Monday, 21 January 2013

Bad Boys Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do?

Hey all, been a few days since the last post on the Super Dungeon Explore heroes, so thought would follow it up by looking at the Dungeon Bosses.

Before we get rolling, I just wanted to throw in a note about the models in general. It's been, on the whole, quite a refreshing experience, using the Sodapop Minis. The casts are great and full of character. Also, you don't have to worry about clipping everything off of frames and generally fiddling around too much. Although that's all very well and good, it's been nice to just get on with it, rather than getting bogged down in model building whilst overall interest in the game fades.

The pieces in the base game each come in several parts which need a dab of super glue to put them all together. I raised an eyebrow when I initially read the superglue recommendation from Sodapop, but it really is worth doing. The plastic is a much harder finish than the one that GW uses for its figures and the normal plastic cement doesn't really cut it, particularly on the larger pieces. In my resistance to use superglue, I also tried something called 'serious glue' (yes, really...) which offers gap filling properties too, but wasn't really up to the job either, not bonding pieces together but making everything in sight slightly tacky. So, in the end I admitted defeat...

The quality is pretty good, but, as you'll probably note a little later on in the post, some pieces weren't perfect. Where a component met one or more others in multiple places, a fair bit of work was required to make it all hang together. In the case of Starfire the Dragon, I would have actually pulled my hair out, had I not glued it to my scalp with 'serious glue'... But anyways, relatively minor grumbles in the grand scheme of things.

In three-hero adventures, the Dark Consul gets one Mini Boss and one Dungeon Boss in addition to the other minions of the dungeon. In a five-hero game, there are two Mini Bosses to contend with. Much like the heroes, these have stat cards showing movement, actions, the dice required to roll for 'Attack', 'Armor', 'Will' & 'Dex' as well as indicating the number of wounds they can take before being removed. They also have special actions and attacks as well as special rules affecting them and their attacks. In place of potions, each monster has a skull value. Before the start of each turn, the Consul gets to spawn four skull points worth of monsters from each spawning point remaining on the board. Monsters also have a platform level of 8 or 16 bit or, in the case of the Dungeon Bosses, 'Super'. Only 8-bit monsters can be spawned at the start of the game and on each turn thereafter, until the power gauge on the adventure tracker has reached '16-bit'. This increases each time a model on either side inflicts a wound. On the following turn, the mini boss will spawn.

Rex, above, is the Mini Boss from the base game. He's a Kobold Ogre and is represented by a suitably huge model. You actually get two of these in the core set, so there are enough pieces for a five hero adventure.

He is a 16-bit creature, has a movement of five, three action points and average 'Will' and 'Dex' rolls. His 'Armor' roll is so-so, but his Attacks are what he's all about. His base characteristic allows two blue and two red dice. He can add a further green dice to that total by using the 'Rex Smash' attack for three action points. If this attack is successful, it will inflict two wounds thanks to the 'Massive Damage' rule. He also has 'Reach 2' so doesn't need to be standing in the adjacent square to the target in order to attack. As he is a Kobold, he benefits from the 'Mob' rule. If up to three other models with 'Mob' are in melee range of the target, he gets +1 blue dice for each one, which really can really make a difference.

Rex can also use 'Rex Cuddle' for two action points and if successful, immobilizes and weakens the target, inflicting status affects that can really screw their game up. For a further one action point, he can use 'Rex Smash' which knocks the target back five spaces. This has been used on a couple of occasions following a 'Rex Cuddle' which saw the target take two wounds, become unable to move, taking off the highest dice result for each attack roll and in both cases, pushed back onto lava squares, setting the character on fire and suffering further wounds each turn. Rex bad.

Once you've managed to inflict five wounds, Rex is done and you get to draw a Treasure card as a reward.

Rock Gut the Troll is the Mini Boss from the Caverns of Roxor expansion set and is pretty formidable. He has one less wound than Rex, but benefits from 'Tough' meaning that he naturally heals one wound at the start of each activation.

Oh, another aside; you'll see in the picture the small area of green stuff on the base. The models in the add-ons come pre-assembled which saves all the mucking around with superglue. As nice as this is, there are two little grumbles. The first is that if any cast lines are visible or there's any flashing left on the models, it can be tricky to sort out. The second is that, for some reason, the assemblers cut away the tabs underneath the models, back as far as their feet, leaving unsightly gaps in the bases at either side, and if you're really unlucky, in between the legs too. Most of my figures have now been sorted, but it took a solid afternoon's work with the green stuff which isn't really that enjoyable. Meh.

Anyways, this guy has been a thorn in Jake's side on many an adventure. The 'Tough' rule is really gutting to see in effect as your hard work just heals right in front of your eyes. Rock Gut also has a special attack for two action points called 'Feast'. He gets an extra red dice and if he causes a wound, will heal one of his own.

Rock Gut can also use 'Burning Bile' for two points. This is a special 'Lance' attack which means it will hit any heroes within the range of the attack (six in this case). Add to that, any successful attacks inflict the 'Fire' status effect and this guy is someone you want to keep at arms length.

Starfire is the Dungeon Boss from the core set and is a pretty cool model, now he's assembled, that is. He was probably the most frustrating model to put together since the latest metal Tyranid Hive Tyrant, which, amongst other things, required a 240v hammer drill...

Now he's been undercoated, you can't see all the green stuff work, which is great, as he looks a freakin mess in the picture. The scenic base section is supposed to connect to four other pieces, but as soon as you have one in place, everything else is out. As it is, the hind quarter joint had to have a lot of re-sculpting.

Game wise, the choice of Dungeon Boss brings a number of extra affects into play at varying stages of the game. As well as the normal stat card, the bosses have an adventure effects card which sits on the adventure tracker and lists the additional rules and when they come into play.

For example, taking Starfire means that the squares adjacent to spawning points will inflict the 'Fire' effect, the same as lava. He also offers an extra potion type available to all characters giving them an extra red 'Attack' dice in exchange for them taking a wound.

The Dungeon Boss spawns in one of two ways; they will enter the dungeon the turn after the last spawning point has been destroyed, or on the the turn after the power gauge reaches super (the gauge must 'charge' twice in a five hero game...) When they do finally arrive, they bring a stack of console-beat-em-up-esque things into play, reminiscent of the good old days of 'Golden Axe' and 'Double Dragon'. All heroes gain the 'Fire' status effect and all minions gain that ability for their attacks when Starfire rocks up.

When a Dungeon Boss reaches half their wounds, a timeout effect occurs. This is the point in the boss fight where the heroes are flagging, but thinking they might just scrape it, only to have the boss retreat and a butt load of minions spawn in it's place as well as more 'Fire' status effects to boot. Nasty.

Starfire is no slouch in combat either (he's a dragon after all...) spraying fire and slashing with his tail as well as basic melee attacks, all rolled on two red and one green dice, plus one to the rolls as basic. If you manage to put eight wounds on Starfire, then he's cooked, but it's definitely not an easy task.

Whichever way you slice it, Roxor is a bad dude. This guy is the boss in the first expansion and is an even tougher opponent than Starfire.

Once spawned, squares adjacent to spawning points become difficult terrain, requiring double the movement to move into and through. On another side note, it's absolutely worth taking as many spawning points down before the boss arrives, as possible. To start with, for each one gone, that's four skulls of monsters that don't spawn each turn. Plus, when the Mini Boss arrives, the consul can draw one loot card for each spawning point left on the table, choose the one they like best and apply its effects to every Consul-controlled model on the table from that point onwards, included the bosses! Crucially, the Dungeon Boss gets to activate once per turn, per spawning point on the table (with a minimum of once per round!) These characters are hardcore enough when they get to activate once per round, but twice or more, and you've got real issues.

Roxor has an ability called 'Molten Core' which means you can choose to allocate an extra green dice to either his Attack rolls or Armor rolls for that round. He can also 'Burrow' to remove any status markers he may have acquired, gain the 'Backlash' ability (dealing a wound if the Armor roll exceeds the Attack roll) for a turn, or attack at range. Oh, and he can also take TEN wounds....

I thought I'd end the post on a slightly lighter note with something that made me smile a couple of times already. If you're unlucky (or really unlucky and do it twice in one game!) you can draw a 'Boo Booty' card when you open a treasure chest. Instead of finding your lovely new relic granting you extra green dice/ability to fly/extra Attack & Armor red dice etc etc, your treasure chest turns into a carnivorous creature and sets off after you around the dungeon. Although it's not on a threat level like the bosses above, these things can nip hard and can soak up the hits before finally giving way and reveal the treasure. I guess they're the SDE equivalent of Harry Potter's monster book of monsters?

Lastly, I thought I'd throw in that since the previous post, I've played a couple of games against my brother Olly, of The Bearded Art fame. Although it's been nice playing SDE against Jake, I have been sand-boxing it a little and not going to town with the monsters special rules as well as acting as hero adviser for him. Playing against Olly was a good laugh and I could focus on making more of the Kobolds 'Mob' rule to good effect. In return, the heroes were also better utilized with some great combinations of skills and potions coming into play. 

The Starguild Sapper (above) was man of the match in the first game, and likely to have been in the second if we'd had a few more minutes to complete the final showdown, thanks to his Astral Hammer, costing two action points a pop and a +1 action point loot card allowing the use of this attack twice per round. The Astral Hammer has a Cross 2 area of effect, potentially affecting up to nine enemy models in the right circumstances. Where there are large numbers of low-armor bad guys all trying to gang up on the heroes, this move is devastating, particularly later on once the Sapper picks up extra attack dice

With the heroes receiving a loot card for every third wound inflicted, the Sapper was able to pick up time after time and really tune up the hero team in short order. There are some benefits to keeping the odd spawning point active as you get plenty of fodder for characters like this. On the down side, the Dungeon Boss will arrive pretty quickly...

There was also a decent first outing from Princess Ruby who proved to be really useful thanks to an early 'Will' stat buff. In my previous post, I'd pretty much written her out of the three-hero game, but she held her own, dishing it out as well as fulfilling the healer duties. If you don't take a 'Dex' user like the Glimmerdusk Ranger for example, Princess Ruby can make use of any 'Dex' dice that come up when using the 'Dodge' skill to avoid attacks from range.

All in all, SDE is still holding my attention and is a lot of fun. Although the scope would seem relatively limited, each game has been different so far, with the different combinations of hero teams fielded versus varying forces of the Consul. The pieces themselves have been good fun to paint, and make a welcome change from 40K stuff :) At present, five of the heroes have been fully painted and I'll aim to get some of them photographed and posted up soon.

You can also check out SDE in action over on Youtube in a series of videos from the guys at 'Watch it Played'.

Laters, night all

Friday, 11 January 2013

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work Part 2

Evenin' all, thought I'd get on and post the next part of the SDE hero guide that I started earlier in the week by looking at the three characters from the Caverns of Roxor expansion as well as the special edition model, Candy & Cola.

Since the last post, the heroes have been struggling in our games at home. Roxor brought the pain in the first game which saw the Paladin die twice (The Resurrection Charm saved him the first time...) and the nasty demise of his team-mates. The numbers game got the better of the heroes in the second game, although we ended that adventure part way through due to the time. That being said, the situation may have been savable, despite the loss of Candy & Cola, but I guess we'll never know for sure...

First up is the Starguild Sapper; another Dwarf guy with a massive hammer. He has the standard six square movement and three action points with one poition. But, he can take an extra wound, which is pretty cool. He can't be knocked to the ground and, because of the afore-mentioned huge hammer, he has the skill Reach 2. This means he can strike enemies up to two squares away, so does not need to be in the normal melee range to attack them.

His first special attack costing two points, is Astral Hammer. This attack effects a cross-shaped area up to two squares in front of, behind and to each side of the target square, potentially taking down a lot of bad guys in the one strike, notching up slots on the loot-o-meter in the process. His second special attack, POW! costs two points again, gives an extra red dice to the attack roll and has the Massive Damage rule, meaning that, if the attack is successful, it inflicts two wounds instead of one.

For one action, the Starguild Sapper can make himself immune to status effects until the start of his next go. His potion, Burning Bloom, give the effected hero Range 8 on all non-special attacks and also causes the fire status effect to the target of those attacks. Pretty mean.

I'll hold my hands up and say that I got the Deeproot Scout all wrong. I figured he was just there to make up the numbers, but he's actually performed very well in the missions we've taken him in already. He's one of those characters that I previously spoke about blurring the borders of particular skill sets that each figure specializes in. This guy is equally proficient with a sword as he is with his bow from the start of the game. In addition, he's got some nifty little skills, like the boomerang ability. He can retrieve a treasure chest from up to six spaces away (even round corners). Mental. But useful if the nearest loot box is on the other side of lava squares/ other difficult terrain/bad guys (or a combination of these things).

Although use of the bow is shown as a special attack, it only costs a single action to shoot, so you're not penalized if you want to attack from range instead of up close. For two action points, the Deeproot Scout can use Acorn Grenade which has a burst affect on the eight squares around the target square and which will knock the effected models to the ground, if it doesn't kill them outright. Unfortunately, this attack is Dangerous, so it can impact a fellow hero if they're in the way.

Lastly, the Sprite Syrup potion grants the Scout an extra action point, which, in the heat of battle is extremely useful.

Much like the Hexcast Sorceress in the last post, Princess Ruby for me is in the 'nice to have, but not essential' category. She's a magic user with a range six magic attack as standard and also has the Dodge skill. This means that she can use her dexterity roll to try and avoid an incoming attack instead of using the normal Armor dice. For one action point each, the Maidens Favor and Maidens Token actions grant one hero within six squares an extra blue Attack dice and an extra blue Will dice, respectively. Maiden's Kiss, also for one point, can heal a single wound on a hero within two spaces of Princess Ruby.

The Happily Ever After potion type is quite interesting. The card reads "Discard a single drawn loot or relic (treasure) card and immediately draw another" it doesn't specify whether or not that applies to attached and equipped cards or just drawn which are waiting to be allocated.... I'll try and seek some clarification on the tubes, but this does potentially mean juicing up the heroes at lightning speed, so long as you can keep replacing those spent potion tokens on the Princess...

This is where Candy and Cola come in. This figure is a special addition, currently only offered from Sodapop HQ in Boise, Idaho, USA, but Santa was the dude this year and grabbed one on his way through.

If you can throw good dice, this is a dream party member. If you have a habit of throwing a one when anything but will win the game, then you might want to re-think taking C and C in SDE. These guys are all about the potions. Once per turn (and nowhere is it mentioned that it has to be at the start!), you can use the Cola ability which grants you one potion, up to your maximum number, for each star rolled on a single blue dice.

In most areas, Candy and Cola are pretty average (although two red dice for a Will roll early on can be useful...), but if you can nail the Cola rolls, you're sorted. For two actions points, you can use Vending Machine and transfer a potion from C and C to another hero within six squares. 

The Soothing Soda potion makes one hero immune to status effects or, for three potions (currently the highest in the game...) Candy and Cola get two additional action points to spend. So, if you are teaming them up with Princess Ruby or the Royal Paladin, and the dice gods are smiling on you, you'll probably weather the storm and make it out of the dungeon in one piece. However, all of that aside, in the games that we've taken them on so far, the heroes have really struggled, despite potions being regenerated all over the shop. So, reluctantly, I'm kind of on the fence about the usefulness of Candy and Cola in the three-hero game. They may well even sit in the same category as the Hexcast Sorceress and Princess Ruby...

So that's about it for the hero guide. I'd be interested to hear anyone's views about their favourite/least favourite characters in SDE.

I also managed to get a few moments of dry weather to start getting the heroes undercoated so that I can get some painting in. Hopefully, I'll get the results on here sooner rather than later.

I'm thinking that next time I'll post up some stats for the boss models to see how they all stack up. Until then, I'll be seeing you...


Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work...

Ladies and Gents, thought I'd follow up the last post with our Super Dungeon Explore heroes guide.

Broadly speaking, there are three main areas that hero actions fall into (melee, magic and missiles) and each hero favors a particular discipline a little more than the others. A number of the heroes have actions from two or more of these areas, but the way in which they are portrayed on their stat card indicates their preferences. Again, it's all very high-level and the more you study and compare, the more the boundaries are blurred. But, the point I'm coming to is this: from experience (tonight mainly!) it is worth taking heroes that cover as many of these disciplines as possible. After all, the heroes are a team, working together and need to compliment each other to achieve success in the mission.

But anyways, on with the hero guide...

The Ember Mage is a magic user, as you probably guessed; she has a fairly standard movement of six with three action points to spend each turn. 

Oh, at this point, it's worth mentioning that you can spend your movement and actions in any order during each activation. For example, the Ember Mage could move one space, use an action to attack a monster, move two spaces, use an action to open a treasure chest, move two spaces, use the last action to make a ranged magic attack, then move the last space. In addition, all eight spaces around the square the model currently sits in are considered adjacent and can be moved into (with the odd exception) and not counting walls/columns/other obstructions.

Once initiative is rolled for (one model from each side rolls using their 'Will' dice, highest wins, draw always goes to the heroes). Then each side takes it in turns to activate. For example, one hero moves and takes actions, then four skull points worth of monsters (more on that another time!), then another hero, then monsters etc until every piece on the board has been activated, or been given the opportunity...

The Ember Mage has two blue dice for Attack, three blue dice for Armor, two red dice for Will and one blue, one red for Dexterity. She's a standard five-wound character but can carry two potions instead of the normal one. Her main weapon is a range eight (squares) magic attack which causes the Fire status effect. Multi-wound models taking a wound from this attack will suffer a further wound at the start of their next (and all subsequent) activations unless the status effect is removed. This attack is rolled using the 'Will' dice for the Mage. She also has two special magic attacks that cost two action points to perform; Fire Wave affects models in the squares immediately surrounding the Mage whereas Magma Strike uses the normal 8 square range, but grants an extra three blue dice, so handy when tackling the mini boss and the dungeon boss. The Mage can use a potion to heal one wound on all allies within a five square radius, or to add an extra blue dice to the attack roll if she ends up in melee range.

I think of all the characters we've play-tested so far, the Ember Mage is a front-runner for my favourite. Once she's juiced up with extra loot and treasure cards granting extra Will dice, she's virtually unstoppable.

The Hexcast Sorceress is another magical character and one of a couple that we've not yet play-tested. From the stat card, I'd put her in the 'nice-to-have' category for an 8-bit game, but not an essential. I think she would come into her own in a larger five hero game. Her three special attacks each grant an extra blue Will dice when rolling to hit and inflict a status effect on the target if successful. 

Now allow me to digress a little.... The adventure tracker that forms part of the board has two meters that charge up whilst the game is in play (another nod to the console world...) The loot-o-meter advances every time the heroes inflict a wound and receive a 'loot card' every third space it advances. The loot-o-meter resets at the start of each turn. The power gauge advances one space for every wound inflicted, good or bad. At the start of the game, only 8-bit monsters can be spawned. Once the power gauge reaches half way, 16-bit monsters are then eligible to enter the game, and these include the mini-bosses. The main dungeon boss will spawn when the power gauge reaches 'Super' in a three-hero adventure. In a full on five hero game, the power gauge must charge twice, and 16-bit monsters can be re-spawned. The Consul (DM) also gets a second mini boss.

In the five hero game, the Hexcast Sorceress will be a real asset, as she'll be able to inflict status effects on the bigger nasties and allow the rest of the team to quickly cut them down to size. In the smaller two and three hero adventures, she just won't be used to full effect.

Every good fantasy adventure needs a barbarian and SDE is no exception. Except, the Claw Tribe Barbarian is a lass (as Jake keeps reminding me... "Dad, it's a SHE, not a HE!")

She comes with the standard movement, actions, wounds, potions etc, but has two red dice for her Attack characteristic. Additionally, the Claw Tribe Barbarian can make an extra attack for free, thanks to her 'Berserk' rule. The other really nice rule on this hero (which I forgot this evening!) is 'Tough'. Tough allows a character to heal one wound at the start of each activation, before status effects like 'Fire' are resolved. This could have saved the day for me today, or at least prolonged the agony a little...

The Claw Tribe Barbarian has a special attack called 'Rage' which requires all three action points to use. This allows her to make one attack per space moved. So, theoretically, you can wind your way across a sizable chunk of the playing area and slaughter everything in your path. Or, 'strafe' a larger monster/spawning point etc and keep dishing out the punishment. Very useful!

The Furies Blood potion grants an extra blue Armor dice as well as the 'Backlash' rule for the rest of the turn. This means that if the Barbarian rolls a higher defence roll that the attack score of the opposing model, the attacker gets dealt a wound.

Another fantasy 'must' is a grumpy dwarf dude with a big axe. The Hearthsworn Fighter is SDE's grumpy dwarf dude and packs a real punch. His base Attack and Armor dice are a little better than his counterparts and he can suck up an additional wound to boot.

He can't be knocked down or poisoned which are both pretty handy and he has some mean skills too. For two action points, the Dwarven Curse allows him to pull any enemies up to three squares away, towards him providing he rolls higher Attack dice than their Will dice. He can then use the remaining one action point on Cleave, which is basically madly swinging his axe around, potentially wounding every model in the eight surrounding squares, including any heroes that strayed too close...

My understanding of the Hero's Balm potion is that you can put a potential wound on an ally when the situation is looking grim.

My feelings about the Royal Paladin have changed, since starting to play the three hero game over the two hero game. In the demonstration game on the 'Watch it Played' YouTube channel (def worth a look-see...) he seemed to be a vital asset, but in our initial games he was really a waste of time as the heroes were rinsing the games and not getting into too much strife with the 8-bit baddies, getting suitably tooled-up to take down the mini boss at the end of the game (there's no dungeon boss in the two player intro level games).

Since playing the three hero adventures, he's been invaluable, and it's really not worth setting out from home without him. Although reasonably standard stats-wise, his real speciality is in his healing abilities. The Healer rule means that whenever a heart icon is rolled during a successful attack, the Paladin can actually cure two wounds instead of the usual one. In addition, the Elixir potion allows the Paladin to heal three wounds and all status effects on any one hero in the game, not just himself and regardless of their relative positions on the board. Furthermore, as his potion token is used, it can be replaced by any hero who rolls a heart icon during a successful attack. During the first battle featuring the new boss Roxor, the Paladin picked up the Priests Vestments treasure item which allowed him to heal one wound on any hero within a certain number of spaces. He was put into cover in range of the Druid and Mage who were fighting Roxor and was the main reason the mission succeeded.

It's also worth noting the Holy rule on the Paladin's card which refers to demons. So far, there haven't been any monsters released with that model type, which suggests that further expansions are in the pipeline!!

The Riftling Rogue is the other hero from the base set that we've yet to try. For whatever reason, she's just not caught our imagination yet, but I'm intending to take her next time. Promise. She's lithe and agile and sports an extra squares movement to represent this. Looking over the card again, I've no idea why we've not used her before, because she may well be able to take the fight to the dungeon bosses, particularly when tooled up with extra loot and treasure.

The Riftling Rogue can use one action to use a smoke bomb type move, which screens her for two squares in every direction. If she's targeted by a ranged attack, she can immediately make a Dex roll and subtract the result from the attackers range to reduce the likelihood of the attack hitting. 

Her Backstab move costs three action points, but could well be worth a crack in the heat of a boss-battle. This grants an extra green (!) attack dice and if the attack is successful, wounds twice instead of once. In the later stages of the game, this could make the Rogue a game-changer.

The Dimensional Draught potion has to be a contender for 'Potion of the Game'. It allows the target hero to teleport anywhere on the board. If I've not mentioned it before, it's worth knowing now that a hero can use a potion at any time during the game (even when not their turn), affect any other hero with the effects and it doesn't cost any action points. So, there's potential to teleport around the board collecting treasure chests in the first few turns or appear next to the flagging dungeon boss right at the end of the game to deliver the fatal blow.... Why have we not used the Rogue before....?????

The Glimmerdusk Ranger is SDE's token Elf offering, and she's pretty handy. She also has the extra movement per turn and comes with a range 8 missile attack as standard, executed using the Dex stat (two red dice as standard). She can use one action point to target a hero within six squares and give them the Remedy rule so they can heal status effects. For two action points, the Ranger can use a version of the normal missile attack 'Sparkle Burst' (everyone say 'aaahhhh') which has a one square radius burst effect, potentially taking down the target as well as each enemy in an adjacent square. Unlike the Hearthsworn Fighter, this won't take down your compadres if they're stood next to the target.

The Rangers potion grants an extra blue Dex dice for the turn as well as conferring the stealth ability, handy for those closing moments against the big boss.

The last hero in the base set (and the last for this mammoth post...) is the Deeproot Druid. This guy is really a two-for-one as for one action point, he can shapeshift into Angry Bear. Actually, the figure has a bit of a lean on it, so looks more like 'Slightly Surprised Bear'... 

As the Druid, this character is immune to poison, whilst dealing out poisoned attacks using the Attack stat. In game terms, this reduces the number of action points the affected model has. He can also deal a Magic attack using the Will dice with a six square range, one square radius burst and conferring the Slow status effect on the target(s), halving their movement.

For one action, the Druid gains the Backlash ability thanks to 'Briar Armor' and the Nourishing Berries potion confers Healer to all heroes, allowing them to clear all status effects.

Angry Bear has a movement of six (one less than the Druid in human form), but can dish out the beatings. His base two red Attack dice can be supplemented with one further red, when using the Bear Charge attack for two action points. Successful attacks with this move will also knock lesser opponents to the ground, costing them one action to stand back up again in their turn. For another two action points, Angry Bear can perform the Bear Hug and inflict the Immobile and Weak effects on the target. Immobile does what it says on the tin, whilst Weak means the attacker must discard the highest dice result rolled when attacking.

Angry Bear also gets the Nourishing Berries potion type.

I thought I'd just add in this pic again from the last post, with a good selection of heroes, all pretty juicy with a butt-load of treasure and loot cards attached who were able to survive the last battle and defeat Roxor...

Well, there we have the not-so-brief roundup of the heroes from the Super Dungeon Explore base set. As I hope I've been able to illustrate, it's worth considering taking a good mix of heroes who use different attributes. This means that you can make best-use of any loot or treasure acquired on your trip around the dungeon and not find yourself in the same situation that I did earlier. Every loot and treasure drawn was of little use thanks to luck of the cards and similar abilities of my heroes. 

I, ultimately, was handed my own ass by a very smug six-year-old Consul...

In the next post, I'll take a look at the three heroes from the Caverns of Roxor expansion, as well as the special addition figure, Candy & Cola.

Night all

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Super Dungeon Explore - Overview of Gameplay

Since Super Dungeon Explore (SDE) arrived over Christmas, I've played quite a few games with my lad Jake and it's been a really fun game to get into. We've been trying out all the different playing pieces to see what's hot and whats not and figured we'd put together a little guide on our findings so far...

But first, it's probably a good idea to put it all in context with a brief overview of things.

In SDE the goal of the heroes is to seek out and destroy the Dungeon Boss, collecting treasure and loot along the way, as well as wiping out the lesser minions of the dungeon. Actions are resolved using a number and combination of blue, red or green dice. The significance of the colouring is that each one carries a different weighting of stars, which are totalled to indicate success or failure in each situation.

Blue dice have two blank faces, two one-star faces, one two-star face and one heart face. Red dice have one blank face, two one-star faces, one two-star face, one three-star face and one potion face. Green dice have one one-star face, two two-star faces, one three-star face, one four-star face and one potion and heart face. If a hero makes a successful attack roll and rolls hearts and/potions as well as the stars needed to succeed in the attack, they can heal wounds or replace used potions accordingly. 

Each model in the game has a character card that is used to track it's health, treasure and status effects throughout the game. At the top of each card is the figure's name and model type. The 'd-pad' and action button icons in the top-right corner of the card show the number of spaces a character can move and actions they can perform during each activation.

Character cards for Angry Bear, The Glimmerdusk Ranger and Royal Paladin during an 8bit game, tracking damage and potions, as well as the loot and treasure cards picked up throughout the game, attached to the four equipment slots.
On the right-hand side of the card are the base number of dice each character rolls for 'Attack' (hand to hand), 'Armor', 'Will' (Magic and determining initiative at the start of each turn) and 'Dex' (Dexterity - used for shooting attacks). These base dice numbers are supplemented by the various loot and treasure cards they acquire around the dungeon and characters can potentially become real forces to reckon with, in a short space of time. There is also a heart which shows the number of wounds it takes to kill to model and the maximum number of potions that figure can carry at any one time.

Just below half-way down is a gold bar which shows any special rules or abilities affecting each character. These are explained in more detail on the reverse of each card, which is handy. The bottom panel shows any special actions (indicated with a blue action button) and special attacks (indicated with a red action button) that a character may have, as well as a description of the model's potion.

The other features of the card which I really like, are the four equipment slots shown around the border of each card (red, green, blue and yellow). As the heroes acquire loot and treasure cards on their journey around the board, the cards are 'attached' to one of these equipment slots. They can be attached immediately to any member of the party, or witheld until the end of the round to make a decision then. They can also be discarded to remove a wound from one hero, or switched with an existing card, with the old card being discarded.

The Ember Mage; a potent magic attack user, able to inflict damage from range that also gives the target model the fire status effect. Later in the game, the Ember Mage is nearly unstoppable once she has been juiced up with extra loot and treasure cards that boost her 'Will' dice.

In the next post, I'll start our run through the heroes available and look at the strengths they bring to the mission, including the Ember Mage, pictured above.

Cheers, Pete