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So, What's Going On With Dungeon Saga?

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  • #76
    Hi Fyrax, yeah, each group or zone would be assigned to the first dice and the map variations within the group would be determined by the 2nd - so 6 groups/zones with 6 variations each.

    Whilst the Overlord can determine what is present for each zone, for solo play or co-op against AI I would have a further "setup phase" for each zone controlled by further dice rolling (again, moving away from the dependancy on printed cards) that determine what is active and where they are placed.

    The initial steps per zone would be something along these lines:

    Determine the Zone Layout
    Determine the Exit Door location & Lock type
    Place the enemies
    Determine if Furniture is present
    Determine if Chest is present
    Determine if any traps/mark any trigger lines
    Choose if Mechanism is active and Effort (Optional - a variation on opening doors/items that requires a number of actions, but multiple heroes can partake - think of a big portcullis winch or similar oversized lever system)
    Choose if Unexpected Encounter is active (Optional - is a common enemy potentially present)
    Choose the Spawn Point (Optional - used when not playing Timed Play)

    It's a little unwieldy when presented in words and looks like a lot of dice rolls, but it can be completed pretty quickly with a handy quick reference/cheat sheet to hand to outline the steps/checks needed.

    Will give you a shout in future to comapre what you've done, certainly interested to see what you've found.

    One of the core things that drive me and the games of DS that I play is if the enemies in each zone scale in strength with the Heroic Party that enters the dungeon, interesting and challenging dungeons should be very easy to setup on the fly for solo or groups of players..
    All that is needed to cement these into place is to provide snippets of stories, rumours and jobs that give the Heroes a reason to go and do it (...something else I have poured a lot of time into).

    In summary, the game isn't going away and whether it be official Mantic content or unofficial custom content, there is more in store for players.

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    • #77
      I took a slightly different approach in my program.

      1. Determine Zone layout, exit door, and furniture. This is because furniture layout can affect how many and what size enemies you have. And I prefer to use more furniture than in the printed adventures. It could be done the other way round though.

      2. Determine enemies and obstacles. Obstacles includes locks, traps and chests. Each room has a points limit. Enemies/traps/locks/chest all have points assigned (chests have negative points). Enemies or obstacles are picked randomly until the limit is reached. There are other limits (must have at least two groups of enemies for instance), but that's it in brief. Doors have a standard lock that are altered when the lock obstacle is picked.

      3. Place enemies.

      I'd also suggest that Unexpected Encounters, or dungeon events, are rolled first since they will likely have a big effect what enemies are needed and the difficulty of the zone.

      On the subject of doors - I'd like to see most doors being unlocked, only requiring a generic action to open. It doesn't usually make sense for the baddies to lock every door every time they go through them. In the core campaign it make sense - the heroes are expected and the overlord wants to delay them. Normally it's a bit odd.

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      • #78
        Originally posted by eriochrome View Post

        I would not say it is getting in the way but more like if Mantic is professionally developing a mission creator expansion for Star Saga that may be very different from what we might do it could be good to see how the player base responds. I think most Dungeon Saga players looked at Uncharted and were either confused or saw problems very fast so did not both to play it much. If we can clean up some of the really obvious problems with a page of discussions/modifications so that more people will really try it then we can get a lot more feedback on it for the big changes.

        Overall the whole AC was printed at like an Alpha/Beta development level. It was clearly never really tried or read by people who were not Jake or had not been taught how it was supposed to work by him. So If we can get it to a release level of polish say by the end of the summer and then use feedback over the winter to formulate a true second edition that might then be ready for next fall.
        I can't speak for everyone who backed the game, as it seems obvious now that we all had different expectations of the kickstarter, but personally I backed it because the advanced rules would supposedly let me play a co-op dungeon crawl game using random dungeons and custom characters, much like Warhammer Quest. In fact that's really all I wanted from it. I don't like the idea of having to download pre-made quests from the internet, even if there was a potentially limitless supply of them. I want to be able to open the box, roll up a quest, and start laying down dungeon tiles without having to worry about whether there is new content available or not. If the game happened to include random travel and town events then great, that's really icing on the cake.

        Not that I consider this a request thread. I don't expect you guys to turn Dungeon Saga into what I wanted it to be, but it would just be nice if it could simply do what it said it was going to do on the side of the box. Maybe it really does need a proper second edition.

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        • #79
          Originally posted by Zethnar View Post

          I can't speak for everyone who backed the game, as it seems obvious now that we all had different expectations of the kickstarter, but personally I backed it because the advanced rules would supposedly let me play a co-op dungeon crawl game using random dungeons and custom characters, much like Warhammer Quest. In fact that's really all I wanted from it. I don't like the idea of having to download pre-made quests from the internet, even if there was a potentially limitless supply of them. I want to be able to open the box, roll up a quest, and start laying down dungeon tiles without having to worry about whether there is new content available or not. If the game happened to include random travel and town events then great, that's really icing on the cake.

          Not that I consider this a request thread. I don't expect you guys to turn Dungeon Saga into what I wanted it to be, but it would just be nice if it could simply do what it said it was going to do on the side of the box. Maybe it really does need a proper second edition.
          me too, can't agree more

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          • #80
            Originally posted by Zethnar View Post

            I can't speak for everyone who backed the game, as it seems obvious now that we all had different expectations of the kickstarter, but personally I backed it because the advanced rules would supposedly let me play a co-op dungeon crawl game using random dungeons and custom characters, much like Warhammer Quest. In fact that's really all I wanted from it. I don't like the idea of having to download pre-made quests from the internet, even if there was a potentially limitless supply of them. I want to be able to open the box, roll up a quest, and start laying down dungeon tiles without having to worry about whether there is new content available or not. If the game happened to include random travel and town events then great, that's really icing on the cake.

            Not that I consider this a request thread. I don't expect you guys to turn Dungeon Saga into what I wanted it to be, but it would just be nice if it could simply do what it said it was going to do on the side of the box. Maybe it really does need a proper second edition.
            I don't think the expectation of "much like Warhammer Quest" was an uncommon one, actually. I mean, the reason I was hyped up for the Kickstarter was Ronnie - in his Beasts of War pre-campaign hype visit - started talking about the "Book of Unspeakable Darkness" or whatever he called it at the time and basically described the Roleplay Book from Warhammer Quest without naming names. I think that was a very common and clear expectation through the whole process, and by the end of the Kickstarter had metastasized into a concept of, "The core game will be like Heroquest, and the Adventurer's Companion expansion turns it into Advanced Heroquest/Warhammer Quest." I don't recall any other expectation for the game at that point.

            Then - and I hate to keep throwing Jake Thornton under the bus, because he's a decent guy, but he keeps deserving it - Jake turned out to not like Warhammer Quest or other "RPG-lites", and didn't do any research on modern market dungeon crawlers. At one point on his blog, I pointed out that it sounded like his vision for the Overlord was him reinventing Descent, and he confessed to having never looked at Descent! Despite clear (and often vocal, on his blog) expectations from the Kickstarter pre-hype and the backers, Jake decided to write Jake Thornton's Nostalgic Heroquest Rewrite, By Jake Thornton for Jake Thornton. And on the Adventurer's Companion, it really really shows. I fully agree with eriochrome's assessment that it's at alpha/beta level of completion. I lean more towards 'alpha', myself. And I can't help but notice that that seemed to be Jake's modus operandi for his Mantic work - look at how Dreadball and Deadzone first editions were good games but...not *quite* right. Then a Rules Committee and later second editions cleaned (and finished) them up to be fantastic games.

            So, I think that Dungeon Saga's fundamental problem lies with a disconnect between the expectations of both the Kickstarter team *and* backers for a new, modern day Warhammer Quest...and the preferences and practices of the contracted creator. At this point, I don't think the consequences of that disconnect can be rectified with tweaks and errata. I think the core game may need a second edition, too...just to add more "hardpoints" to the core system to allow a hypothetical Adventurer's Companion second edition to add extra features onto. Or even incorporate some of the elements from the AC into the core game to begin with. I refer back to my previous post, where I pointed out that random monster placement and random dungeon design being the the WHQ core rules made their incorporation into the expanded rules seamless. I suspect that by designing the game around strictly pre-written scenarios, Jake may have written DS into a corner on expand-ability and replay value. I also suspect that by focusing so heavily on an adversarial not-GM vs PCs dynamic and trying to retain that in the AC, the game system lacks the flexibility to allow for easy, intuitive co-op and/or randomized play. (I really think that the RC and/or a second edition should take advantage of the Adventurer Companion's status as an add-on expansion to incorporate a change in the role of the Overlord to more of a traditional GM-as-referee one. That would smooth out a lot of the difficulty in creating a design-your-own dungeon section.) Finally, for something as complex as what the Adventurer's Companion *needs* to do, I wouldn't be afraid of using tables. Tables might not be in vogue right now, but they save on the need for planning, printing, and including cards for all the necessary features or variables. Also, tables *work* for this sort of thing. (See also the Deadzone second ed. exploration tables.)

            In summary, I as time goes on, I am increasingly of the opinion that DS needs a second edition that refocuses on the promises and expectations from the Kickstarter. Such a second edition would benefit from using the framework of the first edition (indeed, I don't think Mantic even needs to worry about changing the miniatures and furniture that comes in each box) but heavily revised, polished, and re-oriented towards the original design goals without Jake Thorntons personal preferences hindering them. I would absolutely back another Kickstarter for such a project (though I'd prefer a simple rerelease with new, second edition rulebooks) especially at a new-rules-only level.

            Anyway, that's just my opinion on a game I was really primed to enjoy but ended up being badly disappointed by. I realize that a lot of the work it needs will be delayed until we see what Star Saga did differently and how the consumers react. I just hope the work needed gets done eventually, as I think there's a kernel of a great game in Dungeon Saga, it just needs a re-focused second edition to bring that kernel out and allow it to flourish.

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            • #81
              Awesome post, and that's why I stopped buying anything that wasn't KoW several years ago.
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              • #82
                The core game of Dungeon Saga is an excellent enjoyable out of the box experience.
                The advanced aspect is where the issues begin to arise.

                For whatever reason Jake wasn't on board with Ronnie's idea of where the game was 'supposed to go', and that hurt the KS backers like myself.
                I'm not blaming Jake, I don't know what fell out between the two but something clearly fell out and the advanced game suffered from it.
                The rules committee did a lot of positive work in the years that followed.
                It would be nice to see a 2nd edition at some stage (because it's a clever game and I enjoy it still)... with all the cleaning up included for those who want to play the advanced game.
                Mantic, making tabletop gaming cheaper and more accessible to the masses. Philanthropy at it's finest.

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