Had an intro to Soda Pop Miniatures dungeon crawler games Super Dungeon Explore tonight thanks to Nathan, Mark and Paul.
The game is a table top version of the old school classic dungeon crawl/RPG computer games of the 80s/90s. Your band of explorers face off against hordes of gribblies, collecting loot and treasure until you generate the mid-level boss and then finally the end of level dragon. The collectables buff your characters and potions allow you to trigger special abilities. It plays exactly like you remember those classic 8bit adventure games used to. Kills the hordes, grab the buffs and then take on the big bosses. All that’s missing is a great synth track, Chocobo and bad american voice acting.
The game is helped by what is best described as supercutemangastylepopspangle miniatures. The hordes are almost too cute to hack. Almost. The good guys are dynamic and inventive.
So for my first game Mark, Nathan and I took on a mage, paladin and barbarian respectively, Paul had the bad guys.
Mark had played before and suggested we hit the spawn points hard in an attempt to restrict the potential actions of the inevitable appearance of the dragon. We quickly saw off the first and then got bogged down by a horde blocking a doorway. Whilst the paladin (ahem) bravely hunted treasure the barbarian launched the awesome special ability and walloped the horde, smashing through to the next room.
The arrival of the mid-level boss caused some nerves until we just decided to throw caution to the wind and have a crack. Again the barbarian did the damage and took out the monster.
By this time the dragon was nearing and having taken out two spawn points we sent the mage after the last and prepared the barbarian for combat. The paladin bravely stood about healing stuff and blocking doors.
The dragon showed up and caused a moment of terror whilst we tried to figure out how to deal with this monster. By now the barbarian was pretty buffed with a tasty number of attack dice to play with thanks to some treasure which doubled slots for loot. The mage took out the last spawn point restricting the options for the dragon. The combination of serious buffage on the barbarian and restricted actions sealed the fate of the dragon. Unable to get more than one series of actions off per turn the combat awesomeness of the barbarian was able to knock off the hit points and deal with the resulting spawns. The final blow came when the barbarian launched her special ability allowing her to hit back when defense dice beat attack dice. Two saved dragon attacks generated the necessary final two wounds and defeated the top boss!
SDE is pretty good fun for a quick paced game that captures the essence of the dungeon crawl style of gaming. The teams decisions on actions to set up the right combos at the right time feel very 8-bit gamey. The right items can tip the balance firmly in the favour of the heroes and you can see how you might need expansion packs to keep the game lively in the long run.
Regardless, good fun for a hack and slash night. And certainly the cutest damn miniatures I’ve played with this year.