Welcome to the Game Night Blog Carnival for December! You can get more information about the carnival at the main Game Night site.
While wandering through PAX with my brother in 2010, we stumbled upon a booth set up for a game called Super Dungeon Explore that had some fantastic looking anime-inspired fantasy miniatures. After playing through the quick demo, we were both hooked. The next day we stopped by the booth again to try out different heroes, and afterwards we were both eagerly looking forward to the game’s release. At this year’s PAX we were finally able to pre-order Super Dungeon Explore and my copy finally arrived last month.
Super Dungeon Explore is a dungeon delve miniatures/board game created by Soda Pop Miniatures. The game’s art and mechanics are both inspired by arcade-style video games. One player takes on the role of the dungeon’s monsters while the rest of the players (up to 5) are brave heroes trying to bash in kobolds and loot the dungeon. The game is heavily inspired by video games and features tropes such as hearts and potions popping into existence as monsters die and spawning points that spew forth a constant stream of enemies.
The game moves fast with turns alternating between the heroes and the monsters. Each turn, either one hero or up to 4 monsters act (4 of the weakest monsters or as little as 1 if a more powerful monster acts). On a hero’s turn, they are able to move a number of spaces up to their speed and take 3 points worth of actions. One action point allows a basic attack while some more powerful actions take multiple points. Monsters on the other hand often have only a single action point (excluding some more powerful monsters like Kobold Ironscales, minibosses, and bosses).
The game can be played at three different sizes. The introductory 8-bit mode has 2 heroes trying to destroy 2 spawning points and doesn’t use any minibosses or bosses. The 3-hero and 5-hero games (16-bit and super modes) have a spawning point for each hero along with using a miniboss or two and the dungeon’s boss, Starfire the dragon. In order to win, the heroes need to destroy spawning points and defeat the level boss.
While the gameplay is a ton of fun alone, another huge selling point for Super Dungeon Explore are the fantastic miniatures. The game comes with 8 heroes (plus an alternate form mini for the druid), 5 treasure chests, 5 spawning points, and 30-some monsters (kobolds and dragons). The miniatures have a pretty unique anime-inspired look and are the same quality that you’d expect from a miniatures game like Warhammer or Warmachine. Once the weather is warm and dry enough to spray prime again, I plan to paint my set.
The only real drawback to Super Dungeon Explore is that in some ways it’s designed as a miniatures game rather than a normal board game. The miniatures come in a few pieces each and it took me a couple of hours to superglue them all together. Starfire the dragon was also a bit of a challenge to put together and required a bit of patience as I held pieces tight waiting for the glue to dry. In addition, the game box isn’t particularly well suited to storing the minis (to help remedy that you can get foam inserts for the box from Battle Foam). Because of these issues, I’d be careful about getting the game for someone who doesn’t have experience with miniatures, but for someone able to put in the work for assembly, the game is most definitely worth the effort.
Next blog in carnival: Undergopher Central (Quarriors)