23 June 2010

A Hundred Ways to Die

A look at the dungeon in the upcoming board game DungeonQuest

Long ago, during the great Dragon Wars, the mighty Dragonlord Kalladra devised the most cunning and insidious trap ever constructed. His desire to dominate Terrinoth became an obsession, but every attempt he made to conquer the realms was met with heroic resistance. So he withdrew himself underground and concocted a labyrinth of wretched design. Rather than engage the nations of Terrinoth in open warfare as his brethren did, Kalladra believed there was no greater danger to the rulers and heroes of the land than their own greed. And so he built Dragonfire Dungeon...

Since we announced the upcoming release of DungeonQuest in April, the response has been enthusiastic and the speculation rampant. A re-imagining of the classic board game of dungeon exploration, DungeonQuest retains the all the most beloved elements of the original game while updating key mechanics. Moreover, this new version of DungeonQuest takes place in the vibrant fantasy realm of Terrinoth (the setting of Runebound)!

Today, we’ll take a look at the basics of movement and exploration, and we’ll also catch a glimpse of one of the Heroes making her way through this perilous pit of death (keep reading for a surprising announcement!).

After randomly drawing their Hero cards and setting up the board (including the various decks), up to four players begin by placing their plastic Hero figures in the far corners of Dragonfire Dungeon. In turn, each player may then either move to an adjacent space (never diagonally) or search. After moving, a player must encounter the space he is in, and if this is a newly explored room, he’ll draw a random Dungeon chamber tile and place it on the board.

These tiles only allow movement in certain directions, and must be placed so that their arrows point in the direction from which you entered. This means you’ll have to snake your way through the perilous passageways, encountering traps and enemies as you go, as you attempt to reach the treasure at the center before your opponents. Only by grabbing what loot you can and making it back to the entrance will you claim victory!

For example, from her starting Tower room in the corner of the dungeon, the sorceress Challara may move one of two directions. Either way, the space she moves to will be unexplored (assuming the game has just begun), so she’ll randomly draw a Dungeon Chamber tile, positioning it in the empty space that she just moved into (remember, the arrow on that tile must connect to the space she just left).

Depending on the Dungeon Chamber Challara has placed, she will now draw a card from one of the various decks placed near the board. Dungeon cards are the most common, and consist mostly of dangerous challenges (though a few lucky adventurers may pick up some unguarded loot)... but if she’s stumbled into one of the other room types, like the Trap room or the Spider Web, Challara will truly need to keep her wits about her to survive.

We’ll take a closer look at encounters and enemies in future previews. For now, let’s move on to one of the exciting new characters joining your favorite heroes of Terrinoth.

Challara, the potent sorceress used in our examples above, is from an old and wealthy family, and she’s entering Dragonfire Dungeon to retrieve treasures stolen from her by Kalladra. Her powers warn her of approaching danger, allowing her to redraw a Dungeon card when encountering a chamber. On her Hero card, shown below, you’ll notice several statistics used both in combat and in determining the outcome of other encounters such as traps.

The number in the upper right corner (in this case 12) represents Challara’s Life Value, and this is the number of wounds she can take before death. In the lower left corner are four attributes that are important in Attribute tests; they are Strength (red), Agility (green), Armor (blue), and Luck (yellow). If, for example, Challara had entered the Spider Web room mentioned above, she would have to test her strength rating in order to cross it. To do this, the player controlling Challara would roll two dice. If the total of the dice is greater than Challara’s strength rating, she fails and is caught in the web for another round! Given that her strength rating is only five, she may want to avoid this room all together...

Other perils require similar tests of Agility, Armor, and Luck. The variety of attribute combinations, along with the unique special abilities of each hero, means near limitless replayability whether you’re enjoying the game solo or against live opponents.

Our look at Challara brings us to one of the most exciting benefits of setting DungeonQuest in Terrinoth: the potential to carry over your favorite Hero from one game to another. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce an exciting bonus for those who pick up a copy of DungeonQuest. All of the six new DungeonQuest Heroes also come with Hero cards for Runebound, Descent: Journeys in the Dark, and Runewars!

That’s right: All copies of DungeonQuest will contain six never-before-seen figures (of the same plastic and scale as our other titles in Terrinoth), plus the necessary cards to expand your experience in three other games! Challara, the example Hero described above, can adventure across the realm in Runebound, battle fearsome foes in Descent: Journeys in the Dark, or infiltrate enemy territory in Runewars.

Join us next time when take a closer look at specific encounters in DungeonQuest!

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