Friday, August 07, 2015

Return to the Dungeon Crawl

Last week I bought the Warhammer Quest video game on Steam. While it's plagued with the actrocious idea that everything from characters to monsters to tilesets needs to be its own DLC pack, it is a fairly faithful translation of the classic (dare I say "ultimate") dungeon crawling boardgame. I've been battling my way through dungeon after dungeon in a quest for loot and levels and thoroughly enjoying every second. It got me in the mood again to look at both my own collection of dungeon crawler board games and what is coming on the horizon, not to mention the idea of putting together a dungeon crawler of my own as well.

On the horizon is Dungeon Saga from Mantic Games. It looks a lot like Warhammer Quest, which isn't surprising since Mantic makes a lot of games that are similar to many Games Workshop titles from Blood Bowl to Warhammer 40K and Fantasy. (Seriously, check them out at Mantic Games. They are the anti-Games Workshop with good games, great minis, and a company that really seems to care about their customers.) What really interests me with this game is the Adventurer's Companion that is going to contain rules for creating heroes based on figs from your own collection, no matter who made the mini. You'd never see Games Workshop do that! I'm eagerly awaiting Dungeon Saga's release next month, and I hope that it's quickly carried by a retailer stateside.

I've got a lot of these kind of games from the well known (Heroquest, Castle Ravenloft, and Descent) to the obscure (Dragonfire to an older D&D board game from the early 90's whose name escapes me at the moment) and a ton of minis from those game as well as a vast assortment of other figures from Reaper to Mage Knight to the D&D prepainted minis line. It would be great to draw up on that vast store of figures and dust them off for some crawling action. However, as it's been with deciding on what rules to use for my Mythic Space setting, deciding on which system to adapt my collection to has been tough. With Dungeon Saga still a month away, I think what I'm going to do is adapt the Warhammer Quest system into my own game.

Warhammer Quest hits the sweet spot for me in terms of crunch and ease of play. However, I am going to make a few changes to how the system works. I'm going to D20-ify it a bit. Gone will be thw WS charts. Instead, characters will have a base bonus. The bonus will be rolled against the opponent's Melee bonus +10. Much of the game still runs very much the same, however. I'm also changing up character creation a bit. I'm going with a race/class set up. That way I can have elven rogues alongside halfling clerics and dwarven warriors. Classes have set stats with the races adding in possible modifiers and a racial ability or two. Classes will have a selection of abilties to choose from at start and others for when the characters level up. The Winds of Magic still plays a huge part in both keeping spellcasters in check and adding an extra element of danger to the dungeon.

Monster stats will run in much the same way as well. Opponent spellcasters will often roll on a random table of spells to determine what spell is cast (for co-op or solo games). Many of the monster special abilities will be standardized to make the game flow faster.

I'm still knocking around ideas for how I'm going to handle treasure. I'm thinking I may simplify the charts I use to randomize magic items in S&W (which is modified from the Diablo II rpg sets). However, the idea of having a set of cards to just draw treasure from has a lot of appeal as well, even if is would mean more work on my part.

As for the dungeon creation system, I'm going to largely use my Warhammer Quest sets since that's the rules base as well, but I do have some ideas for using D&D Adventure games tiles as well.

Unlike many other projects, this one seems to be going really fast. It's a nice change of pace to work on a light-hearted, really simple game for a while. That said, I'm starting to feel the itch to get back to Mythic Space. We'll see. If I keep playing Warhammer Quest, I may stick with this for a while...

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Fantasy Flight Games Once Again Wants All My Money

Well, it's Gen Con time again and once again it's time for a crap-ton of new game announcements. Now, I'm going to delve into the news that is coming out about Savage Worlds, but since there is so damn much that has come out and is continuing to hit, I'm going to wait to post about that later. Let's just say that Rifts is shaping up nicely (even though it's release has been pushed into early next year) and there is a LOT of great SW material coming out!

In this post I want to focus on Fantasy Flight Games. FFG has always been pretty prolific, and make some really great games. Much of my board game shelf space is made up of their offerings. They have announced a ton of new games and expansions that are going to bust what little game budget I have these days. Not just bust, but obliterate. It will likely be a long time before I catch up with all of these games, but at least there's always something exciting on the horizon!

First off is the next wave of expansions for Imperial Assault. Now, the next wave hasn't shipped yet (should be soon since they've been listed as "on the boat" for nearly 2 months now, and there's a wave in between the one about to hit and the one announced this week, so there's a lot of material in the pipe for IA. This wave will add Hoth-based characters, missions, scenarios, and tiles to the game. the wave will consist of a new small box expansion that will add the tiles, 3 new hero characters (including a Mon Calamarian and a 2-1B Medical Droid), 6 snowtroopers, 3 HK Assassin Droids, 2 Wampas (!), and a SC2-M Repulsor Tank! Just like with the small box expansion that is due out soon, this one will feature a bounty hunter as well, Dengar, who will be one of the figure expansions in this wave. The other figures will be Princess Leia in her Hoth gear, Echo Base Trooper ally pack, and a General Sorin villain pack. I really like IA and hope this trend of numerous expansion waves each year continues.

Next up is new material for Descent 2nd Edition. A new box expansion, the Mists of Bilehall, Unlike other expansion sets for Descent, this one won't offer up an new heroes or expansions of class skill sets. Nope, Bilehall is all about bolstering the strength of the Overlord player. The theme for this set is creepy undead menaces. Along with a new one act campaign, the set will include new rules for Tainted heroes, 12 figures: 6 Reanimates (skeletons), 3 Broodwalkers (disease-ridden zombies covered in bugs), and 3 Bone Horrors (a sort of snake like golem made completely out of bones). This set will also introduce 3 new Lieutenants for the Overlord as well as figure expansions for each. (I've never picked up any of the Lieutenant packs. Never seemed like they added much to the game.)

There's a new edition of Runebound coming out by the end of the year (more likely early next year). The Terrain Dice are still a factor, but the game is touted as being different enough that none of the earlier material will be compatible. Only 4 heroes are included in the base game, which is a big change as well. There will be differing paths that heroes can take on their journey to complete their quest: Combat, Social, and Exploration. A hero can focus on one arena to complete their goals or mix and match the three. The combat is very, very different and one aspect that interests me. Both the hero and the creature toss or roll a bunch of tokens. Depending on how these land each can use them to attack defend power special attacks/spells and so forth. I've had a love-hate relationship with Runebound in the past. The first edition was, well, it just wasn't very fun. The Second edition was much improved, but it still just didn't grab me. I like the idea of what the game is trying to do, but it just hasn't clicked yet. That said, I am interested, which is why I'm posting about it, but this is one that I will definitely wait until I can try it out at the FLGS first.

Finally we come to the "big dog" of FFG's announcements: a new Warhammer Quest. I've been a huge fan of WQ since I first laid eyes on it back in 1996. I now own two base sets, the Catacombs of Terror expansion, and several of the expansion hero packs. That's not even counting the mountains of new monsters and heroes I've either created or downloaded of the net over the years. Needless to say, I'm a big fan of WQ, so seeing the banner across the top of FFG's homepage made me giddy like a schoolgirl. However, my hopes of a new and updated dungeon crawler with a solo component was quickly dashed by finding out this version of WQ is a card game. I should have known. There is little chance of FFG putting out a new version of WQ in the style of the original game when they have the Descent line. While I would vastly prefer the new WQ be more like the old, I am interested in this new game. I've never been one for card games beyond poker and blackjack. They largely don't interest me. However, the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game has shown me that such a game is possible and can be interesting. I have my doubts that a card game will be able to capture the same feel as the original dungeon crawler, but I will be itching to try this out once it hits later on this year (once again, knowing FFG's schedule it'll likely be early next year).