Dungeon Saga First Look
Somehow, despite me anxiously tracking the progress of the cargo ships carrying Mantic Games’ Dungeon Saga it managed to arrive, quite unexpected, on my doorstep this past Monday. After a frantic few days of unboxing, reading, painting and playing I am now ready to give my first impressions.
After looking through all the stuff that came with it base level pledge the first thing I spent any time with were the miniatures. The last miniatures I received from Mantic were for the retail box for Deadzone and I was not impressed. In comparison the Dungeon Saga miniatures are well sculpted and crisply cast from hard plastic. There was a lot of warping in transit but a dunk into a mug of nearly boiling water sorted everything out.
I’ve painted 14 of the miniatures so far and have found them great to work with.
The doors and dungeon furniture are each cast in a different material. The doors are injection molded in hard plastic. Mantic has gone with a sprueless casting which has resulted in numerous unsightly ejector-pin marks on all the doors. They are made even more obvious once the doors are drybrushed. If they bother people they can be easily filled and sanded as they are all in easy-to-reach areas.
The dungeon furniture is cast in a rubbery plastic. I haven’t painted any of these yet and am not sure how they will do. The plastic is similar to normal board-game plastic which people have successfully painted in the past so I’m not too worried.
In addition to the miniatures the tiles are important to the look of the game. I found the art on the tiles a little dark for my taste. During the game most of the detail won’t be visible but it shouldn’t detract too much from the game. I tried using the clear plastic clips to connect the tiles. While they do hold things secure they raise the tiles off the surface and separate them slightly. Depending on where the clips are the dungeon can become a little wobbly, specifically on the first scenario which is long and narrow. Looking at the later adventures it looks like the dungeons are large enough that this won’t happen. Still, I think I may prefer not connecting my tiles and letting the nap of my table covering keep things from sliding too much.
The base Kickstarter comes with a bunch of books. Within the main game are three: a quickstart guide to walk you through playing the first two dungeons, the rule book and the adventure book. I’ve found all the books to be well presented. I also received the Adventurer’s Companion. This is the most important part of the game for me and I think that not including it in the core game is a bit of a mistake.
Speaking of mistakes, unfortunately the Adventurer’s Companion is full of them. The most glaring is that the final editing pass where all the “See Page. XXXX” references were not replaced with the actual page reference. There’s also some copy and paste errors where the full game rules are included from the main rulebook but refer to the page numbers of the rulebook. There’s even some fluff that is duplicated. It looks like no rules are broken because of this so it’s just cosmetic, although glaring.
I played the first introductory scenario using the quickstart guide and I can see a lot of potential in the game. Mechanics are simple but tactical. Aside from your basic fighting ability working together as a team will give you an advantage while letting yourself get swarmed is a disadvantage.
The basic game does advance the level of the characters by giving them additional equipment through the course of the adventure, but there is no way to customize the characters. The Adventurer’s Companion does provide rules both for leveling up and for creating your own characters which is what I am most interested in.
I want this game to be Warhammer Quest, which may not be fair but there it is. The advanced rules in the Adventurer’s Companion seems to allow this. During downtime players are randomly given a number of locations they can visit. Different locations will allow them different upgrade choices. I like this idea but haven’t yet looked at the locations.
Please leave a comment if you’re a backer and what you think of the game so far, or whether you are planning to pick up the game at retail. You can also find me on Google+ and Twitter. Don’t forget to subscribe for more.