I was one of the proud backers of this game TOTALLY ON THE ART ALONE and did so with no regrets. However, we have here an interesting game on our hands in addition to being a beautiful one! The art is basically gamer porn if you love Aly Morrison and John Blanche stuff from GW of old. Chaos Marauders feels like a strong influence for the art style, both ooze theme, but this shit goes to 11 in metal.
If I was to compare this game to anything I would say it’s like a coop version of Tom Wham’s Search for the Emperor’s Treasure with a much darker backdrop and a bit more complexity in a few areas. If you’ve never played SFtET that’s OK, it should become obvious what type of game this is with a brief description.
You are a group of escaped prisoners from the city dungeon of Brutellburg in the province of Wurstriech. Wurstreich is getting worse and more dangerous all the time. The party can choose to fulfill various missions (or not) as you run away from the law and various monsters. These missions lead to other missions and then you have a long story arc for your party through the game. You level up(sort of) and buy new gear as well.
The rulebook is a bit daunting. I read through it as a PDF a while back but didn’t have the game in front of me so very little STUCK up inside the brain. I have given it a go solo and here are a few things to look for in your first play.
- Paths can be used, but you cannot fast travel (force march) on them until they are explored
- It’s very important to understand the threat / town level system for the game as it determines encounters (the meat of the game). Which spaces have their distinct threat level and which share with their territory is critical to note.
- Roads and paths are ‘spaces’ so you draw a danger card every time you move on to one. (I know this seems obvious but…)
- Combat – note that most combats you are rolling 5 dice. 2 are defense, 2 are offense and one power die. It’s a straight forward system similar to Search for the Emperor’s Treasure. There are LOTS of conditions and effects to track as well as ‘approach’ effects such as ambushing.
- The Danger cards are worth reading and re-reading about as they have some things that will seem odd at first. the TAGGING of the main threat number is critical as that’s the deck you draw from. At it’s most complex, it is an encounter (card) draw, plus an Epic monster, plus normal monsters that are NOT of the area you are in. You need to know how to match the threat level on the card to the threat level on the space or area you are in. This is the most complex thing in the game, so study it closely for faster play.
- You SPEND your XP when you rest and you SPEND your gold when you rest in a town area for loot. Your XP does not accumulate to level you up, you level up by buying skills.
- Read and re read the hand of doom rules.
Tuesday night will be the first play through with people (though my kids may force my hand earlier) and I’ll post feelings then on more than just the presentation.
Last I want to say this. I got Massive Darkness and this within a few weeks of each other. Both are Co-op Explore/Kill/Loot/Mission games. Dungeon Degenerates I actually set up and played immediately and will do so again asap. Massive Darkness — I doubt it will get busted out even with the kids until Xmas or something.