Quiet often reviving old games from years gone by can be a mistake. The rose tinted spectacles that accompany such exercises can prove disappointing. However, I am always attracted to games of my youth, Dungeonquest being no exception. The FF revised edition is what we played today. Easier as don’t have too many memories of the original, but with the kids outgrowing the old TSR/Wizkidz Dungeon – having played it many times! I thought it would be a step up to a more mature game (queue references to D&D akin to double entry bookkeeping)
The game flows much better than I remember. There is defined period of play (the suntrack), players have activities outside of their turn. Each turn is speedy, so the game moves along at a fair old pace. When I looked at the box it estimated 1hr. I can vouch for that as we played 2 games in 2 hours, both with a conclusion.
What I like about it the most is that there is a real challenge to escape the dungeon. With 15-20 turns in total your really have consider your exit strategy from the start. For instance 6 turns in going into the catacombs can be a real mistake considering you have to pull a card to get out and then you end up in a random spot that can be impossible to get out from. Greedy players intent on getting to the Dragon room in the centre have their work cut out to get in and out in time.
I also like the fatal nature of the game. Not often a good thing when you draw a card where the negative outcome is ‘character death’. But with the quick turnaround of the game itself then it’s actually OK. Quite often you can ‘secret door’ into a empty room with no exits, and with no way out (ie in your action turn you cannot move or search, then you die) … it adds to the sense of adventure (after all you cannot have adventure without risk)
We played 2 games. In the first all members died. Georgie and I went into the catacombs too late. Georgie succumbing to a blade trap and my character being eroded away by Razorwings then getting finishes off by a ‘Greedy Deep Elf’ whom I couldn’t afford to bribe to get me out of the Catacombs. That left the way clear for Logan to just escape to win. At that point he was in the Dragon chamber, with a treasure. He got all the way to the penultimate space to exit. This was a trap space. Its result was ceiling fall and the room rotates forcing him into a pit from which he couldn’t escape. It was exciting and had the children demanding more.
The second game was similar. I had a swift exist. Single room with a secret door leaving to a empty room … trapped !
Georgie entered the catacombs again. Dew 2 spiders and was gradually being bitten to death. She spent about 8 turns in there before succumbing to monsters with no exit in sight.
Logan had been stalled at the beginning being stuck in a spider web and then caught with rockfalls with a lowly agile character. However, with both other players gone his lowly 40 GP was enough to escape and win with 2 turns to spare before night started to fall. An inauspicious victory – but aren’t they the sweetest?
Personally I thought it was an amazing game because imagination sprouted in every nook and cranny there was! It was extremely tense, scary and exciting. It was exciting because there were multiple ways you died; you could die by the sun timer and you would get trapped if you didn’t get out in time, there is a massive possibility to get killed by a monster, you draw an unlucky room tile and get you trapped in an area with no doors only walls or you could be a victim to lethal weapons! My brother Logan has won every time so far (2) and I’ve died every time so far! It’s almost comical about how dangerous it is!
Zulus on the ramparts was the 2nd game we played. In this it’s a solo/co-op where the gameplay is keeping the 4 lines (each representing the horns, chest & loins) of the Zulu threat out of Rorkes drift. This wasn’t such a hit. It took a long time to punch out the chits. There was only 1 sheet, and it was laser cut , but the slots were very tight and there was substantial sooting from the laser cuts (small niggles I know)
The game is strong on narrative with all the character represented. But it made for very disrupted game. There was a repeated reference to the rule book. There was a lot (to my mind) of ambiguity in the rules and lack of clarity. This despite each rules section being broken up with a specific point references. Duplication of the same action in the same game turn (bringing heroes to the fore) was clunky. I could feel the kids drifting away. I thought I would like it more. I had Schiess on the north wall, Hook in the hospital. Even the ‘Pot that man’ volley card couldn’t save me from being disappointed. I’ll give it another go, but one first reflection there are better resource management exercises out there.
Truthfully I found the game dull and a bit tedious since, let’s just say, it took longer to set the game up than to actually play! I didn’t really understand it! The good thing is that we won on our first go! It didn’t really have enough going on and wasn’t really exciting because we mostly just pushed the Zulus away from the camp, they came back and we shot at them again. The turns were too quick for me to get an idea of what was going on and when I did get an idea, it was too slow for me to pay attention.
Preferably I’d choose Dungeon Quest over Zulus because I’m more of the imaginative type and like to make decisions and I liked to have my own character!