Saturday, June 16, 2007

Dungeon Twister: General Character Strategies

As I mentioned the other day, I'm not quite ready for a "Multiple Uses" post on Mercenaries. I'm sorry. As part of my busy weekend, I plan to play a few games of Dungeon Twister, ideally including some of my French expansions.

There are two basic strategies when playing Dungeon Twister - Hit and Run. Players can also go for a more balanced strategy with a mixture of the other two strategies.

A strategy based on the Hit will score victory points by pounding the opponent's characters into pulp. It's all about the combat - forcing your opponent to fight you to get out, twisting rooms to minimize escape paths, and forcing Group Combat as much as possible. It requires careful use of your Combat Cards and you need to be able to move so that your characters have the edge in combat. I've also seen Hit Squads assembled, where a small group of characters patrols the maze, double-teaming any opposing characters they happen to find.

A strategy based on the Run will score its points by escaping the maze. It's all about choosing characters who can get around over and across obstacles, and the objects to support them. It requires characters who can get away from your opponent's hitters, as well - you'll want to make sure that any combat you engage in is Group Combat with your side having the superior numbers.

To support these strategies, there are four types of characters:

Hitters: Hitters are characters who will either have a high Strength or whose special abilities support other Hitters in some way. Good examples of Hitters are the Dragons and the Golem. Another character I consider a Hitter is the General - even though his Strength is only a two, his special ability makes other Hitters more effective.

Blockers: While Hitters can double as Blockers, the best Blockers have a special ability that allows you to slow down opposing characters in some way. The Troll is an excellent Blocker, for example - they can knock the Troll down, but it'll just get back up again. Other key blockers include the Illusionist, the Courtesan, the Living Trap, and the Stone Elemental.

Runners: Runners are characters who can either get through obstacles or whose special abilities can enable others to get through obstacles. They also tend to be faster characters. The Thief is the first (and most obvious) runner. The Acrobat and the Elf Scout are both excellent runners, as are any Flying characters. The Druid's ability with the climbing vines puts him into the Runner category, as well.

Specialists: A specialist is a character whose abilities or stats don't put them in any of the other categories. Most Magic-Users, the Magophage, the Cleric and the Pickpocket are all examples of specialists.

It's possible for characters to fit into more than one category - the Troll, for example, can easily serve as a Hitter or as a Blocker.

It's also possible to use Hitters to support your Run strategy or Runners to support your Hit strategy - the Golem's ability to clear walls can make movement much faster and easier for your runners, for example. Runners can make excellent flankers to aid in Group Combat, as it's easier to get them into position.

Objects and nearby characters can also impact a character's classification. A Troll with a Sword is a Hitter. A Troll wearing Armor is probably a Blocker. A Warrior with an adjacent Cleric is probably a Blocker.

In Free Choice play, each player chooses eight characters, six objects and two pairs or rooms. This selection is your first strategic decision, and all three sets of decisions (characters, objects, and rooms) are tied together - if you're not bringing any Magic Users, then you won't need any Scrolls. Are you bringing a Cleric to trail your Hit Squad, or will you be relying on Fountains of Youth? If the latter, will you bring your own or hope that your opponent does?

If you have all the English releases so far, you have 24 different characters, 191 different items (plus duplicate ropes and keys), and 16 different pairs of rooms. In France, they have 48 different characters, 332 different items, and 32 different pairs of rooms.

So how do you narrow it down? This post is getting a bit long, so I'll go over that later this week.

1 This number includes the two-handed sword held by the Statue
2 This number includes the Grail from À Feu et à Sang (Likely English title: The Fire and the Blood)


  1. Hi.

    I came here via your bgg forum posts. Thanks for the analysis.

    David C

  2. David,

    I hope you find the analysis helpful. Let me know if you have any questions/problems/concerns.