress to put Broken Bones on all those pesky heroes. She ain't that great as a Hero, but as a Villain they're so afraid of her that the Rogue almost always uses Bamph! just to avoid her punishment.
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Silidus
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I love the idea of using a hero model as a mini boss, but I don't think my players would go for it.

I fully agree with spawning the dragon only with a full compliment of monsters, especially in Super! games. In fact that is one of my primary issues with the game, bosses just don't scale. With the 16 bit, the dragon can be pretty tough for the heroes if they don't have decent gear, but on 16 bit the dragon just seems to be a joke for 5 heroes. And the timeout is usually cake for them, the last few games the dragon horn has come up in the treasure cards, so the heroes just let the rogue (or whoever has it) sit back while someone else deals 3 wounds to the dragon, then next turn the rogue runs in, hits once... timeout place monsters.... firebreath! whelps are dead, hatchlings and wyrmlings die on activation from fire. GG. Plus on super! heroes (usually) have so much armor or attack dice that poor starfire just cant compete (boss and mini-boss do not get the bonus from consul loot cards, so they never get better than their original stats).

Which brings me to the point I was making in this thread. The consul loot cards are ONLY an advantage if the heroes have not already picked up enough gear to nullify it. If you let the heroes score loot, your not gaining the advantage when you hit 16 bit, your playing catch-up.. and 1 more blue attack die will not make much difference when they are sporting +1r armor.

Bosses and Minis will happen eventually, but going for wounds that are not 'kills' will just get your units slaughtered and tip the scales to the heroes with additional loot.

One thing I will have to try one game is to take this to the extreme. Imagine a game where (by absolute silly placement of spawn points) the heroes hit ONLY the 3 spawn points of a 16 bit game. Every turn the consul spawns mobs and sprints them away from the heroes to the far room. So roughly 3 turns in, consul should have at least 18 skulls worth of mobs in the last room + starfire. Heroes would have a total of 9 wounds dealt, and 1 loot each. Any additional wounds dealt by priest or flingers while running away should push the counter up to 16 bit to give consul 1 loot card (roughly matching heroes).... Wonder what the outcome of that would be.


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Silidus
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jwreschnig wrote:
Silidus wrote:
Typically the games have gone like this:
Turn 1: Mage wins initiative for heroes, and destroys the tower in the first room with range (before flingers have a chance to smoke) (+1 loot).


Honestly, this can't be typical. The first spawn point will be dead by the end of the round, but if you're losing it within the first turn, you're either incredibly unlucky or somehow playing wrong.


Mage rolls 2r and has to roll 2 or more... I will go with unlucky, but it seems that odds are in her favor.
 
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Silidus
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jwreschnig wrote:
Silidus wrote:
jwreschnig wrote:
Silidus wrote:
Typically the games have gone like this:
Turn 1: Mage wins initiative for heroes, and destroys the tower in the first room with range (before flingers have a chance to smoke) (+1 loot).


Honestly, this can't be typical. The first spawn point will be dead by the end of the round, but if you're losing it within the first turn, you're either incredibly unlucky or somehow playing wrong.


Mage rolls 2r and has to roll 2 or more... I will go with unlucky, but it seems that odds are in her favor.


No, the mage rolls 2R and has to roll 2 or more three times. 2R is 2 or more 2/3 of the time (24 out of 36 possible die results). That's just shy of a 30% chance. That's not impossible, but it's far from a sure thing. I'd rather take out 3/4 of the mobs around the spawn point, giving the remaining heroes free reign to deal with it more safely. (Or Sparkle Burst, which is my preferred way to deal with spawn points - slower but way more effective.)



I don't disagree with the math, but in general I find the first round loses me a spawn point and lands the heroes with 3 loot cards or 2 loot and one treasure. The above scenario was just to illustrate and assumes the heroes (in total) inflict 9 wounds or more, which is not atypical considering things like berserk, sparkleburst, vines (druid), cleave, and other similar moves. All of which reap havoc if the consul moves their units INTO combat during the first turn, rather than out of it.

So by sprinting units from the first spawn point AWAY from the heroes (and using ironscales at the first spawnpoint to reduce their likely-hood of taking easy wounds from the first hero to move) you can restrict the heroes to only 3 wounds (1 loot) in the first round (even if the mage doesn't miss once and someone nobody else has to go finish off the spawn point, ironscales moving 14 should still be out of range from anyone but a ranger). In my game last night, I did not have to do the full sprint since there was only a rogue and pally (other than the mage) and they both have a tough time taking down an ironscale at the start of the game.
 
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Silidus
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jwreschnig wrote:
Then you should be ganging up on a hero - like the ranger so she can't shoot, or the paladin to stop healing - and taking advantage of mob bonuses.


Wanted to pull that out for discussion. I have had a big problem with the paladin, especially when trying to single them out for 'mob bonuses'. In order to achieve a mob bonus, you have to leave your kobolts within melee range of the paladin, which means he gets to attack 3 times the next activation. At the start of the game, the paladin can have trouble hitting anything other than a 0 armor unit, and hitting a 1 or 2 armor unit while still rolling a heart isn't very likely (poping a dragon fury potion changes this slightly), however if the pally had picked up any additional attack loot(+1r or +1b with dragon fury potion) (there's that loot issue again) he becomes a healing monster that can pretty easily keep up with any damage being dealt.

Even when attacking weaker heroes (like the mage), I have found that as long as the paladin is surrounded, sending wave after wave of mobs into the fray to inflict 1-2 wounds each turn only results in fully healed heroes that just keep getting tougher.

*edit note, I totally missed that the ranger cannot shoot ANYONE if there is a unit melee range. Will have to take advantage of that next time.
 
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Aaron Bergman
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Hey, Salidus, do you rotate who plays the Consul? Or are you the only one who does it?

In my group we rotate Consul between all of us; that's another reason why the Hero-as-Miniboss has become so popular because we all like having Heroes AND more variety in the game - plus, heroes are (frankly) easier to kill than Rex and if used badly can lead to easy Treasure.


But frankly, when I play Consul, I do it at two levels: cutthroat and "I'll play well, but I won't be a jerk about it".

When I do cutthroat, the first spawn point is a loss, and so are any monsters that come from it. That's just a fact. I try to mitigate that loss by making sure I get to 16-bit fast for Rex (or the Hexcast Sorceress/Glimmerdusk Ranger/Ember Mage) and the Loot card.

Dealing with the Paladin is a lot easier after a Mob-boosted Rex Cuddle followed by a Thwomp to get the now-immobilized Hero out of melee range.

What I look for in Loot cards aren't so much raw dice potential (like reds), but status effects; a Glass Hammer is my favorite Loot to pull because Fragile can ruin all the Heroes' day.

While the Heroes are busy dealing with that first spawn point and getting the first treasure, I'll build up my defenses in the connecting hallways with Smoke and Shieldwall.


Lately, though, I've been preoccupied with testing my Dragon quest slime spawn group, so I've not been playing cutthroat games as much - balance demands that I look at them fairly rather than as a player seeking every advantage over an adversary.
 
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Silidus
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iamfanboy wrote:
Hey, Salidus, do you rotate who plays the Consul? Or are you the only one who does it?


I usually play the consul.

iamfanboy wrote:
What I look for in Loot cards aren't so much raw dice potential (like reds), but status effects; a Glass Hammer is my favorite Loot to pull because Fragile can ruin all the Heroes' day.


Yeah, some decent status effect loot can really tip the scales.. provided you can hit. I pulled a 'choke' card a few games ago (I forget the name), which SHOULD have tipped the scales, but by that time the paladin was rolling 4 blue and a green die for attack, and basically insta-healed everyone and cleared all status every round. Plus, most heroes had an additional red or green for defense by that point so it was really hard to even apply the effect.


Btw, I saw your slimes in the other thread.. Love it.

I have only vague memories of Dragon Warrior on the NES, but metal slimes I remember 8}
 
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Aaron Bergman
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If they're too dependent upon the Paladin, then tell them they can't use the Paladin for a few games! Hell, they should be rotating the Heroes they use around - I know that I rarely see the same heroes except the Ember Mage (if only because she's so adorably painted) and the Hearthsworn Fighter because my sister really likes him.

Oh, and we the Druid for about 10 games in a row as I was trying to see if he didn't suck. Newsflash: he does.
 
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Aaron Bergman
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Why is it deleting half my post?

Anyway, if it's your game, tell them that you want to be on the side of the Heroes for a change and they have to rotate consul between each other; after they get used to that, introducing the idea of Heroes as minibosses will be easier because they'll see how it benefits THEM on their turns without seriously crippling their chances as the heroes.


And thanks for your compliments to my slimes, but after some 8-bit playtesting it was discovered that... er... bad things happen when two king slimes and Rex are clogging a hallway with two cureslimes behind them keeping them at full health. It worked in 16-bit and super, but not 8-bit, so I'm dropping the King and Cure down to 1 apiece per spawn point and testing them out tonight on a Super game to see if it still works.
 
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Silidus
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Silidus wrote:
jwreschnig wrote:
Silidus wrote:
Typically the games have gone like this:
Turn 1: Mage wins initiative for heroes, and destroys the tower in the first room with range (before flingers have a chance to smoke) (+1 loot).


Honestly, this can't be typical. The first spawn point will be dead by the end of the round, but if you're losing it within the first turn, you're either incredibly unlucky or somehow playing wrong.


Mage rolls 2r and has to roll 2 or more... I will go with unlucky, but it seems that odds are in her favor.


Follow up: Played another 16 bit game last night and the above is EXACTLY what happened. In fact when I commented on the odds of the mage soloing the spawn point in a single turn (8:27 I believe), my wife said "really?, But I do it every time."

The game itself was a disaster with the heroes winning every single roll (not a single miss) for the first 3 rounds (including the paladin rolling 4 stars on 3 blues twice in a row against 2 ironscales with auras, opening up the choke to the second spawn point). Finally had them on the ropes a few turns later (during starfire with 1 activation) with the paladin and mage out of potions, and the mage suffering 4 wounds and fire, and with the rogues last move of the round she moves 7 squares to the only unit she can hit (a flinger) and with 4b die rolls 3 hearts and 2 stars. Unbelievable.

I will definitely go with unlucky.
 
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Mont A.
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Silidus wrote:
*edit note, I totally missed that the ranger cannot shoot ANYONE if there is a unit melee range. Will have to take advantage of that next time.
True, but unless there is an enemy and/or barrier on every adjacent space, it's easy for her to simply walk a couple of squares until she's no longer in melee, then turn and shoot at her now-nicely-clumped would-be swarmers.

If there's one thing I wish this game had, it's some kind of engagement rule, ala Heroscape or many other games: once in melee, you can't move out of it without taking a disengagement swipe of some kind.
 
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