Cardboard Children: DungeonQuest

By Robert Florence on September 18th, 2010 at 5:49 pm.


Hello. Every Saturday, from now until-

TEST YOUR READING SKILLS!

YOU ARE DEAD!

Let’s try that again.

Hello. Every Saturday, from now until the day you die, I’m going to be here to talk to you about board games. And card games. And pen and paper role-playing games. And stuff. My name’s Robert Florence, and I used to spend a lot of time talking about computer games, like the other fine fellows on this site. But these days I like to talk about games you can hold in your hand. Games you can touch and smell and flip right off the table in a rage if you should feel the need. Games that take up a ridiculous amount of space, and make you decide that you’ll be moving house in a couple of years just so you can have a dedicated games room. Which is ridiculous. So, you tell people you need to move because you want to have another child. Yes, a cardboard child. With statistics and an axe. Called OLAF THE DREAD.

I don’t want you to see this as a board game review column. One of the things I love about RPS is that there isn’t a massive reliance on that ugly, terrible thing: the formal review. I’m simply going to be talking to you about the games I love, and the new releases, and all the breaking news, and what works and what doesn’t. I’m going to try to get you excited about board games. I’m going to be helping you to find your way into the hobby, if you decide you want to join us at the table. I’m going to be encouraging a lot of chat about board games in the comments bit below. If you’ve ever wanted to bore someone about an amazing game of Heroquest you once played, this is your opportunity. I want to hear your stories. This is our little weekend board game club.

In this first column, I’m going to be talking a bit about where board games are right now. Some general stuff you need to get your head round, so you can confidently strut your stuff in any board games shop in the country. And then I’m going to get bored of talking about that and start telling you about one of my favourite games of all time: Dungeonquest.

TELL ME ABOUT THE SCENE

It’s easy to get yourself across the whole board game thing. There are two board games in board gaming. One of them is called Monopoly and the other one is called Cluedo. Oh, and there’s that other one, Risk. No, actually, that one’s too hard. Too long. Forget that one. There’s Monopoly and Cluedo. Stick them in the cupboard and lose all the bits and forget about them.

THAAAAAAAT’S BOARD GAMES!

You would think so, wouldn’t you? The reason why most people hate the thought of playing a board game is because they’ve had some terrible experiences with them. They’ve played Monopoly using the wrong rules, probably. They’ve distractedly watched the telly while taking a couldn’t-give-a-fuck guess at which bit of plastic committed a murder in Cluedo. And, God help them, they’ve spent five hours lost in that nightmarish world of boredom and Lovecraftian, maddening frustration I like to call “Fucking Risk”. I should tell you right up front how I feel about that Holy Trinity Of The Thoughtless Christmas Gift. I love Monopoly. I dislike Cluedo. And I detest Fucking Risk. We’ll talk about Fucking Risk again further down the line, because it’s a fascinating tale of a million attempts at fixing a terrible game. And of how some of the attempts worked.

Let’s talk about what’s actually out there, by using some of the stupid generalisations that exist. Let’s talk Eurogames, Ameritrash and Wargames.

LET ME AT THAT LANCASHIRE!

The games we call Eurogames usually have very little luck, and very little direct player interaction. Eurogamers react to dice like Damien reacts to that chapel visit in The Omen. These are games that will have you setting up efficient little economic or military engines on your table, like a right little Nazi. These are games that usually won’t allow any players to be eliminated, because BOO-HOO THAT’S NOT FAIR. These games will be gentle with you. Reiner Knizia is one of the best-known designers of this type of game. His games are often maths-based, and often shite. The Eurogame style is often pushed as the be-all and end-all of quality gaming. Ticket to Ride is a game that is known as a “gateway game” to other games. Yes. Other Eurogames, maybe. But building a fucking train track hardly prepares you for spewing bullets at an Ork. Eurogames are also commonly about farmers, camels, bits of fruit, planks of wood, koala bears and slaves. None of which are very easy to get passionate about. It often doesn’t matter what a Eurogame is about, though, because very rarely does a Eurogame’s mechanic express a game’s theme well. (Dr Knizia, please stand up.) Eurogames are the board games you can play in polite company, over a bowl of wine and cheese flavour Monster Munch. There are, however, some spectacularly brilliant games in the Eurogame style. And the definition itself is ridiculous anyway, so ignore everything I said.

PRIME AMERITRASH

Then we have Ameritrash. In typical American fashion, many of the greatest Ameritrash games are British in origin, but they call them “Ameritrash” anyway. Ameritrash games are all about theme, and player interaction, and lashings of delicious luck. Almost all of the great games you played as a young boy or girl will have been Ameritrash. Heroquest? Yes. Space Hulk? Yes. Thunder Road? Yes. If you’ve ever rolled a dice to hit the guy sitting to your left with a poisoned lance, causing him to storm out of the door and march back to his mum’s house with tears in his eyes, you’ve played some prime Ameritrash. Ameritrash games are looked down on by many Eurogamers, because it’s all just luck and stupid goblins and chain guns and toys and for God’s sake grow up and help me increase the workrate of these slaves in my plum orchard. Just so you know where I stand, I’m an Ameritrash man at heart. And I actually like the word “Ameritrash”. It’s full of tackiness and self-deprecation and humour, and it fits just fine. But it’s a ridiculous definition, so ignore everything I said.

Then we have Wargames. Played by grim-faced men in darkened basements. Millions of poorly illustrated counters laid across boards the size of a squash court. Games that take three months to play to completion. Games steeped in accurate historical representations of some of the most horrible times in mankind’s existence. Wargamers look on as Eurogamers and Ameritrashers squabble about “games”, and smirk at the folly of it all. Then, they turn up the collars of their coats, and walk into the wind, head bowed, fists clenched. The weight of the world on their shoulders. Fading into the distance. One look back. A smile at us. A nod. “Leave this to me.” A tear? Maybe just a trick of the light. And then gone, never to be seen again.

This is all rubbish, of course. But it’s kinda sorta the scene. You need to know the scene, the battle lines, if you want to be part of this whole mess. This whole expensive mess. And where we are right now is that Eurogames were running the show for a while there, but Ameritrash games are having a bit of a resurgence. And Wargames are still in the basement.

Now, let’s talk about-

YOU ARE DEAD

Let’s try that again.

Let’s talk about DUNGEONQUEST!

DUNGEONQUEST


THE NEW BOX ART

Dungeonquest has always been one of my favourite games of all time. It was first released in English by Games Workshop in 1985, and it’s just a total bastard. I laugh every time I take Dungeonquest off the shelf. The sound of a laugh actually comes out of my mouth. When you know you’re about to die, but willingly march onwards regardless, you have to laugh.

The 1985 rulebook boasts that the game has a 15% survival rate. I remember the first time I read that statistic. “Aye, right. Sure.” If anything, the figure’s been inflated. Dungeonquest will fuck you up. It will do it in the most cruel manner possible. It’s the type of game that wouldn’t be designed today. In this era of NO PLAYER ELIMINATION, why would you design a game that happily kills players on their first turn? Dungeonquest is a product of its time, and one of the most exciting games ever created.


AN UNEXPLORED DUNGEON OH GOD HELP

Here’s how it works. The board is a grid, with an entry space on each corner, and a big space in the middle. In the middle lies the dragon, asleep, atop a pile of lovely treasure. Your job is just to get in, get to the middle, grab a bit of treasure, and get out before sundown. Easy, right? OH GOD HELP NO. In your turn you can move into the dungeon and draw a random tile to place on the board, upon which will be an illustration of a room of some kind. It might be an empty dungeon space, or a corridor, or maybe even a BOTTOMLESS PIT TEST YOUR AGILITY YOU ARE DEAD OH GOD. If you manage to survive even going into the room, you can then search the room. You might find something that kills you, or find a secret door that leads into another room where a monster will kill you. Then, in your next turn, you can draw another tile, place it on the grid, and continue your journey to the centre of the board. (I don’t want you to think it’s all bad stuff in the game. You can also find things like Unstable Potions that will maybe heal your wounds! Or kill you.) Once you reach the middle of the board, you draw a card from a deck of seven cards. Six of these cards tell you that the dragon is sleeping. One of them tells you the dragon is awake. If you wake the dragon, you are dead. If you don’t, you draw some treasure! On your next turn, you can search for more treasure, but this time the dragon deck is down to six cards – more chance of YOU ARE DEAD. You can keep searching too. Pushing your luck. Then, if you survive that, all you have to do is get out of there. Find the way back to a board’s corner. Before time runs out. And you die.


A DEAD END OH GOD HELP

The game is hard. But hilarious. In my most recent game, just this week, I was still laughing at Kenny’s dwarf’s head being lopped off by a trap when I drew a Bottomless Pit tile that had me needing to roll a 3 or under with 2D6 to survive. I rolled an 11. The whole table exploded in laughter. Everyone was dead a turn later, because the dungeon hates laughter. When you get out of the dungeon, treasure in hand, you feel like a superhero. You remember it. You never forget it. I like to think that the treasure’s cursed, and that my hero dies in his sleep later that night. To me, Dragonfire Dungeon is the daddy of all dungeons. That’s why the game is never frustrating. The dungeon is the star. You’re just there to add another tale to its history, another bloodstain to its floor.

It’s the simplicity of Dungeonquest that I love. It can be explained to a new player in a few minutes, and then they can be dead a minute later. Welcome to board gaming. You are dead.

The game plays four players, but it can also be played solo, something I’ve done many times. It’s good to face down the dungeon on your own. No distractions. It lets you concentrate better as your body is cleaved in two by a trap. The solo rules mean that there’s no excuse for you not to accept the dragon’s challenge. You don’t need anyone to play the game with. The dungeon will happily play with you, any time you want.


OH GOD HELP

The good news for you, if you want to be just another victim, is that you don’t have to scour ebay for Dungeonquest any more. Fantasy Flight Games has just released a brand new edition, with beautiful components, and the Catacombs expansion thrown in. (The Catacombs expansion lets you die underneath the dungeon too!) There’s been a fair bit of controversy over the new combat system that Fantasy Flight has introduced, so I need to stick my oar in. Forgive me.

In the original, combat with monsters was resolved using a simplistic system that was pretty much Scissors, Paper, Stone. It was quick, unfussy, but very bland. It let the player get back to exploring without too much delay. The new system is a card battle mechanic, and combat now takes a little longer. There are, however, more decisions and more flavour to the battles. Some old-school players are angry that the game has slowed down. They feel the card battle is an unnecessary complication. Personally, I like the card battling a lot. It speeds up a lot as you get used to how it works, and it brings an element of excitement to the fights. It’s pretty much a simple “play-high” mechanic, but with a nice counterattack system, and a thrilling “Deathblow” element that lets you stack already played cards of the same type into a super attack. My one issue is that if you buy the new edition, there is no option to play the old way. The old, basic rules should have been included.

I love Dungeonquest. It’s a laugh, which is one of the best things you can say about any game. It’s a game you will talk about the day after you played it, and the year after. There is nothing more human than wanting something awful to befall your friends.

This is the game for you, human.

GOODBYE

This was a long one, so thanks for your patience. I’ll be back next week with a look at something old, and something new. Please chat to me in the comments below. Consider this our Saturday Board Games Club, for fuck’s sake. Any questions about Dungeonquest or board games in general will be happily answered.

ZAA OOO ZAA!

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204 Comments »

  1. rargphlam says:

    I too am a fan of the ‘Ameritrash’ genre, but over here in America we call those ‘board games that don’t suck.’

    Yes I just indirectly implied that Settlers sucks.

    The big one my friends and I play is Arkham Horror, with every expansion, aka the game so big you need a tackle box for all the bits in it. Nothing’s better than wasting an evening trying to fight off Nyarlathotep or Yog-Sothoth (Yoggie + Father Dagon and Mother Hydra as Heralds is down right stupid hard), only to die miserably.

    It’s the journey that counts.

    • Tom O'Bedlam says:

      Azathoth has been summoned. The world is destroyed

    • BaronWR says:

      I love Arkham horror: you start out healthy, sane and full of optimism and three turns later the world is ending, you are nearly dead and going mad and cultists are massing outside…

      Also, the fact that one of it’s expansion pack features the Arkham amateur dramatic society amuses me intensely.

    • President Weasel says:

      I’d far rather spend the time playing Call of Cthulu the RPG than Arkham, but my friends love it.

  2. James G says:

    Excellent addition to the RPS output. Been meaning to try and look at a few boardgames outside of the mainstream, but persuading other people to have a game can be a little difficult. As a result, my current boardgame experience is probably the equivalent of a PC gamer who rarely strays outside PopCap’s output. Very much ‘Social Gaming,’ albeit far more deserving of the moniker than some of the stuff that pops up on Facebook.

  3. jonfitt says:

    Welcome Robert, excellent post!

    I must confess that after a youth of 40K and (what I know know is) Ameritrash, I have been into Eurogames recently. I have my Carcassone, and my Ticket To Ride (Europe version is better), but most recently I found Pandemic.

    I gravitated to it because of its “versus the game” style. I have been seeking out 2-up games so I can play with the missus, and one where we don’t have to try and beat each other is good for everyone involved. It also went down very well with a group of friends.

    Is DungeonQuest similar in a way in that you can’t directly f-up other players?

    I have also enjoyed lively sessions of Munchkin in the past, but I put it to you that it’s not the best game to play with a significant other.

  4. Tom O'Bedlam says:

    Boardgames? Rab? RPS?

    Perfect.

    I defy anyone to not enojy Agricola.

    • Edgar the Peaceful says:

      Yes indeed – and it’s a great solo experience too. A complex and elegant solitaire. A great way to spend an hour gaming but away from the screen and fondling bits of wood.

  5. echomateria says:

    @pkt-zer0
    Where did you get the idea that “board games tend to be rather expensive”?

    Aside from a few boardgames that come with hundreds of miniatures they are actually cheaper than video games. For example at Amazon Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty that you mentioned is $59.13 while DungeonQuest is $48.70…

    • rargphlam says:

      Only thing that gets expensive in board game land is the monsters with multiple board expansions.

      Like for example a full copy of Arkham Horror (base + 3 board expansions and 4 card expansions) will set you back by $240 if you buy from the right places.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      The mention of Starcraft 2 was tongue-in-cheek, not a serious example. Still, I only spend that much on a game every 5 years or so, good thing Blizzard don’t develop games that fast. I normally wait for price drops, which isn’t really an option for board games. But even ignoring that, the ones I’ve looked at were never cheaper than 70 bucks when all is said and done. Maybe I’m simply unlucky enough to be interested in the expensive ones, haha.

    • leeder_krenon says:

      in the UK, board games are hideously expensive. dungeon quest is £42ish plus postage. starcraft 2 is £35ish plus no postage.

  6. DuncanFx says:

    Rab and board games on RPS – welcome news indeed! Plus a mention of Thunder Road – one of my early boardgaming faves.

  7. Premium User Badge

    sendmark says:

    Rab on RPS, great stuff and great start :)

  8. Skurmedel says:

    Will you ever write about Dominion… pleeease.

  9. Leo272 says:

    Excellent article Rob. Excellent timing too. My best mate has recently expressed an interest in boardgaming, so I can point him here and leave him in your safe hands.

  10. Mitthrawn says:

    My dad has a huge collection of old Avalon Hill board games- so I was raised to love board games. Games like History of the World and Rail Baron. These games don’t really fit into those categories, though I guess they skew more toward the euro games (for Rail Baron) and wargames (for history of the world). I’d like to see Robert talk about avalon hill games, cause some of them are really good, I’d also like to see him talk about my favorite card game of all time, Lunch Money. So much fun.

  11. Froibo says:

    Yay! Boardgames!

  12. Stony says:

    Throwing a few recommendations out:

    Tales of Arabian Nights is more about seeing what stupid/funny stuff happens to your friends than winning. I’ve seen a player be sex-changed, transformed into a beast, become a beggar, meet a Sultan – who then threw them in jail – and be crippled – twice – but still win the game.

    Pandemic is the a fantastic game where the players work co-operatively to save the world from diseases, represented by coloured cubes. Has led to one of my regular gaming group excitedly exclaiming that we were in a precarious position and had to “get rid of the blacks” in a crowded pub before, which was a bit unfortunate. Shadows Over Camelot is another good co-operative game, where one of the players may be a traitor working against the others. And Battlestar Galactica is that same basic concept, but takes twice as long to play and is surprisingly dull.

    Through the Ages is much more of an acquired taste than the previous two, as it’s complex, deep, engrossing, and a vague abstract approximation of the Civilisation games. Probably my favourite game of all time, but you’ll need to find at least one other player who’s prepared to spend the time learning it. That said it’s way simpler than most of the wargames like Hannibal.

    Railways of the World, based on the Railroad Tycoon game, is aces and well worth playing. It combines the twin joys of building up a bustling railroad empire and simultaneously shafting your friends wherever possible. Oh, I just blocked the last exit out of New York that your strategy relied upon? Terribly sorry.

    Finally, people will often bang on about Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride being good “gateway” games (a term I’ve never really agreed with, as the horrendously over-complicated Arkham Horror is what got me hooked), but I find them a bit dull. Carcassonne, another oft-recommended gateway game, is great though, as there’s surprising scope for player interaction underneath its simple rules.

    As a general recommendation for people looking to get into board games, or looking to get other people hooked, you can’t go far wrong with Pandemic. It’s the closest thing I’ve seen to a sure-fire guaranteed hit, and only takes about an hour to play.

    • icupnimpn2 says:

      Great, now what will he write about?

    • President Weasel says:

      I was the master of the dull result in Tales of the Arabian Nights for a couple of games. My mates took the piss out of what my stories of adventure would be like when I got back to my home town:
      “I saw an enchanted house with a hundred rooms… I didn’t go in”
      “I found an enchanted river and had a drink… it was quite refreshing”
      “I was caught in a terrible storm… but I was ok”
      “I gave money to an old beggar… he said thanks”

    • Skippy says:

      I disagree about Battlestar being Shadows Over Camelot done worse. It’s much more complicated, yes, and possibly needlessly so in some areas, but this does prevent the same-ness you get after a couple of games of Shadows from kicking in. It also means there’s a lot more ways for the traitor to screw you over without being obviously the traitor, meaning more tension and more fun.

      Does take forever to play, though, yes. Bring a sleeping bag.

    • Stony says:

      I really wanted to like Battlestar, but I’ve played it a couple of times and it’s just fallen a bit flat. In the 1st game I played, the Cylon had to reveal himself in the second phase (due to 4 player rules I think), and in the 2nd I drew something like 4 cards that allowed me to look at another player’s loyalty card, so the 2 Cylons were ferretted out quickly. And when you know who the Cylons are, and all the suspicion and meta-gaming has gone, you find that there’s not much to the actual game. It doesn’t have much of Pandemic’s co-op fun and discussion because there’s usually only 1 or 2 rooms that make sense to visit, so it feels like going through the motions, which take forever because of the constant skill checks and ship moving.

      Well that got a bit rant like, but I really wanted, and still want, to like the game – it just hasn’t worked for me so far.

    • Skippy says:

      Ah, yeah, bad luck there. I’ve never had a game in which we were absolutely sure who the Cylons were until it was too late, but if it became apparent that early I’d probably suggest just starting over. More powerful traitors is a difference between Battlestar and Shadows that I really enjoy, but it would certainly make for a dull game without anyone working against you.

  13. Navagon says:

    The new Dungeon Quest sounds like an improvement. You’re always going to piss off the old school fans no matter what the change.

    Space Hulk – ah, the memories. Some great games in that picture.

  14. delusionsofnoir says:

    Just want to say that I’m very glad this and you are here Robert.

  15. delusionsofnoir says:

    Just want to say that I’m very glad this and you are here Mr Florence.

  16. icupnimpn2 says:

    Encyclopedia Britannica just can’t keep up

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Florence

  17. RogB says:

    great article, the missus was wondering what i was chuckling about and I couldnt be arsed to explain it.

    Although its been 15+ years since i last played a board game, I WAS a huge fan of space hulk/40k/most GW stuff.
    Sadly, I no longer know anyone that plays so the prospect of ‘single player’ dungeonquest and a re-release is pretty appealing!
    I was SO CLOSE to getting space hulk v3, even though it’d have just sat in a box, unplayed. Only the limited run (and the hefty price tag on ebay) stopped me from buying it out of sheer nostalgia.

    looking forward to more articles!

  18. kalidanthepalidan says:

    Seriously. When I saw this post my head a’sploded. Downtime Town makes me giddy. RPS makes me weak in the knees. It’s a dangerous combination.

  19. Severian says:

    This is so awesome, I didn’t even read the damn post but I’m so glad you guys recruited Robert to chime in on a weekly basis about paper and cardboard. I love me my boardgames and this is just another reason for me to love RPS.

  20. Demi says:

    I’m so happy about this new column! I’ve recently taken a fascination to board/card games and especially pen and paper rpg’s, sadly I don’t have many friends who would even be remotely intrigued at the idea of playing one. Now at least i’ll be able to learn more about the scene. And download some race for the galaxy.

  21. TooNu says:

    Rab, how you doin?
    You just made my mining op in EvE alot more fun with this so thanks.

    I’m glad you didn’t dissapear, aye, I know you’ve got a twitter going but DTT has been quiet, sadly. Anyway, thanks for making me a wee bit poorer because that is getting bought. It sounds a wee bit like Zangbang to be honest but an actual physical board game will be much more fun.

    Chaos in the Old world is still the best board game ever. I’m just saying is all.
    Cheers
    TooNu

  22. Demi says:

    This column makes me so happy! I’ve always wanted to get into more board/card games, especially pen and paper rpgs. So thank you RPS!

  23. Jonas says:

    I’m a Descent man myself. I’ve recently started up a campaign of the Road to Legend expansion with some class mates. Our last game of the original campaign was 10 hours long and I had the party on the verge of death throughout. It was brilliant.

  24. SuperNashwan says:

    Excellent article, somehow made even better at the point my brain started reading it with a Scottish accent. I just barely managed to not buy the Space Hulk reissue and get back into board gaming, this column could prove expensive…

  25. bildo says:

    Board games. Not pc related. Thats all I have to say.

    • Vinraith says:

      Yeah! What do D&D, Blood Bowl, Warhammer, Chess, Europa Universalis, Settlers of Catan, or any other wargame, PnP RPG, or board game have to do with PC gaming?!

    • Nick says:

      Shit, well, that’s the RPS paymaster, owner and general controller spoken, guess they’ll have to stop doing whatever the fuck they want.

    • bildo says:

      @ Nick
      Calm down.

      @ Vin
      “What do D&D, Blood Bowl, Warhammer, Chess, Europa Universalis, Settlers of Catan, or any other wargame, PnP RPG, or board game have to do with PC gaming?!”

      Well, these are computer games aside from PnP RPG – That’s a genre of board game, essentially. Saying that games are similar to each other is fine, but to put it on a PC gaming blog sounds nuts to me. Just don’t see the relevance where a PC isn’t involved in running the game. I mean all games are similar, but not all games are PC games. It’s like having a cooking show and then putting up a weekly feature of how to build a house.

    • Nick says:

      What on earth make you think I’m not calm? The response was nothing but an eye roll.

    • bildo says:

      @ Nick

      Calm down

    • Vinraith says:

      @bildo

      It’s not a matter of being “similar.” Most PC gaming was born of board and war gaming and PnP role playing, a column about these sorts of games is simply a column about the roots of PC games.

    • Malagate says:

      I like to think that if we didn’t have all those PnP and boardgames, the only computational games we would have would be simulations of various things (vehicles, sports, etc) and shooty-bang games. No classic RPG’s on the PC make for some very sad PC gamers ;_;

  26. Diziet says:

    I really really liked dungeon quest as a kid, I’ve even wondered about the possibility of remaking it as a game on one platform or another. It would suit one of these new fangled touch based devices really well.

  27. ntw says:

    two words – Die Macher

    got it, don’t know what the fsck to do with it :D

    with this article you’ve made another satisfied RPS-eer here

  28. Kloreep says:

    Great column, looking forward to your next one. :)

  29. RadioactiveMan says:

    Yay Boardgames! A great post and a great new direction for RPS weekends!

    Favorite Eurotrash- Carcassonne.
    Favorite Amerigame- Axis and Allies (its not like Risk, I promise!).
    Favorite card game that is kind of like a boardgame- Munchkin.
    Favorite card game that is just a card game- PIT.

    Will look forward to the next installment.

  30. Cian says:

    Woo! I’ve been optimistically checking DTT for updates the past few weeksas my love affair with boardgames has been going through a real golden period. Finding a pub with a nice full stock of eurogames to while away sunny afternoons and then discovering my german girlfriend’s family are massive boardgame fans has meant I’ve spent an excessive amount of time learning the ins and outs of all kinds of great eurogames. And there’s still been time for some (always excellent) Talisman and abit of PnP RPGs.
    Looking forward to more of your stuff Rab, and for more discussion in the threads to come.

  31. Commander Gun says:

    Nice new addition, but please add another genre to the 3: Avalon Hill games. These are like eurogames but than a bit more serious and often more abstract as well. Some of AH games are wargames (quite many actually), but a lot are not.
    My favorites are 1830, Age of Rennaissance and Diplomacy. Game most played at this moment is Imperial 2030, which simply is great (and not AH). Lastly, for anyone interested in boardgames, boardgamegeek.com is a must visit!

  32. MadTinkerer says:

    Warhammer Quest review please. Thanks in advance.

  33. Jakkar says:

    I am no board gamer. But this was just too entertaining a read.. I’ll be acquiring Dungeon Quest sooner or later, and reading later instalments with interest and a grin.

  34. Hanneswall says:

    Hell yes! Drakborgen is one of the most punishing and simultaneously rewarding gaming experiences I’ve ever had. Too bad it’s gone out of print. Again.

    Also, I spot HeroQuest! Good man!

  35. The Other Chris D says:

    I don’t get to play board games as much as I’d like, but occassionally my regular pen-n-paper group will break out a board game or two. I guess I’m a Euro-wannabe, as my current favorites are Dungeon Lords and Castle Ravensloft (4th Edition as it was meant to be played). Though I must admit that I love the game of Sorry! and always will.

    I will take issue with the insistence that killing players is a good thing for games. Maybe for really short games (say 30 minutes or less). If the game takes 2-3 hours to play and I get knocked out in the first 15 minutes, what the fuck am I supposed to do for the next 2 hours? That will simply make me hate the game and never want to play it again. I nearly knocked myself out of Age of Steam recently on the first turn (my stupid mistake, admittedly). The game lasted over 3 hours, and I guess I just would’ve gone home early pissed off.

    On that same note, I also prefer games where bad luck or a mistake early on don’t put you out of the game for good. I like those games where the guy that your sure has no chance comes from out of nowhere and either wins or nearly wins at the end. The more competitive the game is at the end, the better it is. I can’t recall which game this was (as I will never play it again), but the two times I played it I was taken out of the running very early in the game. My friend, who had played the game a bunch, basically said that there’s always someone that gets screwed over early and has no chance of winning…not so much do to with bad choices, but just bad luck. I’m fine with bad decisions causing you to ruin your chances early, but a game that bad luck can make unwinnable in the early stages is just poorly designed. The belief that you have a chance at winning is very important to making a game fun.

    Having said all that, DungeonQuest actually sounds damn fun…I just hope it is a short game for when I take my first step in and fall into a bottomless pit.

  36. Lobiency says:

    This was awesome – please keep it up. Having said that, I’ve always been interested in the thinking man’s board games but have never had a looking glass through which I can delve into. Are there any outlets or groups where an American (most certainly Ameritrash) PC gamer in (North) London may finally find a board/PnP game fix?

    • Blackberries says:

      @Lobiency

      I have no idea if you will see this, as your comment is a fortnight stale, but Orc’s Nest in Covent Garden is a fantastic little shop, brimming with board games in its teeny mezzanine. I’ve not looked to see if it runs any groups/allows people to advertise groups there.. You could try asking the staff?

      There’s also Leisure Games up in Finchley. I’ve not been but I’ve heard it’s a great shop and I think does run regular game evenings.

  37. Isometric says:

    Rab on RPS? It’s about time!
    So happy to see this happening because RPS is the greatest website that ever did exist. Brilliant first article and hope to see more like it in the future. Happy!

  38. Tetragrammaton says:

    Once again RPS makes me a happy chap. Bring Tim stone on as a regular (Along with the hard-balls stratagem ensorcelled goodness of which he is harbinger) and you will be my holy grail of gaming sites.

  39. JohnH says:

    Wow, this takes me back to my youth. This article reminded me of how much fun my friends and I had while playing this game around 1990. Lovely game that’ll kill you in a wink of an eye just like this article says.
    Now I got to look into buying this new edition. Thanks for letting me know! :-)

  40. thebigJ_A says:

    Oh, man, Heroquest! I remember Heroquest!

    I made my parents buy it when I was small.

    Then none of my friends were interested.

    So I made my dad play.

    He wasn’t interested.

    I never played board games again.

    But still,

    Oh, man, Heroquest!

    • ran93r says:

      Played the hell out of heroquest and then advanced heroquest, good times. Think they should still be dusting up the parents loftspace assuming they haven’t been binned, must go back and check at some point.

  41. Billzor says:

    RAB! BOARDGAMES!

    That is all.

  42. Pijama says:

    Great post – LOL’ed a couple of times, with great presentation. DungeonQuest seems like a blast indeed!

    The Hivemind knows well who to assimilate it seems… Great work guys.

    (btw, where is sir Tim Stone?)

  43. amishmonster says:

    Welcome, Mr. Florence! I look forward to more of these articles. Plus, you made me look up to confirm that “Cluedo” was what I thought, so I learned something new. Well done!

    Has Kieron ever exclaimed “FUCKING Cluedo” in rage? I think he should.

  44. Danny says:

    Interesting. Great addition of course, but this also makes me sad. There’s absolutely not a single soul that is willing to play the more interesting board games with me. I’ve got Axis and Allies lying around, and still have the HeroQuest box that I got when I was 11, but those games are just not appealing to my friends.

    Risk and Settlers is about as advanced as their taste goes. Anyone in the vicinity of Amsterdam willing to play? I’ll bring the booze.

  45. Tom Camfield says:

    Yes. More Rab = more goodness.

  46. chesh says:

    I dare say that Dungeonquest sounds like a straightfaced version of Munchkin, as far as the mechanics and turn structure go. I will definitely have to pick that up.

  47. MartinNr5 says:

    Despite the authors attitude towards eurogames I hope he will also talk about them as they are quite enjoyable in the right setting/mood.

    No matter how fun it is to get cleaved in half I prefer to sometimes excersise my thinking blob by trying to exploit the rules laid down by a eurogame.

  48. Matthew Downie says:

    Either buy a game or two and persuade your friends to try them, or try looking for a board games club. I’m a member of one that meets every Tuesday in Brighton to play (mostly) eurogames. The only trouble is guessing where your local club (if one exists) chooses to advertise. Facebook? Yahoo groups? Little notices pinned up on the wall of a games shop?

  49. Katsumoto says:

    Where’s the best place to pick this (DungeonQuest) up then? I’m sure it must be cheaper than Amazon (£60), but i’m not sure where to look.

  50. Gulag says:

    Do Dominion!

    Yes, I know it doesn’t have a board but still…