I always wanted to be an explorer. Someone, who searches places, where no one has been before. And then tell others, if its monster free. And when its not, le’t make it. Yes, they say it’s a dangerous profession. And sometimes you really encounter pitfalls, nobody would expected. But you should simply not hesitate to stand back up and win. I’m an explorer and I’m proud of it. What about you?
And we’ll be explorers as well. It is not difficult, because there is new game teaching this profession. This board game is called Super Dungeon Explore. Behind its founding stands trio of discovery designers Chris Birkenhagen, John Cadice and Deke Stella. Confidence in them was put in them by Cool Mini or Not company, who presented final product in 2011 with illustrations by a number of authors.
Even the boxes in size and weight is awe-inspiring. Illustration on the cover, which must be detached and folded, leaves us in doubt. It hides a really colorful fun, filled with all sorts of monsters. Directly underneath the lid, there is pretty thick rulebook, containing thirty pages. Fortunately, its all done in relatively large font, but it’s a little heads up for you.
You probably will not then be even surprised, that you’ll find six large double-sided game boards inside. Well, actually only five of them will serve adventures and are split by squares into twelve times twelve fields. Last board is common and contains slots for cards and two scales – first one is Loot-o-Meter allowing players to earn rewards for particularly hilarious round. Second scale is called power gauge, and it increases power of cave master with each monsters killed. This role is called consul here. Why then should you as explorers to pour into the cave? You are only making enemy stronger! You’d better turn around and run!
But no, we will not run. We will explore inseparable package of eighteen dice (six-sided, in three colors), most of their sides carrying number of star icons. To those, however, we will get later. Now it is even necessary to mention, that there is also lots of toknes waiting to be punched out and show us injury, vials and a variety of conditions, that can your characters experience in the game. Cards are another property, which should not be missing in any game, going from loot deck to treasures, that include a variety of ordinary and magical items. And of course, there has to be also one card for each character and monster, along with its statistics (attack, armor, will and dexterity) and special skills.
And yet another small piece of paper was lying immediately above together with the rules. Discreet and black and white. Maybe you put it aside and underestimated its importance. Now take it back to your hand, because its big moment is coming. In fact, you will also find bags of bodies monsters and heroes as its suport. Its up to you to join them all together and connect them using glue. In total, you’ll then get forty pieces – nine heroes and 31 monsters.
At the beginning of each game, players establish a board out of six boards. Adventure board is mixed among them, and both decks are shuffled and placed on it together with indicators of power and spoils. Players divide their roles and one of them will become evil consul. Number of heroes in the game determines its intensity and length. Characters are then divided among players along with card, that belongs to them.
Together, in compliance with the rules, heroes choose, where to enter the dungeon. Consul places his spawning points and put starting monsters near them and should not forget to choose main villain and his henchman. Adventure gets its specific effect according to its boss. At the end, chests must apper in room again according to number of players (but placed by consul).
Each round, heroes and consul alternate in activation of their miniatures on board. But first thing to do in each round is chance for consul to summon monsters worth four skulls from available portals. Their type is limited by phase of the game, shown by power gauge. Monsters are divided into 8-bit, 16-bit and supermonsters.
First, players can use one hero. He may move distance according to his speed, which is together with number of action points listed in the upper right corner. In addition to movement, which is free, he is allowed to spend action points for attacking or even opening treasure chest. Each hero has his own attack types printed on the card.
When whole activation is finished, Consul comes to tell his side of story. Restrictions is set again on four skulls. But this time, this number represents value of monsters, who can be used at that given moment, before he lets another hero make his move. Then again another human visitor continues and after him Consul, until every creature and hero in dungeon had a chance to act.
During the course of match, players will experience a variety of interesting situations and most important, which is associated with almost everything else, is battle. It is obvious at first glance, that players will finally use dice here. Attack can be done both up close and from a distance, if the target is in range of weapon and in line of sight. Wound inflicting player rolls his dice. Their number is decided by attack number printed on his card, possibly raised for some equipment. Defender then rolls dice according to his armor value and becomes injured only, if number of stars rolled is smaller, than how many attacker managed to accumulate.
Such wound always results in a shift of both tokens on common board. With a little luck, players might even find some health or potion, which has fallen out of monster pockets. But players do not only need to roll its picture on the dice, but at the same time also successfully hit enemy. Number in heart icon on the card then indicates, how much hits can character or monster withstand, before retreating to a place, where every fighter goes to rest. Some magical attacks can have a broader effect and thus directly affect multiple neighbouring enemies (such as burst, cross or lance), push away or vice versa pull enemies.
Players start charging Loot-o-meter from the scratch each round and for every hit, its token is moved. If they are able to reach space with Loot word, they get a loot card. But at the end of the round, token is returned back to start filling up again next round. Hero may also meet a lot of unpleasant conditions such as choking, frost, weakness or slowdown. Their effect can be removed only by ingestion of the medicinal hearts coming from hurt enemies. As a result of the successful exploration of the cave, heroes occasionally find useful items. They are attached to hero cards from different sides and thus improving him.
Consul is gradually with each wound gaining more possibilities, because he can summon stronger monsters. But only when players destroy second portal or power gauge reaches box “SUPER”, main boss appears. Goal of heroes is of course its destruction. Only if they succeed, they can celebrate victory. In event, that they all perish along the way, whether by hands of monsters or boss, humans have lost and Consul prevails.
Super Dungeon Explore is regular dungeon crawling, a game in which you become hero and discover a mysterious cave full of monsters and treasures. Maybe you do it for the glory, but this time it will be for fun, because its pours out of this game from all sides.
It contains exactly everything, we could expect from such a game and perhaps even a little more. There is a consul standing agains heroes, whose role has to be taken by one of the participants in the game. Best thing about this is, that its activity is divided between heroes turns. As a result, not only the consul does not bored, but also has much better control over his forces and is able to deploy them better. With placement of portals, he can affect many things, as well as with his choice of summoned monsters. Otherwise, his activity is limited to movement and attack. However, some monsters have a choice of several attack types.
Very interesting things come also with that common adventure board. Power gauge rewarding more injuries in a turn forces players to group into larger squads, and then benefit from it by improvements for their characters. This leads to interesting tactics and even greater communication and negotiation at the table. And atmosphere then follows naturally.
Authors offer players two versions of the game in rulebook – complete lasting around ninety minutes (well, sometimes even hundred and twenty) with three heroes and then really super large variations, when completing everything takes about sixty minutes longer. Everything depends on the number of heroes and position of token on power gauge. Players do usually control more characters, but although we do mind this in some games, because it makes it difficult to feel as heroes, everything works very well here. Despite its long game time, everything flows perfectly and players incarnate into their roles without problems.
The game is very rich in details, such as for example special attacks. These mass spells are very well designed and each of them is described in detail in the rules. Indeed, rules are strong point of Super Dungeon Explore, because they are really careful, though sometimes a bit loose with a little space for improvisation.
Eight and sixteen bit characters of enemies are evidence, that designers are trying to bring atmosphere of the old classic computer games on the table. Heroes grow up into invincible monster, that mow down crowds of enemies. And then suddenly there is final battle, when they again feel tiny, fear for their lives and must cooperate closely, otherwise all the success turns to dust. Result of each battle is decided by luck, but only to a certain extent, because difference of rolls does not matter. Defender always receives maximum of one injury.
Individual matches are very balanced and exciting, no side is clearly on top for the whole time. This is also another reason, why everyone has great time playing and gets completely absorbed. You will not find any exploration in the game, but you will not have feeling of something missing. Instead, we would appreciate new monsters, but that has already brought by expansion. Perhaps we will be able to try it in the future, too and report back to you about its qualities.
The only major drawback crust remains in high price tag. This is balanced by given treatment, which is excellent. Although it needs some skills at first, when gluing pieces together, but even though you can screw up a little (not having any experience with this), they are your heroes and they may simply have scars from past battles, right? Overall feel of the game is very good. Someone could then be bothered by them of Japanese RPG (JRPG) and illustrations fitting this. But we are thankful for it and pleasant change from the constant pure fantasy and zombies in other games.
Super Dungeon Explore is an excellent adventure game, which can hardly fail you. Consul role is definitely fit for more experienced player, who will know, how to take advantage of its capabilities. Game will arouse enthusiasm among Japanese RPG players, but provides great fun for all other fans of tactical games. Super Dungeon Explore looks great and mainly offers a great campaing for all.
Více o hře.
+ pleasant topic change
+ great atmosphere
+ scalable according to number of players (length of the game)
+ stronger monsters come into play progressively
+ Consul gets to act more often
+ interesting looting mechanism
- some loose rules
- requires glueing
- more monsters would be better