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

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