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Subject: SoloPlay variant for Dungeon Lords is now available rss

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This thread describes/discusses the design and development of the Dungeon Lords SoloPlay variant.

The download is available using the following link(s):
Dungeon Lords SoloPlay Rules

This file is #31 in the SoloPlay series.
More game files available here on the Geek can be accessed from the following Geeklist:
SoloPlay Variants Posted on the Geek

SoloPlay- BGG user GameRulesforOne
Design Goals: Improve game value by providing a challenging solo variant that plays like the original.

Dungeon Lords has been out for quite awhile now and initially I was not that impressed. It seemed to be overcomplicated for a worker placement game. My 1st play of the game was plagued with poor explanation and very slow play. Combined these make for a very bad experience. It took a Tanga special for me to pull the trigger on the game. A few fellow soloists had asked that I design a solo variant for it and after I received my copy last November, I started on the journey to put it together.

My kids enjoyed this game quite a bit and while initially it was quite challenging it has since become a much easier game to play and now is a more casual gaming experience. We never delved into the expansion included in the box but I was OK with the way it played. Knowing Agricola as well as I do helped in grasping the mechanics of the play and the blocking that is a key factor in this game.

SoloPlay Dungeon Lords Design Comments:

The obstacles:
Worker placement
Reduce the “randomness” in the action selection
Increased the challenge
Varying the play

Worker placement:
I started here and while I attempted to use only a single color for the action selection, it just did not work. To devise a system of “blocks” to force/direct your play was not improving the player’s ability to plan and created additional randomness. This was taking me away from my focus of reduction. I then played through just the action selection routines and initially played it straight (just like the normal rules). This was just very dull and still quite random since my opponents had no objective (I didn’t want to play all of the colors).

It was here that I decided to break up the action selection so that you could adjust to how the cards were coming out and deduce which actions might produce the best result. Once again playing it straight was dull and relatively easy to control. This is where I had to adjust the way the opponents played based on the order sequence. It took quite a bit of tinkering to end up with what seems (now) like a pretty obvious solution. The sequencing helps to challenge the soloist into considering each order played one by one. While there are still “easy” choices due to turn order, often I find myself reviewing the cards that have been played to attempt to figure out my odds of getting what I wanted. This whole process took about a week to figure out and simplify.

I had to get this to work right and “realistically”. This is much like the provost in my Caylus variant. To play Dungeon Lords without an evilometer (or an evilometer figure head) would detract from the experience. Your position amongst the group had to have purpose and meaning like it does normally.

My solution came through a number of plays as I noted the frequencies of the order areas filling up. As the stats were coming in, I noted how I can use the order areas to control the movement of the opposing players on the evilometer. I wanted to keep this simple and used the central board “cues” as a part of the process to make it easier to relate to as you play. It was interesting to see the final results and how each game is different. Sometimes there is a rush for evil and other times everyone plays nice. Additionally I noted how I can “manipulate” the evilometer coupled with turn order to get the adventurer that I want. As I said before, it was really important that this work properly to keep the same game feel.

Increasing the Challenge & Varying the Play
As I noted in my preface, the game initially seemed to be really difficult and random but this passed in about a week as I started to learn how to manipulate the gaming elements and anticipate the needs of the other players. The game was now much more casual and this caused it to lose a little bit of luster in my eyes.

When designing a solo variant I look to increase the challenge and in this case as in other variants I look to see what else is in the box that I can uses to make this happen. It was very nice for the designer to include an expansion in the box.

I noted that when playing multi-player everyone designed almost the same dungeon “every time”. This had to change. I did not understand why Agricola took the same initial approach. I wanted to address this. After reading the official expansion rules, I knew that had something to work with. Given that there are 20 spaces in the dungeon and 20 tiles in the expansion it seemed to be a natural fit. I laid them out a few times and then decided to solve both the challenge and dungeon building issues in one swipe by laying these tiles in the dungeon area. As you expand, you will make your game more challenging and vary your tunnel expansions by having you work around the “rocks” (X tiles).

Once I played through it a few times, I knew that this was going to be a very important component of the design and bring it all together. To further compact the design I tied the game setup in with the dungeon setup. This was just an attempt to streamline the game design. I enjoy seeing how the setup comes together to see what I am going to be up against.

Now it came down to playtesting. This generally consists of 80-90% of the game design time as I work through each aspect of the play and look to increase the player’s control of the outcome. There was a number of tinkering that went on as my blog below indicates so I will not re-hash it here.

SoloPlay Expansion – special options tiles
While playtesting the game and looking for more control, I happened upon an expansion idea that would not be hidden from the player. This came together quite quickly. The functions of these tiles added addition strategic content that gives the soloist something to think about and plan for. I noted that as I learned how to take advantage of each expansion tile how I could tailor my order placements to fit with how the option tiles came out. The ability to combo actions was very intriguing and added to the variants replayability.

This added about a week to 10 days to the variant design but was something that I thought was important to those who enjoy solo gaming. I also like to add-value to the variants if I can. I hope that you find them enjoyable to play with and how it changes the gaming experience.

This project was an above average challenge to complete and turned into a very touchy design where slight changes had large affects on the game and the results. I had to make very small changes all along the way to balance and re-balance many aspects of the variant.

Goal of the rule design
1. Increase the gaming challenge.
2. Introduce variety in the game play.
3. Maintain the same gameplay experience.
4. Reduce the random elements and give the soloist more control of the game play.

Comments are always welcome.

1. Due to the end game scoring opportunities with the expansion tiles it is important to determine how best to construct your dungeon and to attract particular adventurers to fit with those collected.
2. To a lesser but important degree controlling the central board supply is crucial to success. You have the ability to make minor changes to the game setup to alter the game supply of the elements. This is also affected by gaining rooms which can circumvent the initial supply.
3. The paladins can have a major affect on the game but the 2 different scoring goals help to balance the game goals and reduce the variance in the final scoring.
4. Too much focus on just eradicating the adventurers may prove to be ineffective when it comes to final scoring unless the right sets of tiles are collected along with an increased emphasis on the title goals.
5. Note the difference in the opposing colors’ minion placement depending on if it is the 1st/2nd/3rd order played. It is important to understand the changes. This information has been prominently displayed on the player aid.

Final Thoughts

Setup time: about 15 minutes
Play time: about 60 minutes

Note how the paladin is handled during the combat phase. This was one of the last sections that I struggled with in getting the rules down right on paper. This component was tested at length and proved to be the best method to mimic normal play. I hope that it reads as I intended it to.

If you have questions about the rules, you can be post them here or to this user’s mailbox to be answered individually, if needed. I will add a FAQ to this post as I see the need.

Other games that will be/are available from SoloPlay/GameRulesforOne are posted within a Geeklist that I created: SoloPlay Variants Posted on the Geek

All new variants and information about upcoming projects will be listed there.

A game that sits in a closet is a waste. Get it out and play it any way you can. These are just my ideas.

What follows is my design blog from my updates in the SoloPlay geek list:

Update 12/6/10: Dungeon Lords I almost forgot, I played through a game of Dungeon Lords solo to start getting a feeling for where the solo strategies may come from, variability and just how it "feels" playing it. I was beaten pretty good and came up with a couple of ways to get it all started.

The concerns are many here given the mechanics. I want reasons that you would choose each different action and a scoring system that rates your strategic performance and not some arbitrary process. The titles scoring may pose some challenges because your results should be compared to what? It is still very early in the process.

Update 1/15/11: Dungeon Lords I am working through my ideas on Dungeon Lords and also playing some of my older designs, Power Grid in particular.

Update 1/20/11: Dungeon Lords I think I have the base game set for testing. This is one of those "why didn't I think about doing it that way the 1st time." It is definitely challenging which is always a good sign and I need to figure out how to better optimize my actions. I find myself playing it a bit more deliberate than I do in multi-player play. The game works hard to get in your way and the way that the positions fill makes playing the right sequence important. This was lacking the 1st time around. This is still in its baby stages and I have jotted down the setup and how to sequence the turns.

Update 1/24/11: Dungeon LordsI won't be able to get back to Dungeon Lords to continue/start serious playtesting until next week. My apologies to those who are anxious for me to finish that one. Not sure on how long it will take to get it done but I have another business trip coming up at the end of February and hope to be done by then.

Dungeon Lords Playtesting has begun.

Update 2/9/11: Dungeon Lords Playtesting is continuing. Things that I have accomplished so far:
1.The setup is variable with some planning to be made (I wish the normal rules had something for this)
2.Higher level of challenge - (I think that it needs more eventhough I am just barely holding my own)
3.Preliminary titles goals which is variable and based on the board setup. I am going to need an aid for this one to keep track of where I am.
4.Turn order/planning mechanic with variable opponent placement. You are able to deduce a bit what each player has left and can take a chance on getting a better position.
5.Evilometer: all opponents move up and down based on the actions each takes in a given turn.
6.Additional end game scoring based on how you planned the expansion of your dungeon and the sets you collected.

Update 2/10/11: Dungeon Lords Couple games played, totally drubbed in the 1st and then I clobbered (28VPs) the game in the 2nd by taking on the 2nd Paladin and then driving for a number of titles. The 2nd game concerned me a bit and so I am going to look into validating the game mechanics to ensure that they are not highly variable. Having the "goals" for the titles made scoring much easier to perform. This will probably stay in the finished product.

Update 2/11/11: Dungeon Lords Couple more games played with a "standardized" setup (less random) and I scored 6 and 12. In the 1st I picked up the 1st paladin which is generally not a wise thing to do and in the 2nd game my "opponent" picked up both paladins and I could not get either one from him (I was just too nice) which caused me a 10 point penalty. I kept being 2nd when choosing monsters and rooms. I was getting blocked quite a bit.

Mechanic update:
#1.I am playing around with a resource limitation mechanic which is intended to make some of the rooms more valuable and cause the player to decide how much of what do you want in play.
#2.The turn order system seems to be working. I wanted the role selection to be a little less random and a bit more deductive but I may provide the soloist 2 methods to this process.
#3.I think I have finalized the title scoring which has a score/share/penalize structure. My 1st run at this was a bit harsh so I have layed it back a bit.
#4.A game variability process is being worked out (beyond the setup) to really force the player to deal with the rooms/monsters that are out there than just waiting for X to show up. It has been forcing me to think about how to work with some of the lesser monsters in particular.

Lots more playtesting to go.

Update 2/12/11: Dungeon Lords Only 1 game last night scoring 13. I couldn't get a good share of the titles and then I was blocked 2 or 3 times (taking chances again). Getting blocked on the room on the last turn was just hilarious to me. I was running short of gold and hoped to get something for nothing. I had a good 1st year losing only 1 tile but then lost 3 in the 2nd year with 1 adventurer running off (no paladin).

Mechanic update:
#1.I adjusted the title goals a bit to make it a bit more balanced and added the 3 levels of challenge based on the setup.
#2.I am playing around with the dungeon building "goal" to give the "unique" expansion of your dungeon some scoring potential. I have revamped it and need to check the balance.
#3.I want to try and simplify the mechanics but I don't think that I can shake out all of the fiddliness that goes on in this game. The only real maintenance is related to the monsters and the rooms with the exception of shuffling the cards for the game 3 times each for the 3 colors. So I have built a simply hierarchy for the monsters and the rooms to increase the challenge and decision making. Due to the way that the game occupies the action positions your decisions on placement change. I am currently intrigued with figuring out which action to take 1st based on the actions the game opponents have already taken.

Update 2/14/11: Dungeon Lords No plays but I started putting the "official" rules down on paper. I have completed the 1st pass at the setup (there are a lot of steps), how to build your dungeon (each game will be slightly different) and choosing your orders including the way that the game will execute its "actions". Only a little over 2 pages at this point.

FYI - You may want to go ahead and download the rules for the expansion that is in the box so that you will have some reference for the "extra" pieces included in the box (CGE website).

Lots more to do and many more plays ahead.

Update 2/15/11: Dungeon Lords 2 plays last night. The 1st was another typical drubbing as I just couldn't get out of the blocks in the 1st year and I had to use all of my traps just to come out OK. The 2nd year was rough all the way around. The 2nd game was the one that taught me quite a bit and produced the "alternate" method to victory that I was hoping to find.

The initial setup was a bit rough as the right side of my dungeon was going to be hard to exploit given the "rocks" in the way. I knew that this was going to make it difficult to hold rooms. Since it was the right side the title for rooms was going to be easier to get which made it kind of an offset. The selection of rooms that I was able to get was a bit weak although it was the 1st time that I was able to get the trap room and then I got the "happy" room as a consolation prize. Having that room helped with the "imp" event since I was able to get all of them to work. I still struggled in the 1st year but was able to pick up 2 "warrior" chits (expansion). I didn't know it yet but this was a key event. I lost 3 tunnels and 1 adventurer ran away in the 1st year. In the 2nd year I knew that I needed to expand my dungeon to make some room for rooms (which I ended up getting shut out on, again) but it allowed me to pick up the remaining chits that if I was able to get the right adventurers could offset the tunnels that I lost. Now I had to work the evilometer to get the right adventurers. The wizard came 1st, then the priest and finally the thief. What made this difficult was that I wanted to get another monster in the last season but needed to be the nicest to get the thief. It was a struggle but I was able to defeat all of the adventurers and collect my booty. Did I mention the game picked up a paladin so I had to overcome a -5 score hit? In the end I came out with 21 points due to the collection of the expansion chits. Had I not collected those and set up the right adventurers it would have been another tough game. This was very satisfying and gave the game a new dynamic. Initially this seemed kind of random but once I started to work the evilometer it started to make sense.

Mechanic update:
1. Adjusted the end game bonus (an ever so slight tweak)
2. 1st try at the end game scoring goals (10-easy/15-game/20-major/25-master). I haven't plateau'd my scoring yet so this may change.
3. Made a couple of adaptations for the event cards (to affect the game).
4. Adjusted the supply bonus ever so slightly and gave the player an alternative to be able to control the supply during the setup. I am not sure if that is going to hold up. More testing is needed for that.

Update 2/17/11: Dungeon Lords More games played and one heartbreaking loss and a near complete pounding. I tried to work up the "combo" that I had got a major victory with but I was just getting pounded too hard. and in the last game I did not gain a single exclusive title. It is a challenge to balance the supplies and to accomplish your goals. This also hurt in the 1st game. I have not worked with adjusting the supplies at the start but need to get this figured out. You will sacrifice a little at the start to setup the end game.

I was timing the setup and it is quite long 10+ minutes. I don't see any way around this right now. I have looked at each component and to provide variety, challenge and reduction in luck the adjustments in the setup are necessary.

Mechanic update:
1. I want more variety and flexibility in the title goals and so will be looking at this in the setup process. I am trying to intertwine the board setup with the title goals.
2. The minor adjustment to the end game scoring seems to be working right.

Update 2/18/11: Dungeon Lords More games played with another in progress as I type this. I was able to almost pull out the 1st master level victory coming up a single point short. In one of the follow up games I scored 18 with a bunch of "if onlys". I thought that my scores were starting to plateau and then I was completely crushed (blocked at every turn and gave away the 2nd paladin as the game players had a sudden attack of evilness. This has proven to be a bad experience before. It is interesting how some games the opponents just hang out around the starting line and then others when there becomes a bull-rush to the paladin and I am trying to beat them back with a stick. I was taking a real chance in the last round of the last game where it was a 50-50 gamble and I lost. I did not have the extra gold for the Golem which I really needed. Final score: 1. Pathetic

I have been working on "reading" the setup to see where I can trim the "materials" available to gain a better end game bonus without wasting actions. It worked, worked and then failed. So there is more to learn here.

Mechanic Update:
1. Since the event cards will be in use, the game will react to some of them or you will be able to perform some kind of "balancing" action (earthquake for instance).
2. The game ratings will be adjusted based on if you gain a paladin lead on the game but as of right now the reverse will not be true.

More play-testing to come. The game variant is firming up nicely. Still no firm release date, 2-3 weeks (possibly longer) depending on life/traveling factors. I want to have at least 30 plays of the finalized rules to ensure that I have not missed anything. Each play takes about 60 minutes with an additional 10-15 minutes to reset.

Update 2/21/11: Dungeon Lords I was able to rebound a bit with the noted "next play" scoring 18 with a little creative resource management and a fortunate/unfortunate block of actions that allowed me to improve my score a bit(*noted cryptically below). Getting the set complete in the last turn was crucial to gain the game victory. There was a split on paladins as I had to get evil quick to prevent the game from taking both and a definite defeat.

I have to get busy on getting the rules down in full on paper as I struggle through the schlock of deciphering my notes that I jot down all of the time as I play to remind me of opportunities to insert in a little "character" into the play. The other night I hit upon something that may be quite good in the grand scheme of things. Once I get the rules down I will employ this added (expansion) and see how this helps to reduce the luck and permit more strategic planning. This will be optional to the soloist.

Mechanics Update:
1. I have added the rules for the game's actions to certain event tiles which helps to level the playfield a bit more.
2. Expansion idea created to vary the event phase of the game.
3. Added a way to compensate for some bad luck (there is that word again) by providing an interesting new way to help your score.
4. I am tinkering with the sequencing of positions taken for the game opponent when the 2nd order is turned. I am trying to balance the monster and room areas.

Update 2/22/11: Dungeon Lords Good night last night as I completed a laundry list of to-dos and got a much anticipated play in of my new solo "expansion" to the game.

First off I finished the 1st pass of the rules which are sitting at about 5 pages likely to become a full 6. This is not bad considering over a page is setup. I have read through it and made my first editing pass which is always pretty intense but normal. I spent quite a bit of time on describing the setup and it does seem to flow nicely.

Secondly, I put together the player aid which is needed to determine the title awards which makes it much easier to see over my hand drawn version with scribbles all over it.

Lastly, I put together my event expansion which I could not wait to try out. It added some extra variety and made for some tough decisions. These are tiles that are slightly larger than the event chits and are kept face up so that you can see what options you will have when the time comes. Very interesting. I look forward to the next play. My game last night was a complete victory scoring 30 points (right on the line) with a paladin advantage (1-0). It came down to the expansion giving me an option to gain that extra point that I needed to combo into the victory saving a room with the much needed poisoned meal trap. Very cool end to the game. More to come.

Update 2/23/11: Dungeon Lords I am getting 2 games(beatings) a day in which to work things out. Last night was particularly horrible. In the first I should have capitalized on one of the expansion tiles to get the needed gold to gain the monsters that I had to have and just couldn't get there in the 1st game and the 2nd was my 1st negative game where I could not get production going for some reason and then lost the room by getting 2 wizards and little monster strength (given the spells) to overcome them.

Mechanic Updates:
1. I have altered one of the expansion tiles.
2. Changed the title goals ever so slightly.
3. Come up with 3 more expansion tiles to put in the mix to increase the replayability of the variant. More stuff to think about is good.

Update 2/24/11: Dungeon Lords Have I gone too far or do I really stink at playing this game? I do have a tendency to overthink some things but eventually find my way through. I have now lost 3 games in a row scoring 6 this time. I really struggled for gold this game and this set the stage for failure. There was also an untimely monster block because I wanted to save the gold cost and then missed out completely. The game picked up the 1st year paladin and so I needed to get the 2nd year one to offset it and just imploded because I really did not have the right mix of useful items. I did on the flipside get 4 titles which is really good for this variant.

No mechanic changes but I have now added 4 more expansion tiles which again bring in some interesting decisions if you are managing you supplies well. There are now 10 SoloPlay: Special Event tiles. You just mix em up and choose 6 to play with during your game, that is if you want to play with them.

Update 2/25/11: Dungeon Lords Last night I completed the 2nd rewrite of the rules which has a much improved look and flow with a key diagram which helps to understand the end game scoring a bit better. I also performed 2 detail scrubs of the same rules which did not net too many structural changes just little stuff. By making the rules more presentable they have bloated to just under 7 pages, more than I previously thought it would be but clarity is more important than brevity.

No games played and only 1 minor rule change which was a bit harsh on the player given the possible chance being taken. I have also tagged each tile in the SoloPlay expansion for single player or multi and noted the 4 which should be placed at the end of the fall season to be viable. This was meant to improve the options to the player and make it less random. In the strategy session I noted how the tiles would be used in a multi-player format.

There are 4 skill levels included: easy, normal, challenging and insane. So you can choose what kind of whooping you will get.

The rules reviews are what take the most time near the end to make sure I am as clear as I can be and to be this far along is a good sign that the end is near. I have a trip to California next week and I don't see how the playtesting will be completed by then.

Update 2/26/11: Dungeon Lords Honeymoon is over. 2 games played and 2 master level victories (in the 2nd with a paladin no less).

The 1st game I gained the victory on the number (30 points). This was accomplished by agressively gaining monsters disregarding to a large degree the cost factor as I was able to get gold and food early. I noted that tunnel digging was going to be weak and reduced the board quantity. I focused on getting the right expansion tiles in place and to "stack" one of them. While I was not able to finish a set I did gain 6 tiles for 7 points which is pretty solid. I was able to hold most of my rooms, clear the board of supplies (4 points-critical) and then take advantage of the SoloPlay expansion option to gain 3 points. It took a number of lost tiles to get it done and eventhough I did not get all of the adventurers I was able to make up for it in a different way (alternate path to victory).

In the 2nd game I was even more aggressive getting all of the adventurers and the 2nd year paladin. In the 2nd year knowing the 1st magic event was important so I had to sit back and lose a tunnel in exchange for fatigue. Now I was playing blind (no magic in the party but I did not know the fatigue) but needed to get the paladin in 1 shot so that I could use the poisoned food trap in the next round (there was a 3 healer in the back). I was able to get the paladin. For round 3 I needed to use the poisoned food but still had a healer applying reductions(CGE expansion) in addition to a 3 trap guy to the traps but it was just strong enough so that I could knock out the warrior and apply fatigue to the trap guy. I was down to the last round and needed to knock them both out and I could do it by comboing the "2 damage that they cannot prevent" on the healer which allowed me to take out the trap guy and while the 3 healer tried to recover. The 2 hits from the trap plus the 3 fatigue took him out and took my score to 38 (3 above master level with a paladin). It was pretty intense and I almost did not see the combo coming. Initially I had considered giving up the paladin to the opponents but then the title envy took care of that as I shot up rapidly in the last event.

A couple of things came up in these games that need to be clarified so after these were completed I started writing down the changes. Do I have the "normal" level mastered? More plays will tell. I still have challenging and insane to go.

Update 2/27/11: Dungeon Lords It didn't last. I tried to do the same things and while it appeared initially that it was going to work, I was too focused on the little things and not enough on the major aspects of expansion point scoring. With the expansion tiles it is not so easy to just beat the adventurers in 2 rounds as it has seemed to turn into with the regular game. You have to plan (yes, you do have more control in this variant) and determine how agressive that you need to be. My last 2 games were wins but not even close to dominations (2 normal victories). In the last I was able to wrangle the paladin away from my opponents so that I did not take the 5 point hit which would have cost me my victory. To make this happen I had to stall a bit because I did not have the strength to beat the paladin. Another different ending to the game. There is an interesting combo that you can (I did) pull off with the SoloPlay expansion where you can get 2 monsters in a turn for little cost but you have to set it up and it has to make sense given the adventurers that you are attracting. It saved my bacon the game before last. With the SP expansion you are able to see what options you will have when the year begins so you do have time to setup things.

I am in the final stages of wrapping this up. Last night I spent playing and jotting down any oddball scenarios that would come up so that I could have an answer for you in the rules. There weren't too many. I am also polishing up the rules continuing to improve clarity. The last 2 games I played were meant to check game balance and it came out very well. 1 of the SP expansion tiles I am going to alter just a bit more for the solo player because the enticement to take it is just too highly situational.

I look forward to finishing this project and tackling the project of the year. This is another Vlaada game you may have heard about. I am going to give an upload date of 3/12/11 for Dungeon Lords. I think that I will have enough playtesting done by then.

Update 3/1/11: Dungeon Lords 4 more games down, scores of 4,4,42(yes) and 16. It was one of those "4" games that I was extremely annoyed by an event, actually not knowing that the particular event was coming up. If you follow the work that I do you know that I don't enjoy those type of surprises. It really torqued me and I needed to resolve this. So I made a rule change to the setup that you can view the blue card events and then shuffle them so from the start you know what might happen this year and next. You don't have complete knowledge but you won't be blindsided either. The earthquake event is particularly disruptive. With the change my blood pressure went down considerably and I kept in mind what might happen and planned for it. Only through extensive playtesting do I find these little nuggets.

The "42" game was a beautiful thing especially the way that the 2nd year played out. My opposition picked up the 1st year paladin, I mean that green "ran" to the line and snagged it. This put me down as I was getting all of the nice adventurers. I came out of the 1st year strong but with green 2 below the line I knew that I could not let them get both of the paladins. I slowly started inching my way up picking up a vampire and paying evil for food. Green did move up to grab the 2nd year paladin. In the summer season, my opponents grabbed monsters which was hopefully going to setup a good monster for me in the fall. The dragon turned and I had the material for it. It also gave me 2 evil where I was able to get the paladin from my opponent. One problem though, the first combat card had conquest (& fatigue) happens twice this round. I had to knock the paladin out with 1 punch. Luckily I have been experimenting with using the combat bonus of rooms to be able to use 2 monsters in the 1st combat round. Using the dragon (preventing healing) and the vampire + 4 fatigue and the paladin was gone. Now I had 3 strong adventurers to contend with and with the vampire I launched into the wizard (since the others were priests) and then combined fatigue and middlin monsters to get the rest of them by the 4th round. The key with all of this was the expansion tiles that I collected. It was a perfect blend to offset the lost tiles. Along with perfect supply management I hit 42 on the nose. Sweet game.

The next game was a struggle as I could not repeat the formula eventhough I had a couple of good rooms. It took some ingenuity just to get to 16 points and a game victory. The way that I had to build my dungeon definitely had an impact but in retrospect I should have adjusted for that and been a little more agressive expanding. It was still satisfying. Not "42" satisfying, though.

Update 3/2/11: Dungeon Lords In an effort to add another wrinkle to this variant, I have altered the resource management function. This is where you decide how much of everything that you are going to work with (and need to get rid of by game end). You were able to remove all items for a cost but I never really changed the amount of food and gold so I inverted the setup for these and set the amounts to the minimum for the level that you are playing and you can pay to add material. That got my attention. The decision when food/gold are spent is a little more stressful now. The 2 plays that I had with this alteration were more interesting to play and to setup. I still dislike the earthquake event and am going to up the "award" you get for losing stuff. Knowing the event cards is definitely a plus.

Update 3/3/11: Dungeon Lords Edit, edit, edit. I am on version 8 or so with the rules now. All just little things.

Update 3/4/11: Dungeon Lords More editing (3 good passes), no games played. I made a slight change to the player aid for the conquered tiles goals. I was not quite sure about making this one easier and held off for the longest time but I have only made this goal once or twice. Since in the setup it is more likely to go higher, I figured that the adjustment was needed.

I also added the end game scoring/goals to the player aid (most of it) which helps to move things along in the end. I am running out of space on the player aid so I need to stop adding to it. I also made a minor change to one of the SP option tiles. I will be traveling for the next 4 days so I hope to get in some plays middle of next week so that I can be absolutely sure that everything is where it needs to be for next week's upload.

Update 3/5/11: Dungeon Lords I went over the rules a couple of times and ... no changes. Not a word, a comma, nothing. It looks good. I got off work early today so why not run through a couple (few) plays. I received my best score on normal level (48), then 12 and finally 34 just missing the master level (2 paladins). In the last game the use of Change Combat Plans option tile to gain a witch right before the battle made the difference. I didn't get all of the adventurers but I was able to knock out the paladin in the 2nd battle round and then take out an adventurer in the next 2 rounds. I lost 4 tiles but picked up 2 different expansion tiles to help setup the next year. It was still a struggle but getting my share of titles including breaking even on the evilometer (key) helped to make it happen. In my "12" game 5 of my 6 adventurers were warriors. I beat them all easily and my dungeon was barely touched but easy does not equate to winning in this variant.

When I get back next week, I will get some more playtesting in and then it is all yours. Till then.

Update 3/11/11: Dungeon Lords Looks good but I did note a couple minor clarifications that I want to add. Just some wording and maybe a small note. The issue is related to the paladin when your opponent has him. I have been concerned about the wording in this section. Playtesting has been completed. Ready for a weekend upload.

File Update: The rules have been uploaded and awaiting admin approval. Enjoy.

Update 3/13/11: Dungeon Lords File approved and ready for download.
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Jack Smith
United Kingdom
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Thanks for this. I'll be giving it a try.
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United States
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Has anyone actually played this (somewhat daunting!) variant? What are your thoughts?
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