Dungeon Saga – Hero Quest Resurrected?

Today we have a wonderful review of the newly released Dungeon Saga: The Dwarf King’s Quest, released by Mantic Games. Martin Almand took a copy home recently and was very impressed by it – here’s why:

*******

Before we begin our little trek today, let us first go back to Christmas 1989. Lots of presents under the tree, the smell of a wonderful Christmas dinner being cooked and general excitement happening. Due to an old family tradition, we had opened a few presents in the morning and eagerly awaited lunch to be done and over, so we could delve into the remaining amounts!
Fast forward a few hours, and everyone has had their fill and the Queen has done her bit. So it begins, many gifts are opened and everyone is really happy. I was given a present to open and like all 10 year olds, I ripped the paper off in a time that should be in the Guinness Book of Records. I was confronted with an image that I will always remember: a barbarian swinging his sword, a wizard casting a spell, a dwarf and an elf about to fight, what I would learn was an Orc and a plethora of monsters at the back. I flip the box over and see an image of the contents and was instantly enthralled. The board, the miniatures, the smug looking bastard peering over the top of the DM screen. Once the chaos of the presents had finished, I remember going into the dining room and opening the box and getting it all sorted. I fell in love with the game, the aesthetics, the rules and the fun that could be had. It was also the start (as it was to many others) of a lifelong hobby and much pain being endured by my wallet. The game, of course, was Hero Quest, and I still have that original copy of the game today.

.
So let’s zip back to present day and look at Dungeon Saga: The Dwarf Kings Quest by Mantic Games. This is a dungeon crawler too, and after just opening the box and playing the first tutorial game, it brought back all the memories of the experiences I had playing Hero Quest. I say this with the utmost honesty: the game is a modern day version (in my opinion) of that classic game. It is not a copy, but it captures (again, in my opinion) all those feelings when I first played.

.
So what do you get for £39.99? Well, to be honest, a hell of a lot! Before I list everything (I say list, I am going to copy and paste it, so I don’t get it wrong!), the box itself is designed as a tome and you keep everything inside. It’s a small cosmetic thing, but it really adds to the whole fantasy setting and all future expansions will be coming in the same box style, so will look great on a shelf.

.
So, inside the box we have:1447171672-50671900
8-Page Step-by-step Quick Start guide
24-Page Dungeon Saga Rulebook
32-Page Dungeon Saga Quest Book
26 Battle-ready Coloured Plastic Miniatures – no assembly required!
Orlaf the Barbarian
Rordin the Dwarf Fighter
Madriga the Elven Ranger
Danor the Human Wizard
Mortibris the Necromancer
Elshara the Elven Banshee
Grund the Undead Dwarf King
Hoggar the Undead Zombie Troll Shaman
4 Skeleton Warriors in two different poses
4 Zombies in two different poses
2 Skeleton Archers
2 Basilean Armoured Zombies

2 Ghosts

2 Dwarf Revenants
2 Zombie Trolls
A Fully Interactive 3D Dungeon:1447171673-6951200033 double-sided Dungeon Room and Corridor Tiles made of thick card.

50 clear plastic clips to hold your dungeon together
10 plastic Dungeon Doors:
6 Small Doors
2 Small Portcullises
2 Double Doors
22 pieces of plastic Dungeon furniture, including:
4 Treasure Chests with Lids
4 Barrels
2 Tables1 Bookcase
1 Sorcerer’s Cabinet
1 Well
1 Lectern with Book

1 Throne

1 Tomb
1 Weapon Rack
Everything you need to play:
8 double-sided Character Cards for your heroes and villains

fde4ef3c80024c1997ee7f714d9ab18a_original1 Overlord Panel for the Necromancer player
6 Bone-coloured Overlord dice

6 Blue-coloured Hero Dice

22 Overlord Command Cards
9 Minor Spell Cards
12 Major Spell Cards
27 Magic Item Cards
8 Ability Cards
1 Long Range Ruler
1 Short Range Ruler

24 Wound Counters687474703a2f2f613430312e69646174612e6f7665722d626c6f672e636f6d2f363234783430302f332f39362f31332f36392f50726f2f4d616e7469632d456e7465727461696e6d656e742f4453434e303431322e4a50474 Hero Counters
24 Piles of Bones
6 Weak Point Counters
1 Cave In Counters
3 Petty Magic Spell Effect Counters
1 Geomancy Spell Effect Counter
1 Sorcery Spell Effect Counter

4 Necromancy Spell Effect Counters
1 You are in my Power Counter
16 Experience Counters
1 Banshee Heart in 4 Pieces
15 Door Counters

.
Phew, that’s a lot of stuff!

.

Moving onto the game itself and how it actually plays, I ran the introduction scenarios and it took a whole five minutes to get the board and everything set up. It would have been quicker if I had not unpunched all the terrain pieces, as it clearly states to just use the ones with the red border … Whoops! But hey, I was excited. The first mission sets the scene for the whole campaign and after reading aloud the introduction, we began.
The character cards tell you everything you need to know about that model – how far they can move, how many dice to roll for attacks, feats and wounds. The quick start guide talks you though combat and it is a very good mechanic. Both attacker and defender roll their respective dice, the heroes use the blue dice and the Necromancer (think DM) rolls the bone coloured ones. You take away any dice below the defender’s armour value, then line the dice up in descending order. Then you work out if the defender has managed to block any of the attacks and how many hits get through. Once you know the number of hits, if it is on a monster, you consult your Necromancer chart and see what happens. For example, if just one hit lands on a skeleton, nothing happens. Two to three hits reduce them to a pile of bones and on four hits, they are destroyed.
We found that a lot of the time, the skeletons had turned to bone piles, which could then be used to resurrect more skeletons; however, the scenario rules dictate how many skeletons can be on the board at one time, which allows a balance to be maintained. In addition, the Necromancer player has a set number of command points to use per turn. These can be used to move and attack or summon in new monsters, in this case skeletons.
The game lasts until one of the following conditions are meet; The heroes achieve their objective or the Necromancer runs out of Overlord cards. The cards give the Necromancer additional command points that can be used in their turn, or abilities such as free resurrections.
When I ran the game (as the Necromancer), I had my two sons who are 14 and 11, plus their friend, 13, play. Whilst my sons are used to me showing them many games and systems, their friend was completely new to this. After the first game, she was hooked and was actually surprised how much she had enjoyed it; from the easy to pick up rule set, the cosmetics and having to think and discuss how they should progress as a party to achieve their quest. As the Necromancer, I found it really quick and easy to get into and I can see, having read the full rule set now, how it is a game that has a lot of hidden depth the more you play.
I didn’t join the Kickstarter, but having seen what those who did received, it’s clear that this game is getting a lot of support from Mantic and could become a game that introduces more people into the hobby, especially at the low price of the main game. This is the game that should be under the tree this year, so in twenty plus years, they can reminisce about the Christmas that introduced them to a whole new world.

****

Our copies of Dugeon Saga also come with a free Necromancer miniature (while stocks last), and we also have a range of gorgeous scenery pieces  – reminiscent, in my opinion, of the excellent Dwarven Forge scenery kits – to go with the game and make it even more epic and immersive!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Board Games, Miniature Games
[wdgpo_plusone] Pin It

Comments are closed.