In this week’s Workshop Wednesday, we look at one of the cutest board games to release yet: Super Dungeon Explore.
Ever since Super Dungeon Explore was announced, I’ve been chomping at the bit to get it. The thought of paying premium prices to grab pewter figures though seemed a bit too pricey, so imagine my delight when I heard that all the minis would be repackaged into a boardgame and cast in plastic!
Super Dungeon explore is a dungeon crawl type boardgame similar to Descent and other dungeon games (like the D&D ones). Priced at $90USD, it packs a humungous stash of stuff into its box, including instructions, double sided board tiles, specialty dice, and more mini parts than you could ever expect to come in a board game. Don’t believe me? Here’s what you’ve got waiting for you:
More than 50 minis. This HUGE windfall of models is both a blessing and a curse. The number (and quality design) of models is the exact reason why I bought the game, but even I’m slightly overwhelmed by the amount I’ll have to put together. I’d hate to imagine being a newbie gamer and being saddled with all those bits. If you’re an OCD person like me (read: not your usual casual boardgamer) then the thought of cleaning mold lines and painting every single one of these miniatures is similarly overwhelming.
That’s about all the problems that I had with my models though. While some plastic bits were bent, some unbending and they were good as new. Also, all parts had unique male and female connectors so there’s no worry about putting the wrong arm on the wrong kobold. And of course, every miniature was incredibly (and cutely) sculpted. My favourite is probably the Druid’s shapeshifting counterpart; the angry bear, who kinda looks like he wants to give high fives to everyone he meets.
This ‘huge bag of stuff’ idea also carries on to the rest of the box; they’ve provided a huge stack of loot cards, character cards, mob cards, and even specialty dice. And speaking of cards, I especially love the ‘equip’ system of SDE: when you pick up any equipment, you ‘slot’ them into the respective side of your character card. Funky as heck.
Unfortunately, the quantity of everything squeezed into the box seems to have come with the cost of affecting quality. The card stock is quite flimsy (These were how I got them in the box and I expect to need to sheath all my cards), and the cardboard dungeon tiles, while nicely printed, seem to be on a lower quality cardstock than I’m used to (say FFG level cardstock). That isn’t a breaking point for me, but it might be for some of you out there.
Game play wise I haven’t actually sat in a game yet, but I’ve witnessed a few games being played in my LGS, and it is A HECKUVA LOT MORE BRUTAL than you’d expect. You have one person playing the role of dungeon master, moving all the kobolds around, and the rest of the players being the party. But because the DM spawns so many monsters, and because the more you kill the faster the ‘threat’ meter rises (resulting in faster entry of mid-bosses and giant dragons), the party really needs to know what they’re doing (or the DM needs to go easy) in order for the party to have any chance of success. In the games I saw, the dungeon party always seemed to be fighting for survival, let alone delving deeper into the dungeon.
All in all I think this is still a game that is worth getting, if only for the plethora of wonderful minis that you can get for…. pretty darn cheap actually. If minis aren’t your thing however then it’s probably a good idea to see if the group you’re playing with is experienced enough with similar games to have the teamwork to fight through the monsters in Super Dungeon Explore.