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

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