Saturday, July 07, 2007

Dungeon Twister Character Uses: Part IV: Mercenaries

Notice I didn't say "Multiple Uses" this time?

There are multiple uses for some of these characters, but I'm going to talk more about how to effectively use them.

I've played Mercenaries a lot the last few weeks, so that I could get a good handle on the characters and how they work.

This is a tough set.

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

Mercenaries Average Movement: 3.375
Mercenaries Average Strength: 3.123

Looking at the average, you can already see the point of this set. Please note that the Average Strength listed for Mercenaries is not adjusted for the special ability of the General.

This set contains one Runner, one Specialist and six Hitters.

The objects which are new to this set all enhance Strength - mostly when attacking. In fact, this set is balanced to give the attacker the edge over the defender.

Here's the character overview with a couple of tips for each character:

Angel of Darkness: As the fastest character in this set, she is your best retriever. Her flying ability only functions in half of the rooms in this set, but she can work very well as a runner in Free Choice play. My most regular opponent suggests giving her a Two-Handed Sword - it allows you to have a Flying attacker with a surprising amount of punch that your opponent may not be expecting.

Crossbowman: Ranged combat. Yum. It doesn't change the game hugely, but it does entertain me greatly. My preferred trick with the Crossbowman is to try to trap an enemy character in his line of sight and then force my opponent to waste combat cards while I take potshots at him. I spent four actions shooting at my opponent's Samurai, once. Since the Samurai and the Crossbowman have the same Strength, my opponent had to figure out if I was bluffing with my +0 or burning a card to wound the Samurai. It was a very good way to burn him out of cards.

Assassin: This is a character I use a lot in Free Choice. Any time you are assembling a Hit Squad, include an Assassin. The ability to kill rather than wounding is huge. She's at her best in Group Combat while adjacent to multiple foes. She pairs extremely well with the Weapon Master from Paladins and Dragons.

Berserker: I don't use her very well, but she's rapidly becoming one of my favorite characters. Her ability to throw two Combat Cards when she's attacking alone makes her an extremely good Dragonslayer. Especially when given a weapon to use. She can also be used to burn down your opponent's Combat Card stack - just attack alone and throw a +1 and a +0. This is risky, of course, as your opponent may throw something high enough to wound her. Even this, of course, burns one of your opponent's combat cards.

Gold Dragon: Too many people force their Gold Dragon to lug around its treasure, rather than giving it a weapon. A Gold Dragon with a Two-Handed sword has a base Strength (when attacking) of NINE! If you can get your General into the room, that becomes a TEN. A Ten will wound most characters at a +0, even if they throw their +6. If you're worried about losing your Dragon in combat, use him as a vulture and kill enemy wounded characters rather than attacking healthy characters.

General: The General is the most straightforward character in this (extremely straightforward) set. His allied characters gain +1 in Close Combat in the same room. It doesn't require Line of Sight, Adjacency, or any of the other limits which can be set. I tend to Phonebooth my OWN general when I find him in a room. True, he won't escape, but my opponent won't be killing him very easily, either. In Free Choice, he can either buff up your Runners (making them a credible threat in combat), or he can make your Hitters and Blockers even more effective.

Dwarf Troll-Slayer: His primary ability, it is worth mentioning, doesn't function in this set. It only works in Free Choice and Equal Forces play. The Troll Slayer is the counter to the Troll. It's that simple. Otherwise, he's a decent hitter.

Samurai: Before doing something risky, I count out my opponent's characters and movements: "If I run my Assassin forward, he can still reach me with his Dragon, but he won't have a spare AP to attack." The Samurai makes this more difficult, because I have to remember that he doesn't spend that AP to attack me. Give the Samurai a Two-Handed Sword, and I'll sometimes forget that he can choose not to use it.

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