Matthew Taylor
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I’m a big fan of dungeon crawlers, and I thought I would share with you my opinion of how these games stack up in comparison to each other. Please let me preface this though by pointing out two things:

A.) I’m a big fan of both products, I might be a little tough on them but it is tough love.

B.) There are many items that I will bring out below that are very subjective. What for one person would be a no-go will make the game for someone else. You dear reader will have to make that call for yourself.

I will be covering two areas in this comparison; components and mechanics. I will let other, better reviewers cover other areas.

Section 1 – Components

Both game systems ship with similar components tucked away within their boxes; cards, minis, tokens, and tiles. Let me take you through each one and how I feel they rate against each other:

Cards – Both contenders have a large number of cards that cover everything from monsters to treasures to traps.

Dungeon Run (Here on referred to as DR): scores positive points for artwork. All of the cards have beautiful artwork that really draws you in to the game. It scores negative points for quality. I’ve barely played the game twice and many of the cards are already splitting and fraying. I don’t usually sleeve my cards, but I’ll probably have to here.

D&D Adventure System (Here on referred to as AS): has cards that are functional, but not terribly inspiring. Many lack artwork, and those that do have it showcase well drawn but bland black and white illustrations. The quality does seem to be better with far less ware showing.

Overall winner: DR

Minis – Both games come with a selection of miniatures for use with the game board.

DR: Comes with 8 minis for the heroes. The sculpts are good but the plastic is very soft. I’ve often had to bend them back into position to keep them from tipping over on the board.

AS: Comes with between 5-8 minis for the heroes and a standard butt-ton for the monsters. Sculpts are good and sturdy. Scores positive points for color coding monsters so they are easier to find.

Overall winner: AS

Tokens – Both games utilize tokens to track a variety of conditions.

DR: Has only 2 types; 1 to track health, and the other to track ability increases. There is also a player one token that passes after each round. This simplicity makes setting up and tearing down a breeze. There is also little hassle in finding the piece you need.

AS: Has a pile of tokens for use in tracking health, inflicted conditions, traps, environment, wounds on monsters, special quest items…and many more. Sorting through them is a pain, but the artwork and quality is high.

Overall Winner: DR

Tiles – Both games use connecting tiles to expand the dungeon as the players explore.

DR: Great artwork and excellent quality.

AS: Same as above with the additional benefit of being interlocking. Puzzle piece like grooves are cut into each piece allowing you to lock the board together and prevent unintended sliding.

Overall Winn: AS

Section 2 – Mechanics
Here we come to the meat of the games. I’ll take a look at some of the comparable features and how they stack up to each other.

Component integration – How the components support or detract from the game play.

DR: Everything is streamlined to keep you in the game. Monster cards are played straight to the board and fought from there, and traps are included in the encounter deck. The limited number of tokens are easy to comb through to find what you need for both your adventurer and the bad guys.

AS: After monster cards are drawn, the players must stop to find its matching mini. Keeping these in the box costs extra time, and staging them on the play area costs precious space. The large number of tokens you have to shift through can bring the game to a halt as you dig for a certain one you need.

Overall Winner: DR

Movement – How everyone moves through the dungeon.

DR: Movement is simple. Each turn the heroes can make up to 2 move actions. Monsters roam 1 square after each round.

AS: The adventurers move a number of squares on each tile equal to their speed. Monsters move a number of tiles as indicated on their card. Why there are 2 separate forms of movement is beyond me. I understand the adventurers moving by square to mimic actual D&D, but why not have the monsters do the same?

Overall Winner: DR

Combat – How everyone fights

DR: Each combatant rolls a number of d6’s equal to their attribute rating. Rolling certain numbers hit, and adventurers can use rolls to block hits. This adds some choices and flavor to the game.

AS: First combatant rolls a d20. If the number rolled is equal or greater than the defender’s defense rating, the attacker hits and causes a point or two of damage. This is similar to actual D&D, but without all the modifiers you get there it can feel a bit flat.

Overall Winner: DR

Character Advancement – How you go from puny to mighty

DR: Over the course of the game you will get a chance to advance either through finding treasure or defeating monsters. The treasures are fairly awesome, and many add extra dice to your attacks, or extra blocks. After you defeat 2 encounters you can turn them in to gain an extra point to one of your attributes, and an extra ability card which add awesome perks. This can be done until you run out of tokens/cards.

AS: The treasure in the AS games are really a mixed bag. A few add an extra attack per turn which is awesome. Most of them though are fairly underwhelming. To level up a player must kill a certain number of monsters, and then roll a natural 20…and if the moons align in the third phase, and Pluto is in conjuncture with Venus, and you stand on your tippy toes and fart the star spangled banner…you level up. You flip your character card over, gain another power card and higher HP/Armor. This can be done only once.

Overall Winner: DR

Pace – What keeps you moving forward

DR: The only way to advance is to kill monsters and collect treasure. Plus you have to find the boss to get the stone. Adventurers set their own pace.

AS: Adventurers who do not explore are punished with random encounters. Of course adventurers who do explore are punished half the time with those same encounters plus a new monster to fight. Adventurers are pushed forward in the hopes of not being punished and to find their goal.

Overall Winner: DR

Goal – What you’re playing for

DR: For everyone to kill the boss, and then to be the one who steals the summoner stone and gets out without the rest of the players killing you.

AS: There are a number of scenarios and quasi-campaigns in each AS box. These are varied and flavorful.

Overall Winner: AS

Bottom Line – Both games are fun and often exciting. Both have excellent components, and thrilling mechanics. I really enjoy Dungeon Run's streamlined game play. It's fast, easy, fun and dynamic. My only real complaint is that some of the components are a little weak. D&D Adventure System on the other hand has great varied scenarios and top notch components which are marred by punishing encounters, one note combat, limited advancement, and a plethora of bits that can drag you out of the game.

Which is best for you? That’s up to you to decide. Me? I choose both. DR scratches the itch when I want it simple but sweet with a little spice at the end. AS hits the spot when I want it a little rough and challenging.
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T B
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Nice comparison - some very solid points here.

No offense (and I do mean that), but if you want people to read what you've written, do them the courtesy of doing a spellcheck and then re-reading your review to catch the flaws spellcheck will miss.

While you did state your goal was only to compare components and mechanics, and you stuck to that, I'd just like to add that:

- DR is produced by Plaid Hat Games, a new company, just starting up, just building a franchise in Summoner Wars, with a lot of creative freedom, energy and new ideas, who are very open with their fans, and a short history of getting it right.

- AS is produced by WotC, an old company, building on one of the oldest franchises in gaming, with less creative freedom, not as open with their fans, and a history of getting things right in the past (D&D, MTG), with their more recent performance debatable (Heroscape).

CRC
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Matthew Taylor
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CapnRedChops wrote:
Nice comparison - some very solid points here.

No offense (and I do mean that), but if you want people to read what you've written, do them the courtesy of doing a spellcheck and then re-reading your review to catch the flaws spellcheck will miss.

While you did state your goal was only to compare components and mechanics, and you stuck to that, I'd just like to add that:

- DR is produced by Plaid Hat Games, a new company, just starting up, just building a franchise in Summoner Wars, with a lot of creative freedom, energy and new ideas, who are very open with their fans, and a short history of getting it right.

- AS is produced by WotC, an old company, building on one of the oldest franchises in gaming, with less creative freedom, not as open with their fans, and a history of getting things right in the past (D&D, MTG), with their more recent performance debatable (Heroscape).

CRC


No offense taken. I wrote this in Microsoft word and hit the spellchecker before I copy/pasted onto here. Only after rereading it do I notice that I should have gone through and made sure that I used the right words. Spellchecker will not correct user errors. Sorry about that folks.

Also good points. I'm sure many people would be more inclinded to support a friendly newcomer than a faceless corporation.
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Jim McMahon
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Nice comparison!

AdmiralCrunch wrote:
Tokens

DR: Has only 2 types; 1 to track health, and the other to track ability increases. There is also a player one token that passes after each round.
This sure sounds like three kinds to me... devil
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Matthew Taylor
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Magus And Princess wrote:
Great comparison! I agree with many of the points you make. Personally I like Dungeon Run for its characters, its variety , the ease of modding it, and the competitiveness. I like LoD for its co op game play, the back story behind the charters, the quality components and its simplicity.

I do like Dungeon Run more then I like LoD but I feel that both games have a place in my collection.


Absolutely. This is one pairing where I don't feel there has to be either/or. They both bring something unique to the genre.
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Matthew Taylor
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jimmcmahon wrote:
Nice comparison!

AdmiralCrunch wrote:
Tokens

DR: Has only 2 types; 1 to track health, and the other to track ability increases. There is also a player one token that passes after each round.
This sure sounds like three kinds to me... devil


Yes, but the category is Tokens (Plural). There is only one First player token.

I didn't include it because you don't have to dig for it, or even use it every time you play.
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Marco Wong
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I just bought BOTH games (DR and LoD)
Thanks for the comparison anyway! Keep coming!
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Mike Fox
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Great contribution. The comparison review really works. Geek Gold given
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