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Sunday, September 11, 2005


Dungeon Twister: Two reviews

Short review

The latest, greatest, over-hyped, under-tested, (possibly over-tested), snot-rocket.

Mid-Length review

I am always on the lookout for a two player game that my wife might enjoy. After reading some reviews I picked up Dungeon Twister at my local game store. Dungeon Twister looked appealing because of the fantasy theme and no-luck nature of the game.

Dame Koldfoot has a soft spot for fantasy themes. She is especially partial to Talisman. With the different characters and objects associated with the game I thought it might have a Talisman-like feel that would appeal to the wife.

Players start on opposite sides of the board. The goal is to gain 5 victory points. Players earn VP mainly by killing opponent's characters and by maneuvering their characters to the opposite side of the board. The board consists of 8 smaller boards aligned two wide and four deep. The boards forms a maze that characters need to maneuver through. The "Twist" in the game is that each small board is a room that can be rotated.

Players utilize action points each turn to perform actions with the four characters they control. Each player has 4 cards valued 2-5. The card played on his turn is the number of action points that player may utilize on a given turn. Action points may all be given to the same character, or split between several. When all four cards are played they are returned to the player's hand. Characters can pick up objects such as armor, rope and sword that help them towards their goal.

When all is said and done the game feels pretty juvenile. Yes, there is no luck, but so what? There isn't much fun or tension either. I suppose that I might appreciate the "twist" mechanism more with more plays. If used correctly it is apparent that it is a more efficient means of moving your characters than regular movement and is an equally efficient method of hindering your opponent. I might bring it to the Boys and Girls Club just in case I need two player game that appeals to 12 year old boys, other than that I doubt I will play it again.

There is a much better game in this genre, Dame Koldfoot won't play it with me, but I'll stick to Doom: The Boardgame when I'm in the mood for a mindless, fantasy, maze game. For now I'll gladly stick to Talisman (second edition, I proudly proclaim) when the wife is in the mood for a fantasy game.

I understand that you did not like it. That does _not_ make Dungeon Twister un-tested. Tested, it has been, and a lot.

A problem many people have (I do not know for you) is that, with the fantasy theme, they expect another Talisman / Heroquest / ...

DT ain't that. It is a brain burner in a fantasy setting.
Brain burner?

I love brain burners. Brain burners are fun. Tic-tac-toe, Connect 4, and Stratego are "no luck" games. That does not make them brain burners.

Dungeon Twister is not a brain burner. It is a no luck, fantasy game. It left me praying for the whole experience to be over, not sitting on the edge of my chair nervously calculating my best move.


As for "under-tested", forgive me. I like the poetic sound of "over-hyped, under-tested", I use that phrase from time to time.

Maybe "over-hyped, under-whelming" would be better.

I figured "snot-rocket" would cause more of a firestorm.

Maybe "over-tested" is the correct term. Tested so much, so as to be balanced in every circumstance, that the fun was sucked out. That is a distinct possibility.

I'm sure I'll get an earful with either description.
the four characters they control

Curious, is that a typo? While each player selects 4 characters to place on their start line, the other 4 characters are placed in the rooms. Granted one needs to reveal the room to activate the character, but one can have 8 characters under their control.

Know this won't change your opinion (and I'm not trying to), but playing with only 4 characters seems to be a rather common mistake folks make with this game.
I did wonder about that rule. For some reason I came to the conclusion that they wanted only objects placed on the board.

Blindly placing even more characters on a board that you can't see, seems to take the game out of the "no-luck" category.

Might make a difference. Maybe I'll have to try it again.
It's still pretty no-luck, since you get to choose where to place them.

After one game in which I was partially brain-dead, I'm on the fence. I couldn't seem to see how to use the twisting part of the game to my advantage, so I need to play more to at least experience that.
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