Friday, May 25, 2007

Dungeon Twister Characters: Multiple Uses Part I: Base Set

I'm going to preface this with a warning: What I'm about to say is my analysis. There are players who are better than I who will disagree with every word I type. There are also players who can regularly trounce me who will agree with every word I type. Your mileage may vary.

There was a thread on BoardGameGeek recently where a player questioned the viability of the Spectre as a character. The limits placed on his escaping the maze seemed overly complex - and it occurred to me that I had no such issues with the Spectre. That, indeed, I find the Spectre one of the better characters in the Forces of Darkness expansion.

I thought it'd be a good idea to go over the characters and outline some possible alternative uses for characters that may seem less-useful.

I'm sure some of you will have ideas I've missed - feel free to leave a comment and contribute. I'm going to go set-by-set with tips for standalone play. I may have tips for play with mixed sets, but most of those tips will come from Expansion characters. And the order in which I plan to proceed is the order of English release - that way, I'll have a better grasp of the Fire and Water characters before I write about them.

Base Set Average Movement: 3.62
Base Set Average Strength: 2.00

Cleric: Much like the Mekanork, the Cleric's primary use is clear and well-developed enough that I haven't seen alternate uses. I have, however, seen the Cleric used with the Warrior in a "Living Wall" strategy (see the Troll below).

Goblin: Decoy. I usually don't even try to get my goblin out of the maze. I make it look like I'm trying, but if I can (for 1 AP) get my opponent to waste two or more AP pursuing or attacking my Goblin, I call it a success.

Warrior: I freely admit that the Warrior is one of my weaker characters, so I have to rely on what I've seen others do. The most amusing use I saw for the Warrior was as a pathfinder - my opponent handed his Warrior a rope, and proceeded to bash down every portcullis between himself and the exit. Even Chris Boelinger laughed at how many portcullises had been knocked down - but it did the trick. The Warrior escaped the maze, along with another character that he had in tow.

Wizard: Once the Fireball Wand is gone, the Wizard is less useful in the base game. I tend to use him as a retriever. He's slower than the Thief, but his ability to fly over enemy characters makes him invaluable in this role - especially when there is a race to an item. This ability becomes more useful with the more complex boards in later expansions (such as Fire and Water), where movement becomes difficult.

Mekanork: To be honest, I've not seen any alternative uses for the Mekanork. His primary use (control rooms) is very clear and very well-developed. Skilled use of his ability is one of the keys to the game.

Wall-Walker: I've seen a lot of people just run their Wall-Walker out of the maze as quickly as possible. She's my weakest base-set character, strategically - I'll either just run her out of the maze or use her as a retreiver. I have seen her ability used solely to add an additional +1 in Group Combat - her ability makes it relatively easy to get to the combat.

Troll: A lot of people see the Troll as nothing more than a slow combat monster. I have never used my Troll like this. I use my Troll as a living wall - I'll find a critical corridor and put my troll smack in the middle of it so that my opponent has to fight the troll (and burn a combat card) or find a way around it. If he wounds the Troll, I just regenerate on my next turn. Note that this does not work as well with the 3/4 Player Expansion, as the troll is vulnerable for up to two turns before you can regenerate him.

Thief: Chris Boelinger describes the Thief as a "Toolbox" - she is the best support character in the basic game. She can disarm traps so that friendly characters can move through, she can open doors (and close them again behind), and she can quickly carry wounded characters back to the Cleric for healing. I very rarely move my Thief out of the maze unless she's about to die in combat or she's my fifth Victory Point.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:05 AM

    My analysis...

    I think making an effort to move the Goblin out of the maze is worth it. Setting him up on your opponent's side in hopes of an early exit can pay off big if successful.

    I think the Warrior is probably the best because of his speed (the troll is way to slow to be an assassin) and combat skills. With a sword in hand, he's a bad ass

    I find the Wall-walker to be pretty useless.

    I don't use the MEchanork much as I rarely tinker with the tiles on the board.

    THe Thief has great utility because of his speed and powers. He's great for retrieving gear for others.

    THe Wizard is great if you can get a wand in his hand. I know... that's a big "if."

    As much as I like idea of a big, lumbering troll prowling the depths of a mysterious dungeon, I find him just too, too slow to use often. It's quite easy for your opponents to just stay out fo his way. You're idea is a good one... a human wall.

    THe Cleric is a great character; I like to team him with the Warrior.

    I think if I were to mix and match a team from all the sets, I would definitely use the Warrior, Wizard, Theif, and Cleric. THe rest I could replace with other characters.