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Subject: Game length? rss

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Eric D
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Just played my second game of SDE after the first game went horribly wrong (consul spawned far too few enemies) and I gotta say, the only thing I *don't* like about this game is the length. It took us 4 hours to play a 3 hero game, and we didn't even finish. Granted, only two of us had played before, but the other two players were experienced gamers and caught on very quickly. We're all wargamers, so we tended to all think pretty tactically rather than just rushing forward and attacking, but I can't believe how long the game lasted. We called it at the 4 hour mark because the heroes were pretty much unkillable and did lots of damage, but the consul just had a ton of stuff on the board (so it would have taken another hour or two).

How long do your games usually take? Any suggestions for speeding up play?
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Fredrik Somerville
Norway
Oslo
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My experience is that it takes about 30-45 minutes per hero. If you play with players new to the game you can pretty much double that estimate, even if one or two HAVE played it before.
Once a person has a game or two under the belt they start to be more effective and know what's smart to do or not.

Playing with serious wargamers may add 10-30% to the time, depending on how finnicky they are about micromanagement and strategizing.

The only real suggestion I have for speading up is to lend new players your games manual a day or two in advance and let them read up on everything themselves. Apart from that there's really nothing you can do except to gain experience and efficiency by playing.
 
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that Matt
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fitret wrote:
Just played my second game of SDE after the first game went horribly wrong (consul spawned far too few enemies) and I gotta say, the only thing I *don't* like about this game is the length. It took us 4 hours to play a 3 hero game, and we didn't even finish. Granted, only two of us had played before, but the other two players were experienced gamers and caught on very quickly. We're all wargamers, so we tended to all think pretty tactically rather than just rushing forward and attacking, but I can't believe how long the game lasted. We called it at the 4 hour mark because the heroes were pretty much unkillable and did lots of damage, but the consul just had a ton of stuff on the board (so it would have taken another hour or two).

How long do your games usually take? Any suggestions for speeding up play?

How did it play out? What were the Consul and Heroes trying to accomplish as the game progressed? It's clear that you just had a mess by the end. I think it's possible that both sides might have been playing too conservatively. It sounds like the Consul was ineffective in running the clock early (or the Heroes would have been worse equipped for Starfire), and the Heroes were ineffective in destroying spawning points (or the Consul wouldn't have an army at the end).

Rather than summarize what other people have said, see what you think about these threads (check out replies, not just the original posts):
Don't Let Them Loot!
Consul play...

Final recommendation: each player should go back and carefully read through the rulebook again. There are a lot of moving parts in this game, and it's not hard to miss rules (as you know from the first game).
 
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Cedric Chong
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My 20 cents on game duration:

1. The whole game is structured for the heroes to meet the final boss for end-game showdown.
2. Anything before is for heroes to collect as much loot as possible to power up.
3. Therefore, the heroes should be unkillable before that.

Objective of heroes before end-game trigger:
1. The final boss is OP, so the heroes must collect as many loot as possible to prepare themselves for the final boss.
2. Try to clear all spawning points so final-boss is weaker.
3. Inflict more wounds on minions than minions inflict wounds on heroes.

Objective of Consul before end-game trigger:
1. Prevent heroes from taking out the spawning points so that final-boss have double activation.
2. Try to limit heroes loots as much as possible.
3. Try to prevent heroes from taking all relics before end-game trigger.
4. Inflict more wounds on heroes than heroes inflict wounds on minions.


Now, there is an in-game timer to the final boss, either:
1. Hit Super! OR
2. Heroes destroy all spawn points.

In order for either 1 or 2 to happen, there must be lots of battle and wounds inflicted.

Hence, I think this is the problem with your session. Conservative play means the timer is not hit quickly enough. This means:

1. Every round Consul gets to spawn more and more minions.
2. Heroes not getting many loots.
3. Game drags on because few battle = few wounds = final boss trigger delayed.

1 is bad. Because more minions means more get to use the Mob ability. At end of round when all remaining minions get to activate, this can be scary.

2 is bad. Not getting enough loot, means heroes not powerful enough. Yet heroes are supposed to be OP to minions. So many AOEs from heroes should still clear hordes of the minions if they play tactically. But it is more challenging.

3 is the key. All said and done, if there is no wound, the in-game timer will never move.




Possible Scenarios
Scenario 1 - Consul is Conservative
Consul can play conservatively by moving all minions back. Basically no wounds means no loot right? But doing this basically means Consul is giving up spawning points. Heroes can just advance and get rid of the spawning points one by one and eventually reach the last tile. No matter how many Skulls the Consul have, you can't spawn if there is no space available adjacent to the spawning point. So heroes can just mop the minions at the last tile and trigger boss. This will be a short game.

Scenario 2 - Heroes are Conservative
Heroes stay on tile one for the longest time. Consul can mass up units such that after all heroes activates, Consul still has handful of minions left. I believe in such situation, Consul should be able to pick off heroes. This will be a short game.

Scenario 3 - Consul and Heroes both very offensive
Good, more battles = more wounds = end-game trigger faster. This will be a short game.

Scenario 4 - Consul and Heroes both Conservative
Yup. Conservative play on both side = few battles = few wounds = end-game trigger delayed. Manoeuvring around turn after turn = prolong game duration.




Edit: spelling
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Eric D
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The consul was probably a bit conservative, but we heroes were a bit brash. Essentially turn 1, rather than go for the first spawn point our rogue teleported and ran to a far treasure chest with the intention of coming back. The other hero and I, rather than just killing the spawn point, tried and failed to kill 2 of the kobolds with shieldwall (they weren't near the spawn point). That pretty much set the mood for the first half of the game, as the consul got me (Ember mage) pretty low on health (I had 1-2 HP many, many times in the first half of the game) and we were forced to fight defensively. However, we got ridiculous loot and tons of kills - we hit the end of the loot track once and got to the second to last loot spot 3 or 4 different times. Essentially because we failed to kill that first spawn point early, the consul got to keep it for 4-5 turns and we just had hordes and hordes of minions to go through.
 
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Kiren Maelwulf
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Richmond
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SDE is definitely a game that dramatically shrinks in play time the more experience you and the other players have with it. 4 hours is the longest a 5 hero game goes for me now and generally games are closer to the 3 hour mark. I have not played a 3 hero game in a while but with experienced players I would be surprised if we go over 2 hours anymore.
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J F
Australia
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4-5 hours for a play-through by players new to the game is not uncommon, that's about what our first games took for 3 heroes. The heroes made the mistake of being too cautious, and had their butts handed to them by Starfire the first couple of games.

The game is geared so the best strategy for the Consul is to just throw bodies at the heroes as fast as possible to wear them down, slow their progress towards spawning points and fill the power meter to trigger the boss monster showdown before the Heroes can take out the spawn points.

It may seem this strategy gives the players loot, and yes it does, but the players get to see roughly similar loot options in the time it takes the power meter to fill regardless so there's no real benefit to playing slowly. Note that the Loot-o-Meter resets every round. Careful play by the Consul can leave the players one wound short of a loot when it resets, while the power meter keeps advancing, which will give the players less loot options.

The players should be encouraged to play quickly to stop the Consul monsters getting into positions that block their way to the spawn points or make use of Shieldwall/Mob, as well as racing the power meter to take down the spawn points. Regular minions and denizens are less threat to the heroes if the heroes keep things moving.

- J
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