Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Allure of the Dungeon Crawl

I think every boardgamer wants to be a dungeon hero at some point.  I know I was just fascinated with HeroQuest when I was younger.  I solo-played my copy over and over.

And yet I just don't remember all that many good sessions.  More recently I have owned and played Return of the Heroes.  It too was good, but just not great.

And do you know what killed my enjoyment in the end?  Combat Modifiers.  I hate the damn things.  I understand their thematic allure, but I think they are just boring as piss.

I don't care if the hill gets me +1 defense.  I don't care if the barbarian rolls 1 more die.  I just wanted to kill something dang it.  Instead I spend time calculating what the rules say I did.

I feel the same way about Memoir 44 and Conflict of Heroes.  Both were solid thematic and easy to enter wargames.  And both wanted me to remember different rules about trees and hills and roads.  Blah.  That is anti-fun.

Probably the only interesting dungeon crawling I've done recently is Catacombs.  There isn't a ton of story.  There is combat goodies, without friggin' modifiers!!!  The most there is are a couple occasional "Deals 2 damage if hits" conditions.  But that's all she wrote.

And yet it all works out fine.  In particular, the whole way arrows and ranged spells work is genius.  You get a small little arrow disc you can shoot from near your character.  That way you can hide behind a pillar and shoot around it.  Brilliant!

I also like the way teamwork plays out.  You can bounce a teammate around a corner and then let them take a nice pop-shot at the archer hiding behind there.  A nice little one-two punch.

I'm not sure it will withstand the test of time in my collection, but dang it, it's going to have a soft spot in my heart for getting rid of combat modifiers for much time to come.

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Behave. Your mamma could read this.