Jeff Dunford
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I'm interested in Super Dungeon Explore but may not have an opportunity to try before I buy. I've been looking at a few other dungeon crawlers and some scenario-type Action Point Allowance System (APAS) games. Whatever I choose, it will most often be played 1-on-1, but I like that Super Dungeon Explore supports several heroes working cooperatively against the dungeon, giving it some flexibility for small to medium sized groups.

Ideally I'm looking for a light-to-medium dice-rolling crawl/scenario with a little strategy but that isn't too much of a brain-burner. Preferably in the 1-2 hour range, in addition to set-up time (no time for 4+ hour epic battles). This would be played mostly on weeknights when we're burnt out and looking to unwind, not solve intricate math-heavy puzzles (we have plenty of Euros for that).

What I've learned so far:

- A game I felt was similar is Claustrophobia. I've seen Claustrophobia compared to Space Hulk, but I haven't seen comparisons between Super Dungeon Explore and Claustrophobia (or Space Hulk, et al), even though they seem similar in terms of theme and mechanics (heroes vs dungeon full of baddies; allocate actions, with alternating turns of heroes and evil dungeon master; baddies spawn at various places, some having special abilities; roll dice to resolve battles; etc).

- Earth Reborn sounds awesome, but is probably too complex for what I'm looking for - at least, for now. Maybe down the road... but I'm looking for something a little simpler first. Sure, the game introduces various mechanics slowly via progressively more complicated missions... but I'd prefer something less rules-heavy that doesn't require paying such close attention to details during the game, and that doesn't require a tremendous time investment to digest the (44-page) rule book.

- Space Hulk (third edition) sounds ideal; very stream-lined nail-biter that has some strategy elements (resource management via utilizing command points) but quick role-playing decisions and cinematographic storytelling is really what it's about. However, the cost is prohibitive due to its limited availability. Still, I've heard enough good things about Space Hulk (albeit bad things about GW as a company) that I might consider it for 1-on-1 scenarios in addition to something like Super Dungeon Explore for lighthearted adventuring against a dungeon master-controlled labyrinth.

- I like nice components, and I would probably paint the minis in any case (note that Claustrophobia comes with painted minis), but I'm more interested in how the games play than how they look. I don't mind taking some time to assemble and paint the minis (can ignore that factor with respect to comments I've read for SDE).

Please enlighten me:

(1) Where would be a good place to start?

(2) What's the best "bang for your buck" in terms of (a) replayability, (b) fun, (c) cost?
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Lacombe
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Suddenly a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.
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Re: Comparisons between this and similar games
iNano78 wrote:
Ideally I'm looking for a light-to-medium dice-rolling crawl/scenario with a little strategy but that isn't too much of a brain-burner. Preferably in the 1-2 hour range, in addition to set-up time (no time for 4+ hour epic battles). This would be played mostly on weeknights when we're burnt out and looking to unwind, not solve intricate math-heavy puzzles (we have plenty of Euros for that).


You've found it.
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Eddie Serna
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Re: Comparisons between this and similar games
This game seems to fit your bill quite good. Another choice (specially for 2 people) would be mage knight dungeons, as it can played competitively or cooperatively with the solo rules and games can range from a little more than an hour to a whole night of gaming, it all depends on how big you want to make your dungeon adventure.

you could easily pick up enough stuff to have a good collection of minis on the cheap as well (and actually, you could use any minis since there are pdf files that have all the stats)

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Pete aka The Masked Minstrel
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Re: Comparisons between this and similar games
Descent Journeys in the Dark is comparable to SDE game wise as it is a competitive game between the heroes and the dungeon denizens as opposed to one player GM'ing a Dungeon, but wouldnt be classed as a light game, probably somewhere more between medium and heavy.
But Descent wont give you quick games (not until 2nd ed and even then we still have to see)

Super Dungeon Explore is very fast playing and fun, though replayability might be lacking with the available minions/denizens (kobolds, dragonlings) and bosses/mini-bosses.
That said the game lends itself very well to expansions and customisation.
The mechanics are nice and the figures (once assembled) are utterly gorgeous, even compared to miniatures from FFG games.
You could almost think of SDE as Descents lighter and 100% Cuter cousin.

Mage Knight Dungeons is a fun game for 2 players because you control your heroes and your opponents monsters as you race around the map trying to capture treasure chests or deny them to the other player.
Monsters are spawned by wandering monster tokens that when revealed have a table on them that you roll on to see how many monsters you can spawn and what total points value of them.

The only other game I can suggest is Gears of War, although futuristic.
Its basically a smash over a semi-randomly determined map killing enemies and trying to reach the final room to accomplish some goal based on the scenario.
The notable difference is this game is pure Co-op for the players against a card driven A.I
You can loot ammo/weapons off dead enemies, provide covering fire for your teammates or charge into melee and carve up enemies with your chainsaw bayonet angry

So to answer your questions
1) For the above, the only one I wouldnt recommend for you is Descent, not atleast until the new edition is out and some feedback is heard on it.

2)Cost wise - Mage Knight Dungeons would be the cheapest by far but you'd have to scour the secondary market for your figures, tokens etc. But the Dungeons/Pyramid starter sets are pretty cheap.

Replayability - They are all good, though SDE is waiting on expansions to add to it (one is currently in the works). The diversity in the heroes you get is very nice though, it just requires more variety of foes.
For Mage Knight Dungeons you could just buy different heroes and new monsters (monsterwise anything from the 1.0 version of MK would work).

Good luck and hope this helps somewhat
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George Leach
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Re: Comparisons between this and similar games
Claustrophobia is an excellent game and fares well in comparison to Space Hulk. I would suggest it's better bang for your buck than Space Hulk.

I cannot compare to Super Dungeon Explore as I haven't played it, sorry.
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Re: Comparisons between this and similar games
The main difference between Claustrophobia/Space Hulk and Super Dungeon Explore/Descent is really a matter of how you have to deal with the creatures threatening you.

In Claustrophobia, for the most part, threats will always come from where you've already been and you're usually trying to get away from them. It's less a game of fighting through monsters to get to your goal and more of running for your life from an endless assault chasing you.

Super Dungeon Explore is the exact opposite. Your threats are coming from your goals, and you have to fight through the monsters to reach your objective.

Personally, SDE is more of a dungeon crawl in my mind. When I play Claustrophobia, I always think its more along the survival horror kind of line.
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Jeff Dunford
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Re: Comparisons between this and similar games
Thanks for all the replies and suggestions so far.

I've been doing more research and a few others have come to my attention. As before, I'll write what I (think I) know; please add your 2¢ and correct me if you disagree.

Dungeon Run
- At first glance (video reviews, etc), it sounded perfect! It can be played by 1-6 players, and it's a semi-cooperative dungeon crawl where you back-stab your comrades as soon as (or even before) you defeat the final boss. No DM is required as monsters are spawned by die rolls ("encounters") and come from a deck of cards.
- Unfortunately, further reading led me to reviews that said (a) it's not fun solo, and (b) 2 player games are purely competitive and somewhat "broken" as there's no incentive to help each other; it's likely one player will lose by running into an "uber" monster (or end boss) that is immune to their method of attack (brawn or magic) while the other is free to defeat the boss and have a clear run back out of the dungeon. Also, the game plays best with 4-6 but only comes with enough room tiles for up to 4 players... so even the multiplayer side is lacking (until an expansion arrives). Too bad... was really hoping this would work as well for 2 (and even 1) as it does for more.

Dungeons & Dragons: Legend of Drizzt
- Cooperative dungeon crawler with card-driven AI for monster encounters. Several ways to play (including competition between teams), and it's compatible with the rest of the D&D board game series. Sounds good, but perhaps more involved/complicated than what we're looking for (?).

Dungeon Twister 2
- Each player gets a team of characters and scores VPs by either getting their characters out of the dungeon or by defeating opponent's characters. The mechanics are neat, but it's much more of a strategy game than a dungeon crawler. It looks like a terrific game, but since we're looking for something light that is specifically an alternative to a brain-burner, it doesn't suit our needs.

Are there any other dungeon crawlers I'm missing that are better - especially ones that are great for 2 players? Can someone argue that Super Dungeon Explore is superior to the competition?

P.S. I showed the video reviews and some pics of SDE to the GF. She's already stoked about putting together and painting the miniatures. In fact, I think she's more excited about that aspect than actually playing the game. But before you say "What are you waiting for?!?! Buy it already!!", I just want to make sure we're going to be happy with the game itself... that there isn't a "much better" dungeon crawler on the market that's better for our purposes.
 
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Pete aka The Masked Minstrel
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Re: Comparisons between this and similar games
If Legend of Drizzt plays anything like the Castle Ravenloft game, you might want to avoid it.
I just found Castle Ravenloft to be too 'un-fun', short of adding in a number of custom rules.

Here is the turn sequence - Move, Explore to reveal a new tile, have some bad event occur from the random deck (all events are pretty much bad stuff), then get attacked by the monster that is revealed on the tile.
Over and over again.
Sure its co-op but they prolly could have marketed the game as the Tomb of Horrors and captured the feel of utter hopelessness and despair, but the hopelessness and despair come across more as being annoying.
And this is from the perspective of me being a big D&D fan, and particularly a fan of the Drow (not necessarily Drizzt - too much of a goody goody )

By comparison Super Dungeon Explore is ALOT of fun.
Base game vs Base game with no house rules at all, I recommended Super Dungeon Explore.
If I had to use house rules Id incorporate them together into some-frankensteiner of a game.devil
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Matt Barnes
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Re: Comparisons between this and similar games
SDE works well 2 player, but it is hard to beat out Claustrophobia (the components of this game are also TOP notch). For a 2-player game, I would definitely give it to Claustrophobia as far as "ease of play", "non-confusing rules" and "basically zero quality issues at all".

However, if you are looking for more of a dungeon crawl with bosses and loot, in the 1-2 hour play range. SDE is right down your alley. It also allows you to play with more than 2 players.

Descent is the only thing I own that I can really compare it to. However, Descent takes hours and hours for 1 dungeon. We will see how 2.0 is, I will probably end up getting it to try it out. But if it is streamlined and faster, and it will definitely have a more clear and organized rule set.

Either way, SDE is a good game. It is worth giving a whirl if you want a good dungeon crawler that isn't too heady and slow paced.
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Jeff Dunford
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Well... I managed to score Space Hulk (3rd edition) on ebay for what I think is a good price. Thus, I've got the sci-fi/horror tactical skirmish genre covered - and if we decide that's a genre we want to delve deeper into, we might try Earth Reborn. Or if we find SH takes too long or is too complex for unwinding on weeknights, we'll definitely consider Claustrophobia.

As for the "definitive" fantasy dungeon crawler... we might hold off until Descent's second edition is released. If it includes some 45-60 minute scenarios, or if multi-session campaigns have "save points" that can be reached every 45-60 minutes, it might be the way to go. And while I'm tempted to pick up Super Dungeon Explore while I can still get it for less than MSRP, I can probably wait until ~ April when both it (via reprint) and Descent 2.0 should be available.

As an aside, I'm shocked at the current (ebay) market value of Descent (1st edition). The base game is going for well over $100, and even some of the expansions are going for > $100. Who would have thought that Space Hulk would be a relative bargain?
 
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Martin Plourde
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iNano78 wrote:


As an aside, I'm shocked at the current (ebay) market value of Descent (1st edition). The base game is going for well over $100, and even some of the expansions are going for > $100. Who would have thought that Space Hulk would be a relative bargain?


I think it's more about hype, and the price is vastly overrated. You can still find the base game in most FLGS, and even some online retailers, for MUCH cheaper.. Expansions are starting to be harder to find but still..
 
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