April 29, 2015 by Jake
It finally arrived a couple weeks ago! It has been a long road from when I first backed the game from last April, but the wait is considerably worth it! The last arriving game on my list Super Dungeon Explore is within my grasping claws and has met my expectations with dazzling aplomb! Simmer down Jake, speak English. Megan was sweet enough to stay up with me to take a few unboxing pictures.
Super Dungeon Explore was one of the very first board games launched by CoolMiniOrNot and Soda Pop Miniatures. The game is a cooperative and competitive miniatures game with the cheeky theme of fantasy heroes and monsters clashing in a dungeon environment with most of the action being decided through custom dice. The game starts with a party of heroes entering a dungeon filled with monsters, all of which are represented by their own miniature plastic figure. As the game progresses the heroes will attempt to explore the dungeon, collect useful treasure, and most importantly, cut down as many monsters as possible. The monsters outnumber the heroes considerably and will in turn take action to protect their headquarters while silencing heroes permanently. The game escalates with more and more dangerous monsters appearing even as the heroes reach the limit of their power. With the final appearance of the Dungeon’s Boss if the heroes can survive to this last challenge and overcome it the game is theirs. The game ends decisively if the forces of darkness can bring down all the do-gooders first.
My thoughts on the new game system have vastly improved since the first edition launched in 2011. The game is more challenging and balanced for both sides. The heroes are mighty and diverse, but can easily be overwhelmed if they do not map out a conservative plan. On the other hand the monsters will always have to rely on superior numbers and bullying tactics. The first play through was slow as the rules seemed a little complex, but for all its different rules the game mechanics are very simple and concrete. All of the new tiles, cards, and miniatures are well laid out with inspiring art and practical graphic design. I find the game incredibly addictive and cannot wait to play it again and teach new players. My only disdain for the game comes from the fact that each play truly does take around three hours at its minimum session size. I am symmetrically eager and wary about trying the game at its medium or full sizes. I simply see no way around the game’s herculean length. Every action requires its own dice rolls and while exciting there is really no way around the constant volume of rolls each turn.
Of course the new selling point of the game was the brand new Arcade Mode, which pits the players against a deck of programmed Arcade cards which provide functions for the monsters to follow which often result in hazardous and frustrating combinations. I have tried this multiple times and each time there has been a true narrative and multiple exciting moments. I thought I would share a few of the more memorable events and pictures that transpired during our first few plays:
-While keeping the destructive mini-boss Bashful Boris, a bear man armed with an enormous maul, pinned down in an old ruin the brave Questing Knight and Mistmourn Shaman hear the pounding steps of reinforcements from an adjacent corridor. Shouting encouragement to her comrades, the cunning Princess Emerald hefts her lethal rifle off her shoulder and scatters the enemy before they can overwhelm her allies from behind.
-A terrible and massive carnivorous plant akin to Audrey II is set ablaze and cut down over and over by magic and sword. I kept nearly depleting his health, only to draw the card that would heal him continually. The result was the appearance of a nearly unsinkable adversary.
-Megan finding the winning combination of treasure and potions allowing her Ninja hero to fly over a labyrinth in record time while evading danger.
-In the climactic battle against a dragon in a scene straight out of a fairy tale, the Questing Knight stands between his companions and gout of endless fire.
To be continued …