-=::) Dante (::=-
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Like many others posting in the Variants section I've been excited by the idea of increasing interaction and the number of meaningful decisions to be made each game.

That said, I feel that one of Dungeon Roll's greatest strengths is it's lean simplicity and personally want to avoid variations which introduce bookkeeping, chart consultations, additional cards, or any other form of added complexity.

Please note that these rules are intended to be used together. This is a single variant, not 3 different options!

In play testing the counter-balancing of these rules has maintained final scores in line with those achieved playing the official rules. #1 and #2 especially will dramatically change final scoring and game difficulty if left out or used independently.

After running through a number of house rule variations over the last few weeks, this specific combination has proved the most engaging and successful for us and our generous play testers so far:




~~~

1) Active Dungeon Lord

Dungeon Lord may re-roll one die of choice immediately after rolling the dungeon dice for the first time in each level. (does not apply on re-rolls from scrolls or character abilities)

This keeps the Dungeon Lord more actively engaged by giving them at least one meaningful decision to make on each level of the delve. This single re-roll can also make the game much more difficult for the delver than you might suspect over the course of the game. This opened the door for the following boosts to restore a difficulty level close to the official base game...



2) Buffed Scrolls

Scrolls can re-roll any active dice as usual but include themselves in the re-roll rather than having to be sent to the graveyard.

Increases the power of scrolls which helps the player stand up to the now much tougher Dungeon, but also strengthens their core utility since they're no longer often used to (inexplicably) quaff potions thanks to…



3) Thematic Potions

Potions no longer cost a die to quaff but can only be used to revive actual party members (not scrolls) from the graveyard without changing their die face.

This means they are now strictly for reviving spent party members and no longer an alchemical transmorgifier changing party dice into Champions the majority of the time a lone potion appears.

This does make them easier to use which helps to balance them being the frequent target of Dungeon Lord re-rolls, but this also limits their utility in what some have suggested is a slightly more thematic manner, with a side benefit of making an occasionally tougher choice as to who to revive.

~~~





Worth noting that in addition to the original goals, these rules make Champions a bit more scarce but we've found this to be a good thing. Now they truly feel more like… Champions. (rather than an easily acquired resource to fit almost every circumstance)

In our own play tests and those reported below final scores have all been quite in line with our base game generally ranging from 17-32.

Of course these scores are based on the synergy of the above house rules. The Active Dungeon Lord on it's own is just a world of extra pain. The other two add power and flexibility back to the party to counteract that but would be ridiculously over-powered without the Dungeon Lord working against them every turn.



While these simple tweaks don't entirely erase the auto-pilot and multiplayer solitaire criticisms they mitigate both enough to have increased our enjoyment of the game significantly.

I still consider it a work in progress and it may well get tweaked and added to over time. (maintaining simplicity is an absolute must though)



While one of the key goals is to add a bit of multiplayer interaction it's easy enough to play-test this solo by simply re-rolling for the Dungeon Lord as you would against a competing player.



If you do give it a try please do share your experience:

- 7 or 9 Dungeon dice
- Character used
- Final score
- Any deviations from the variant as written

And of course your thoughts and feedback!

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Ted Magdzinski
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Re: Increased Interaction & Decisions Variant. v.01 (3 moderately play-tested tweaks)
Interesting to see these. I have only played solo so far, so I can't comment on the Active Dungeon Lord.

I like 2 and 3. Scrolls seem like such a waste sometimes and potions are only slightly useful if you only have one. I know you can essentially trade a die for any other die, but it seems like an inefficient engine. I may try these ones later.
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J. Riddell
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Re: Increased Interaction & Decisions Variant. v.01 (3 play-tested tweaks)
These are great suggestions.

For 1. Did you mean that the Dungeon Lord can roll ANY single die (including a party die)? If so, I'd probably prefer that they not be able to do this, but it might be required to balance the game.

Did you consider allowing potions to either bring back party members from the graveyard OR change an existing party member to another party member (probably a champion). This works thematically for me, but might make potions too powerful. A possible counterbalance to this might be to not allow scrolls to be used at all for potions (meaning that potions can't be used to revive scrolls) which also seems fitting.

Another simple tweak that I've been considering that doesn't change the mechanics at all, but keeps others more engaged is to rotate the Dungeon Lord each level starting with the person to the left of the active player. I can't think of another press your luck dice game where the non-active players are the most active dice rollers. I kind of like that.

I've also been trying to think of a better end game condition. The 3 turns doesn't work thematically for me. One idea I've been considering is playing until someone reaches and defeats level 10 (and possibly boost the bonus for doing so). This would encourage players to save up their treasures then expend them when they think they will be able to make it through the tenth level. The winner would still be the player with the most points. This possibly needs another condition to avoid overly long games. One idea might be to not return treasures to the chest but save them off to the side. When treasures run out then they could all be returned to the chest and players would then have one more turn to boost their score before the end of the game is called.

What are your thoughts on these tweaks? Have you already considered any of them? I agree that Dungeon Roll shines as a simple game and should stay that way.
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-=::) Dante (::=-
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Re: Increased Interaction & Decisions Variant. v.01 (3 play-tested tweaks)
riddell wrote:
These are great suggestions.

For 1. Did you mean that the Dungeon Lord can roll ANY single die (including a party die)?

Thanks for both the kind words, thoughtful questions, and suggestions!

Dungeon dice only. Have ammended the rule for clarity.

riddell wrote:

Did you consider allowing potions to either bring back party members from the graveyard OR change an existing party member to another party member (probably a champion). This works thematically for me, but might make potions too powerful. A possible counterbalance to this might be to not allow scrolls to be used at all for potions (meaning that potions can't be used to revive scrolls) which also seems fitting.

It's true that would likely overpower both Potions and Scrolls too much. If you check rule number 2 you'll see the current scoring averages were achieved with the limitation that Potions already cannot revive Scrolls.

riddell wrote:

Another simple tweak that I've been considering that doesn't change the mechanics at all, but keeps others more engaged is to rotate the Dungeon Lord each level starting with the person to the left of the active player.

Nice idea! To be honest given the downtime issue I agree with most that this game really works best with one set for every two players.

As such, I'm personally going to stick with 2/4/6 and a set for each duo, but your suggestion is ideal for those who do play with an odd number and don't mind the extra downtime.

riddell wrote:

I've also been trying to think of a better end game condition.

I don't mind the 3 turns so much, but most definitely want to test variants that more often make the question of delving deeper or quitting a much more tense hand wringing affair.

Others have commented how regularly this decision is almost unavoidably obvious and I agree this takes away from it feeling like a true push your luck game a lot of the time.

Once I'm certain that the first three rules have held up to their tires kicked by a wider pool of folks, exploring that is going to be my first priority.

I'll likely start a different thread to work on that or add to an existing discussion as I'm guessing this will stand on it's own whether or not someone chooses to incorporate the variant here.
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Daniel Kearns
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Re: Increased Interaction & Decisions Variant. v.01 (3 play-tested tweaks)
These are pretty good variants.

I really like the potions and scroll variant as they are simple and make more sense that the actual rules.

Subscribed.
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J. Riddell
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Re: Increased Interaction & Decisions Variant. v.01 (3 play-tested tweaks)
NuMystic wrote:
It's true that would likely overpower both Potions and Scrolls too much. If you check rule number 2 you'll see the current scoring averages were achieved with the limitation that Potions already cannot revive Scrolls.
Thanks for the clarification. As you expressed rule number 2 you did not mention that you can't send a scroll to the graveyard, only that you can reroll the scroll. Yes, I know that doesn't make much sense... Why would anyone want to do it and how is it supposed to even happen?

The way the rule is worded makes it sound like it is an option to re-roll when a scroll shows up, but there is no downside to re-rolling the scroll itself, so when a scroll shows up you'll always re-roll something.

Another twist might be that a scroll can't roll itself and needs at least one active party member die to be present in order to be rerolled (and possibly force the party member and scroll both to be rerolled). This would somewhat reduce the power of the scroll and seems to make sense. Requiring a party member seems to make sense for the potions as well. (though the party member used wouldn't go to the graveyard) I'm probably going to try integrating all of this and as long as it doesn't become too simple to get very high scores I might be okay with it.

NuMystic wrote:
As such, I'm personally going to stick with 2/4/6 and a set for each duo, but your suggestion is ideal for those who do play with an odd number and don't mind the extra downtime.
... or ideal for those of us with only one set.cry Also, note that with my suggestion there is almost no downtime for any number of players. The dice will be rolled by a different player every level and each level should be resolved quickly. Using your Dungeon Lord single die re-roll option they won't even be just passively rolling. With 4 players the Dungeon Lords will have just finished rolling, be the active Lord, or will be anticipating their turn as Lord. I think this might make it okay to scale to a couple more players using only one set.

Thanks again for all the suggestions.
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Gene Moore
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Re: Increased Interaction & Decisions Variant. v.01 (3 play-tested tweaks)
I like all 3 of these rules. Can't wait to try them out in my next game.
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Re: Increased Interaction & Decisions Variant. v.01 (3 play-tested tweaks)
riddell wrote:
As you expressed rule number 2 you did not mention that you can't send a scroll to the graveyard, only that you can reroll the scroll.

My apologies, the confusion was due to a typo actually. Should have read:

NuMystic wrote:
If you check rule number 2 Rule Number 3 you'll see the current scoring averages were achieved with the limitation that Potions already cannot revive Scrolls.

This is what I was referring to here:

Quote:
3) Thematic Potions

Potions no longer cost a die to quaff but can only be used to revive actual party members (not scrolls) from the graveyard without changing their die face.




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Brad Olson
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Re: Increased Interaction & Decisions Variant. v.01 (3 play-tested tweaks)
Excellent rules tweaks! I really like the way it makes some decisions less automatic. After five plays I really feel like this is an improvement - much tougher, and it makes the Dungeon Lord role more significant. Yes, potions are frequent re-roll targets, but I have attempted (successfully at times) to make sure the party encounters monsters of three different types.

Very nice. Thanks for sharing!
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Daniel de Schweinitz
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Re: Increased Interaction & Decisions Variant. v.01 (3 play-tested tweaks)
I really like the idea of these variants. I haven't tried them out yet in my games, but they sound both promising and balanced. I really like any variant that works to get all the players engaged at all times, and the Active Dungeon Lord is a good way to do that.

I also feel the scrolls in the core game are kind of "meh" and it looks like you managed to pump more power and versatility into them without sacrificing the core "feel."

I love that the potions are used for more than accruing an army of Champions.
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-=::) Dante (::=-
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Re: Increased Interaction & Decisions Variant. v.01 (3 play-tested tweaks)
I'm really glad to hear that it's been working out for others as well.

Please do share your final scores for each character you attempt it with!

This will help to identify any areas where this variant may bend/break the unique character card balance. (and I can focus further play testing on characters that haven't yet been thrown at it)
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Nate Rethorn
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Re: Increased Interaction & Decisions Variant. v.01 (3 play-tested tweaks)
This sounds much more like what I was hoping for in the game. I'll be trying these tweaks out the next time I play.
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Darryl with one "R"
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Re: Increased Interaction & Decisions Variant. v.01 (3 play-tested tweaks)
Another potential modification to #1: What if the dungeon lord could re-roll only once per delve rather than once per level? Yes, this would nerf the dungeon lord, but I think it would add another layer of decision-making to the dungeon lord. In other words, the DL would have to decide: when is the right time to re-roll?

Or if you'd want to make it a little stronger: Once per delve, the Dungeon Lord can re-roll up to x (where x = 3, 'half of all', etc.) dungeon dice immediately after rolling the dungeon dice for the first time in a new level.
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Re: Increased Interaction & Decisions Variant. v.01 (3 play-tested tweaks)
If you are going to be stuck with your starting party without any chance of changing the die to more useful/varied faces, then I'd want a free reroll of any of the party dice before going into the first dungeon. I recently began a game with four mages and three clerics, potions were the only thing that kept me in the game because I could switch some of them to champions. You seriously suffer if you don't have any party variety in the later levels, and there is no way to get that as the rules are unless you start with scrolls.

It looks like a good variant overall.
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Re: Increased Interaction & Decisions Variant. v.01 (3 play-tested tweaks)
nbread wrote:
Another potential modification to #1: What if the dungeon lord could re-roll only once per delve rather than once per level? Yes, this would nerf the dungeon lord, but I think it would add another layer of decision-making to the dungeon lord. In other words, the DL would have to decide: when is the right time to re-roll?

Or if you'd want to make it a little stronger: Once per delve, the Dungeon Lord can re-roll up to x (where x = 3, 'half of all', etc.) dungeon dice immediately after rolling the dungeon dice for the first time in a new level.

A very neat idea, and close to something I considered early on but I still would favor the one roll per level because:

- Even with the "roll x" option, getting to re-roll a single die 4-7 times per Delve on average has a much stronger impact on the difficulty, and weakening the Dungeon Lord this way would then then require additional tweaks to the Scrolls and Potions since they would then be far too overpowered.

- This actually doesn't add more decisions per Delve, just a different (albeit slightly tougher) one at the cost of multiple actions.

With this suggestion every level the DL asks "Do I use my single re-roll now"? and only once when the answer is yes "which dice do I roll"?
Currently since the wording of the rule is "may re-roll", the DL asks "Do I want to re-roll any of these" (especially in the first 3 levels the answer is often "no") and each time the answer is yes "which die do I want to re-roll"?

Even with the original variant I feel the one roll per level is just barely enough action to keep the Dungeon Lord player genuinely engaged so I wouldn't want to deprive them of those extra actions per delve. Especially since each provides that tiny expectant moment waiting to see what the result of the re-roll is.
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-=::) Dante (::=-
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Re: Increased Interaction & Decisions Variant. v.01 (3 play-tested tweaks)
cornixt wrote:
If you are going to be stuck with your starting party without any chance of changing the die to more useful/varied faces, then I'd want a free reroll of any of the party dice before going into the first dungeon.

Fair point Corn Ixt. Though I believe you're underestimating how powerful the free potion quaffing is even without die transformation. For example even a single Champion will now often be revived multiple times in a single Delve.

It's pretty rare to not get a single scroll in the party and we still have treasure scrolls which allow for party re-rolls later on. Also with three complete party rolls each sitting such bad luck tends to get evened out over the course of the game.

Even with zero scrolls in the initial party play test scoring stayed well within the average range so this didn't seem to hurt the Adventurers any more than occasional unfortunate luck can with the official rules.

That said, I'll certainly pay extra attention to when this comes up in future games and see if there's more to this concern than I've noticed yet. I also encourage those who are using this variant to share their experiences too.

If I was to make a free party re-roll adjustment it would a more limited one after doing some tracking to see how it impacted final score averages. Something along the lines of:


If you roll no Scrolls AND no Champions in your first Delve party roll you may re-roll all your party dice again.


Of course if you're not as concerned with maintaining average score parity then using a party roll mulligan rule could arguably be a fun addition regardless of whether you're using the variant presented here or the official rules.




Update: Wanting to put my dice where my mouth is, I just played through two games re-rolling my party until I had no Scrolls AND no Champions in my starting line-up.

Purposely avoided characters that have party changing abilities.

Even worse, doing the first Delve without Scrolls and Champions was especially crippling since it's much more likely that I'd face the second Delve without the advantage of leveling up before hand.


Game 1: 15 re-rolls needed to get a Scroll and Champion free Party

Character: Occultist

Notes: Lady luck clearly doesn't care for the Occult and deprived the party of a scroll on it's second delve as well. As a result the party didn't pass level 4 on their first two Delves, meaning the Occultist never even leveled up this game. (edit: even though she should have for the 3rd having already accrued 8 xp)

Final Score: 18 Points (despite running through all 3 Delves on the Novice side)

---

Game 2: 7 re-rolls needed to get a Scroll and Champion free Party

Character: Minstrel

Notes: Even with no Scroll or Champion the Songsmith led party made it to level 6 on the first Delve allowing him to level up for the second descent.

Final Score: 30 Points


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Kevin B. Smith
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Re: Increased Interaction & Decisions Variant. v.01 (3 play-tested tweaks)
NuMystic wrote:
Notes: Lady luck clearly doesn't care for the Occult and deprived the party of a scroll on it's second delve as well. As a result the party didn't pass level 4 on their first two Delves, meaning the Occultist never even leveled up this game.
That makes it sound like if you got to level 3 on the first delve and level 2 on the second, you wouldn't level up. I haven't played the game yet (or even re-read the rules recently), but at 5 cumulative XP (as in that case), you level up, right?
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Re: Increased Interaction & Decisions Variant. v.01 (3 play-tested tweaks)
peakhope wrote:
NuMystic wrote:
Notes: Lady luck clearly doesn't care for the Occult and deprived the party of a scroll on it's second delve as well. As a result the party didn't pass level 4 on their first two Delves, meaning the Occultist never even leveled up this game.
That makes it sound like if you got to level 3 on the first delve and level 2 on the second, you wouldn't level up. I haven't played the game yet (or even re-read the rules recently), but at 5 cumulative XP (as in that case), you level up, right?

You're absolutely right Kevin.

The Occultist should have leveled before the third Delve, and even without doing so the novice level Occultist managed to score 18 points. sauron

In the end it probably wouldn't have affected the outcome as I opted to use her ultimate ability unusually early in the 3rd Delve due to a particularly nasty Dungeon spread.
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Brad Olson
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Re: Increased Interaction & Decisions Variant. v.01 (3 play-tested tweaks)
Played a two-player game tonight with my daughter using these variants. She played the knight and I played the bard. She won 24 (knight) to my 21 (bard). She used the dungeon lord re-roll to hit me with triple monster types two levels in a row on the final delve! (Who taught her to play so ruthlessly?)

We like these variants enough to make them a permanent part of our house rules. We're considering a limit on the number of times the dungeon lord can re-roll per delve (suggested above). We're thinking a limit of three or four.

Again, thanks for sharing the variant!
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Gene Moore
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Re: Increased Interaction & Decisions Variant. v.01 (3 play-tested tweaks)
We gave it a try tonight. My son played as the Scout, so we had to make a decision on how the dungeon lord's re-rolls would work. We decided that he would arrange levels 1, 2, and 3 as normal, and then in each level I would be able to re-roll a die as I saw fit.

Overall, it worked out pretty well. We were rolling a variety of companions, though, so the issue of not getting any scrolls or champions never came up.
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Re: Active Dungeon Lord, Buffed Scrolls & Thematic Potions Variant (3 Play Tested Tweaks to Increase Player Interacton and No. of Decisions per Game)
Thanks for sharing your results Brad. I'm now keeping a running tally of the scores submitted for each character.

Just added to the first post to also note whether you're playing with 7 or 9 Dungeon Dice. I know some KS backers are using them all and this of course lowers overall scores across the board.

lwdgames wrote:
We gave it a try tonight. My son played as the Scout, so we had to make a decision on how the dungeon lord's re-rolls would work. We decided that he would arrange levels 1, 2, and 3 as normal, and then in each level I would be able to re-roll a die as I saw fit.

Overall, it worked out pretty well. We were rolling a variety of companions, though, so the issue of not getting any scrolls or champions never came up.

Thanks for the session report Gene! Haven't played with the Scout yet, and that seems like an excellent way of handling it.

Do you recall what your son's final score was?

I think I'll try running the Scout another way as well and then compare how the two score on average:


~
When facing a Scout, the Dungeon Lord re-rolls 3 of the six dice after the initial dungeon roll. The Scout then uses his ability to arrange the dice as usual.
~


Seems thematically appropriate for the Scout to gain advantage by knowing with certainty what they're facing.

That said, your approach has the benefit of the Dungeon Lord not being a mostly passive spectator for the 2nd/3rd levels. Thematics aside preventing this was the inspiration for the variant after all.

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Re: Active Dungeon Lord, Buffed Scrolls & Thematic Potions Variant (3 Play Tested Tweaks to Increase Player Interacton and No. of Decisions per Game)
I played this variant solo, and just tweaked the Dungeon Lord re-roll to if I rolled a treasure chest or potion. Also I used 7 dice.

34 with the Knight/ Dragon Slayer.

Achieved:
Dragon Slayer
Dragon Master
Never Tell me the Odds!
Dungeon Master

I got lucky with drawing lots of Dragon Bait.
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Darryl with one "R"
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Re: Active Dungeon Lord, Buffed Scrolls & Thematic Potions Variant (3 Play Tested Tweaks to Increase Player Interacton and No. of Decisions per Game)
Doesn't rule #3 it very difficult for the Viking when he has to face teh dragon? If the Viking can only revive Champions from the graveyard (since that's all he starts with), the only way he can defeat the dragon is if he draws treasure that fills in for the fighter, mage, or cleric.
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Re: Active Dungeon Lord, Buffed Scrolls & Thematic Potions Variant (3 Play Tested Tweaks to Increase Player Interacton and No. of Decisions per Game)
nbread wrote:
Doesn't rule #3 it very difficult for the Viking when he has to face teh dragon? If the Viking can only revive Champions from the graveyard (since that's all he starts with), the only way he can defeat the dragon is if he draws treasure that fills in for the fighter, mage, or cleric.

Good question Zaphod.

The answer of course is 42, but I'll elaborate anyway.

That limitation is mostly balanced by the Viking's ultimate ability of discarding all dragons in the lair once per delve.

The rest comes from playing to the character's strengths and limitations. For example choosing to open single chests becomes more attractive knowing how important treasure is to his success combined with the fact that you get dice back more often with the easier potion quaffing.

Not only can the Sceptre, Talisman, Sword, and Tools stand in for party members, with this character the Ring of Invisibility, Dragon Bait, and Town Portal also become especially useful.

Just did two roll throughs using the Viking and these were the results:

---

Game 1:

Character: Viking

Delve 1: Had to flee.

Delve 2: Level 5

Delve 3: The now leveled Viking made it all the way to level 10!

Final Score: 25 Points

---

Game 2:

Character: Viking

Delve 1: Level 3

Delve 2: Level 9

Delve 3: Despite being leveled up, rough rolls and being treasure poor after using many of them on Delve 2 led to having to quit at only Level 4

Final Score: 19 - Still surprisingly respectable considering the horrible 3rd Delve.

---

So while a bit swingy from level to level, thus far the Viking seems well within average scoring range.

Will definitely play a bunch more to make sure that holds up over time, and as always invite others to post final scores to add to expand the sample set.




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Re: Active Dungeon Lord, Buffed Scrolls & Thematic Potions Variant (3 Play Tested Tweaks to Increase Player Interacton and No. of Decisions per Game)
I will definitely try this variant out and report some data. I really like the choices you made.

Considering this variant, I would still recommend breaking out another set of dice with four players and playing two simultaneous games.

I also found the Viking to be an interesting Hero to play, with remarkably similar results to the games you played. Not one of my favourite heroes rules wise, but probably one of my favourite representations.
 
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