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Subject: First play, meh rss

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Tom Chappelear
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I finally convinced my brother-in-law, Sam, to come over for a couple of games last night. This one was quite a flop, which is a pity. I'd really looked forward to playing it, and Sam's comment at the end of the game was, "You have so many better games than this, I don't know why I'd ever want to play Dungeon Twister again."

I don't fully agree--I think DT fills a niche in my game collection, the abstract/movement dungeoncrawl--but I see his point. It just doesn't seem to be a game that's ever going to get much playtime.

We went over the rules and set up, fairly randomly. He was quickly able to rotate his goblin into position to get out, but I was able to get the thief out with the treasure. My goblin got cornered by his troll. Finally, he foolishly rotated a center room as the last move of his 5 AP turn, which allowed my wizard to move three times, crisp his cleric with the wand, and exit. Woot, I'm up 4-3. He dithered around a bit on defense, trying to keep my fighter from escaping, but I was able to wallwalk next to his trapped wizard and slug out a victory after five turns of combat.

I think the problem with this game for us is that it requires too much thought for the theme. We both found it frustrating not to be able to see the outcomes of our actions. It was fine when we were making 2-3 moves a turn, but by the time we were making 4 and 5 AP turns, the game seemed pretty random--it was hard to see enough of the future board position to strategize. (For example, he didn't notice my move-the-wizard-four-times-and-fireball turn that won me the game.)

I realize that if I played this a bunch with an opponent, I'd really like it. However, given my limited gaming time, I'd rather play other games with a less steep learning curve.
 
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David desJardins
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tomchaps wrote:
I think the problem with this game for us is that it requires too much thought for the theme.


I don't think the theme inherently suggests a deep or a shallow game. Rather, I would say that the game is just more complicated than you were expecting. If you look at the box, it's certainly not obvious that the game is going to be so complex.
 
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Justin
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after its heralding and frequent miscalling of it as a 'dungeon crawl', i was surprised by how little i liked it when i actually played the game. i would much rather play cave troll to scratch the kind of itch that twister is supposed to.
 
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David desJardins
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astroglide wrote:
after its heralding and frequent miscalling of it as a 'dungeon crawl', i was surprised by how little i liked it when i actually played the game. i would much rather play cave troll to scratch the kind of itch that twister is supposed to.


Who called this game a "dungeon crawl"? It's not anything like that, nor is it "supposed to" be. It's a tactical combat game which happens to be set in a dungeon.
 
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Norman S.
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You know, I was thinking of a higher luck variant if you don't feel like thinking so much, simply by rolling a D6 when you attack/defend, rather than doing the card thing. With the Arms Master, I guess just roll 2d6, keep the highest?

Haven't tried it, dunno if it works well.
 
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David desJardins
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Spiff wrote:
You know, I was thinking of a higher luck variant if you don't feel like thinking so much, simply by rolling a D6 when you attack/defend, rather than doing the card thing. With the Arms Master, I guess just roll 2d6, keep the highest?


I think I'd like the game more with some sort of random combat. I don't like the "outguess your opponent about what card to play" aspect of the game, although I like almost everything else about it.

Rolling 1d6 for each side might be too much variance, though. Maybe 1d4, or even a six-sided die with 1,2,2,3,3,4.
 
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howl hollow howl
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DaviddesJ wrote:

I think I'd like the game more with some sort of random combat.


I'm not a big fan of the combat card mechanism in any game (and, in DT, they make no sense in the context of the game setting) , but I don't think there are enough combat instances in Dungeon Twister for a die-roll system.

What might work better is a die-roll system where the cards serve as DRMs (dice roll modifiers).

Anyways, the combat resolution mechanism isn't a showstopper for me here.
 
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Tom Chappelear
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Yeah, I kinda called it a dungeoncrawl, which isn't really accurate--although my exact phrase was "abstract/movement dungeoncrawl," which is a little bit better. It certainly has a dungeoncrawly theme, but quite abstract gameplay.

I am tolerant of a wide range of luck in my games. I like Zertz, Tigris and Euphrates, PR as well as more luck-based games (War of the Ring, even Can't Stop...) I certainly don't think that the combat mechanism of Dungeon Twister is what made it bog down for us, but rather the difficulty of trying to guess what your opponent is going to do with their 5 APs while you plan your 5 APs...

How would this game play with, say, half the characters and items, and only six boards, and the 5 AP card removed? DT-lite?

I am sure this is a wonderful game with skilled, experienced players. I just don't think I'm going to have time--or the opponents--to get to that level. Also, my wife mocks the cover art...
 
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Jon W
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I really like the game, and the combat system, but the theme is a mild turn-off around here. Mostly because it, well, looks like a dungeon crawl.

 
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Stephen Sanders
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After several plays, it seems that the set-up is going to be a big key to success. You can either burn characters early or get them easily across the finish line depending on your opponents set-up. This makes it a little to dependent on out-guessing your opponent, which takes away from the strategy.
 
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Dan Dolan
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I like to play with random AP cards and random combat cards. Shuffle each deck and draw the top one when needed. This adds a lot of tension to the game. You never know what's gonna happen.
 
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Houserule Jay
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tomchaps wrote:

We went over the rules and set up, fairly randomly.

I think the problem with this game for us is that it requires too much thought for the theme. We both found it frustrating not to be able to see the outcomes of our actions. It was fine when we were making 2-3 moves a turn, but by the time we were making 4 and 5 AP turns, the game seemed pretty random--it was hard to see enough of the future board position to strategize.


The thing is you CAN see the outcomes of your actions and your opponents, but it makes the game very prone to AP as there are so many move possibilites. It all depends on how far you can think ahead, just like in chess. The most accurate description of the game is CHESS with a Dungeon theme which works very good for people that like chess and D&D themed games. The set-up does add a nice little random element to it which keeps it unpredictable. However, the game is NOT random by having 5 AP turns, that just makes it very deep and harder to see all the possibilites. I love the game for the thing you don't, being able to strategize several moves ahead, but it takes a bit of brain-burning to do this.

This is a very DEEP game in gameplay. The biggest problem with the game is not the game at all, it is people who have the wrong expectations and not researching the game before they buy it (sorry if this sounds harsh but its true, many many people have done it). Because of the theme people go in expecting something lighter when really it is a medium heavy game, no less than chess or GO or others of the type. This also makes it play somewhat abstract, even though it has a great theme.

The other problem can also be again, because of the theme, people are expecting some luck or randomness when it is clearly stated there will be almost NONE. Now, it can easily be added in several ways, my suggestion after first playing this was the same as someone put above, anyone who really wants some luck play the exact same way but roll one 4 sided die to add to the combat numbers making the combat more like a D&D game. This will do it nicely without totally spoiling the game.

I would agree with one of the posters above saying the game lacks the excitement of a good D&D type game and is really more tension based. Again I have to draw the comparison to chess here, although I do think the theme adds to this game nicely, it doesn't UP the excitement level a whole lot. I think the expansion will help in this regard as you won't even know which characters your opponent will use, especially if you implement "random character assignment."

In summary I think anyone really wanting a LIGHT Dungeon-crawl type game with luck or randomness, should be looking elsewhere as there is lots to choose from rathering than trying to make this game into something its not although it could probably be done. Anyone wanting a great strategy abstract type game with a D&D theme and variable player powers, DT is a great find. Jay
 
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Tom Chappelear
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jayjonbeach wrote:
tomchaps wrote:

We went over the rules and set up, fairly randomly.

I think the problem with this game for us is that it requires too much thought for the theme. We both found it frustrating not to be able to see the outcomes of our actions. It was fine when we were making 2-3 moves a turn, but by the time we were making 4 and 5 AP turns, the game seemed pretty random--it was hard to see enough of the future board position to strategize.


The thing is you CAN see the outcomes of your actions and your opponents, but it makes the game very prone to AP as there are so many move possibilites. It all depends on how far you can think ahead, just like in chess.

The most accurate description of the game is CHESS with a Dungeon theme which works very good for people that like chess and D&D themed games. The set-up does add a nice little random element to it which keeps it unpredictable. However, the game is NOT random by having 5 AP turns, that just makes it very deep and harder to see all the possibilites. I love the game for the thing you don't, being able to strategize several moves ahead, but it takes a bit of brain-burning to do this.

This is a very DEEP game in gameplay. The biggest problem with the game is not the game at all, it is people who have the wrong expectations and not researching the game before they buy it(sorry if this sounds harsh but its true, many many people have done it). Because of the theme people go in expecting something lighter when really it is a medium heavy game, no less than chess or GO or others of the type. This also makes it play somewhat abstract, even though it has a great theme.

The other problem can also be again, because of the theme, people are expecting some luck when it is clearly stated there will be almost NONE. Now, it can easily be added in several ways, my suggestion after first playing to anyone who really wants it was the same as someone put above, play the exact same way but roll one 4 sided die to add to the combat numbers making the combat more like a D&D game. This will do it nicely without totally spoiling the game.

Anyone really wanting a LIGHT Dungeon-crawl with luck however, should be looking elsewhere there is lots to choose from. Jay


I agree--there is no problem with the game. I never thought the game was random--just that the level of analysis needed made it seem random to us. I actually read quite a bit about DT before trading for it (I gave Betrayal at House on the Hill, which was way too fluffy and luck-based for my taste, by the way. Oh, and I picked up a copy of Citadels, too, in case anyone was worried I got ripped off...) Chess plus D&D describes my childhood perfectly, and I was hoping that the theme might convince people who wouldn't play Chess or Zertz with me unless forced at gunpoint--i.e., Sam--to get into this kind of thing. Perhaps Chess is a good analogy--imagine two people who have never played chess or read anything about it trying to hash their way through some games. The fun in playing kicks in when you can see past the next move and make longer term plans.
 
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Matthew Fisk
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For me it lent itself to too much analysis paralysis.

Like chess the good players are going to be he ones that can think several moves ahead. Match up a player that only can think 1 move ahead and there is simply NO contest.

I have played a couple of people that just weren't spacially oriented and the tile flipping just could not click in their minds which also gave me an advantage.

It is a broader chess IMHO. It has a wider board, that actually has sections that rotate. I would rather spend my time in another game then spending 5 minutes thinking, "Now if he rotates this tile... and them moves this guy here... and then grabs that rope and moves here... then...."
 
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Richard Glassco
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This discussion is very timely to me. I'm torn inside out by DT. I WANT to like it so much but I'm not sure I do.

My first game had me feeling bewildered as to what I should be doing. I lost as I deserved to because I missed several things I should have done. Nevertheless I knew I had to own the game. I put it at the top of my Christmas wish list and my loving wife got it for me.

It's not a family game, so the only two times I could play it over the holiday were 1-3 AM with my brother after everyone else went to bed. I was wretched both games, feeling outplayed, although I won the second game. My brother grasped the essentials of initial placement more quickly than I, and I felt I was always a step behind.

Is the theme integral to the game? Definitely! Is it a brain-burner? Definitely! It is the perfect incarnation of an abstract calculating game into a theme. But is it FUN? That's the rub. There's no role-playing. There's no friendly chatter during the game. It's two hours of excruciating brain burning. I guess you could say the same about Go or chess or any other intellectual non-luck abstract game. Although I do well at abstract games, I find themed games more ENJOYABLE, and that's the issue here. Is it worth spending the time playing this game rather than another game I would enjoy more? I have yet to decide.
 
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Matthew Fisk
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Justin, I made the mistake of having your post open when I had "Gonna Make you Sweat" by C&C Music factory on in the background. That guy dancing to that music made me lose my Dr. Pepper all over... Man it is gonna take me forever to clean this up...

sorry to Hijack

astroglide wrote:
after its heralding and frequent miscalling of it as a 'dungeon crawl', i was surprised by how little i liked it when i actually played the game. i would much rather play cave troll to scratch the kind of itch that twister is supposed to.
 
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Houserule Jay
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MrSkeletor wrote:
jayjonbeach wrote:

This is a very DEEP game in gameplay. The biggest problem with the game is not the game at all, it is people who have the wrong expectations and not researching the game before they buy it (sorry if this sounds harsh but its true, many many people have done it). Because of the theme people go in expecting something lighter when really it is a medium heavy game, no less than chess or GO or others of the type. This also makes it play somewhat abstract, even though it has a great theme.


I don't know if I agree with this - most people on here would have researched the game before they brought it. I know I did. I knew about the 'no luck' thing. I hesitate to call the theme 'pasted on' because really it isn't - the rules and theme compliment each other perfectly.


I suppose I should pipe back in here, its funny you were thinking of saying the theme is tacked on, so was I. In terms of this discussion, it might as well be even though it definitely is not. The theme works great for the game actually and using the characters abilities really makes it interesting but the theme really does mislead people as I mentioned above. People think it will play like an RPG when really it plays way more like an abstract, in fact there are almost too many possibilites which does make it prone to AP but it all depends how you play the game. This is where many get disappointed as abstracts and RPG's are worlds apart and its far more important to like abstracts in this case. I will also agree that some 'fun' will be missing for some people in the game due to all these points (and again I think the expansion will help here but not change it) but it is still quite enjoyable to those that like both these genres.

BTW, I didn't mean to say everyone who doesn't like it didn't do their research, it just seems to me that it has happened to the majority of the people who don't end up liking it.
 
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Don't Panic!
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I like this game, but find that opponents are limited for it (my gaming 12 year old really wasn't interested after one game, although he will play LotR Confrontation anywhere, which in some ways is fairly similar) - however something that does add a little fun to it is playing with a timer. That way both players can't go into AP mode, and it tends to add a little chat and a laugh when something that worked in your head fails on the board. Give it a go!
 
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Stephen Sanders
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Exactly, Frank. I offered this game to my son tonight, and he chose Stratego: LotR instead, which is much more luck-oriented, even though he beat me the last two games we played of Dungeon Twister. The fact that this is a real brain-burner is going to be decisive with regard to whether it is played or not. It is like deciding between a game of chess or something less strenuous.
 
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Jenny Nguyen
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I agree with Frank. After researching the game, I was under the impression that this might be one of the very few 'dungeon' themed games I might like (the theme is very worn out to be sure). Surely a game with no irritating luck element would be great? I mean how many times have you had your best guy die because someone with a weakling character rolled lucky? Instead I crack open the box and end up feeling very under fulfilled. In all honesty I did not know that the game would 'feel' that way. What battles felt like, to me, was blind bidding (and then you lose your card forever...). I despise card battles of that sort. This game has single handedly ensured that I will never again choose a luckless game. I was, for awhile, tempted to try the game with battles being resolved by dice...but what's the point of paying so much for a game and then changing the way it plays completely? Oh well. Hit and miss.
 
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james napoli
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Quote:
Is the theme integral to the game? Definitely! Is it a brain-burner? Definitely! It is the perfect incarnation of an abstract calculating game into a theme. But is it FUN? That's the rub.


This is one of the things i was trying to get across when i reviewed DT was that while the mechanics are very sound, and there is a dungeon theme(somewhat at least) I just didnt think the game was really that much fun. I too find the the combat system to be very lackluster and it's certainly anti climatic.

Since I'm obviously not the only one, i'm thinking we should perhaps come up with a dice variant for the combat. In very simple terms i was orginally thinking that you could use a simple d4 + the existing combat values of the characters...without having them in front of me though...i'm not sure sure how out of balanace that would be. I have to take a look at it when i'm home...as i too really want to like this game and feel it has promise.
 
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Aaron Dusso
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You all make a lot of very good and insightful points. As far as the "problem" of there being too many options for this game to be a strategy game, but more of an out guess your opponent type game, I think the following:

I think of real world strategy as occurring in situations where there are far too many options for one to really be acting based on chess like strategy. For example, most people would agree that there is a considerable amount of strategizing that goes on in war, such as Lee running the confederate army or the many, many people that tried to strategize during WWII. The facts of the matter are that in these real world situations there are too many potential options for one to really feel like they are in control of the situation or that they can see 4, 5, or 6 moves ahead. Lee is certainly not moving into Pennsylvania if he could see that far ahead. But what people do in these situations is strategize in the short term and stay alert and adaptable in the long run. This is what must happen in a game of DT, manage what you can in the short run and stay adaptable to new situations as they appear in the long run.

Whether of not you find this fun, is another matter. I do, but I can understand if someone else (my wife) does not.
 
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Mike Frantz
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I have yet to play the game, so I really should refrain from posting....but I won't.

When I read the rules and I got to the part that said you could move a character multiple times each turn I immediately thought to myself.."uh oh...decision tree just got HUGE." How fundamental is this to making the game work. Is there a way to limit the use of AP's? I'm not sure I'm all that interested in introducing randomness, but trimming the tree would help.

 
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Brian M
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I'm yet another person that found this game sort of interesting, but just not all that fun, which was kind of a pity as I wanted to like. I don't think the theme is tacked on - I think it compliments the mechanics very well, with the characters having nicely different special abilities that fit for the character type.

I agree with the analysis that some people feel the problem is that there are just too many options; it feels like you should have a lot of control over the outcome, but there are just too many possibilities to consider them all and still play the game in a reasonable time.

However, I don't feel that there is 'no luck' to this game; I think the luck factor is reasonable, and its in the blind components. Personally, that's not a luck factor I usually enjoy. You can try to outguess what card to play in a fight, but since you really don't know what your opponent will do, what it comes down is a blind action that just feels like you have control over it. The counters can be even more frustrating; let's see, my opponent has two counters over there. If I move to close to the troll, I'm dead, if the one I move next to is the wand, I win. No matter how its disguised, to my mind that comes down to luck.
 
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David desJardins
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generalpf wrote:
I found no fun it in whatsoever. What move to make was almost always obvious once the characters started mixing.


I think this certainly isn't true. There are a whole lot of possibilities and a lot of opportunity for skill. There are some "obvious" moves and replies, but they are a small part of the game. Would you call chess "obvious" because it's usually right to recapture a piece when the opponent takes one of yours?
 
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