Dungeon Twister: Prison
standalone second edition expansion
List Price: $69.99
Your Price: $55.99
(Worth 5,599 Funagain Points!)
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This standalone second edition of Dungeon Twister can also be used as an expansion with the first edition. The game is mostly new material and includes plastic miniatures instead of cardboard. It also includes rules for solo play.
Dungeon Twister (Asmodee Editions, 2004 -- Christophe Boelinger), while produced in 2004, didn't make it to America until 2005. Thus, I stand by my declaration that this is, so far, the best game I've played in 2005. While the name conjures up images of an ogre trying desperately to put their left foot on green, the game is much different. In fact, it's hard to describe to people without mentioning "chess" and "dungeon crawl", and the two are so different that it's hard to imagine them in the same game. In fact, the true meaning of Dungeon Twister just might be the fact that it manages to "twist" several genres into one game.
But, oh, what a game! The back story to the game involves an all-powerful wizard dropping random contestants into a dungeon with twisting floors, and forcing them to play games for his amusement (and their freedom). With very little luck (besides the semi-random setup) and an excellent combat system, Dungeon Twister retains the theme of your classic dungeon, while acting as a tremendously tactical two-player game. I love the options the game presents, and the idea of more expansions with even more selections really has me excited.
Each player takes eight character tokens, six treasure tokens, eight character stand up counters, four action cards, nine combat cards, and three "jump" cards. The eight rooms provided in the game, each a grid of twenty-five squares and filled with pit traps, wall, doors, and decorations, are placed in a two by four formation, randomly face down on the table. At the end of this two column row, each player places a row of ten squares with four spots designated for their "starting team". Each player secretly places four of their characters on these spots face-down, and then, in turn order, places the other four characters and six treasure items face-down on the eight rooms (some restrictions apply). The four character tokens on the starting lines are revealed, and players replace them with the cardboard standup figures. One player is chosen to go first, and the game is ready to begin.
On a player's turn, they must first play one of their action cards face up on the table, showing how many actions they have this turn. Once the action card is played, it stays on the table until a player has used all four of the action cards, in which case they are all returned to his hand. (Action cards give 2, 3, 4, or 5 actions). The player then proceeds to take those actions. The actions available to a player are:
Players can use the items in the game to their advantage and may also "jump" over pit traps by discarding one of the "jump" cards. Gameplay continues until one player gets five points. A point is scored by either getting a character to the other side of the board, the character is removed, they have "escaped!", or killing an opponent's character.
Some comments on the game...
I don't think Dungeon Twister is for everyone -- some may be turned off by the dungeon theme, others may not like the dizzying array of choices each turn. Still others may not like the odd merging of fantasy and strategy. But for me it was a tremendous pairing, a dungeon game that I could tout as having a lot of strategy; fun, but full of depth at the same time. I'm looking greatly forward to each expansion and can't wait to see how the new characters interact with the old; but even with just the base set, the game is one of the best gaming experiences I've had this year.
"Real men play board games"
After reading reviews and thinking of the many options available and no luck involved and moving maps, I was nervous to purchase this game thinking the brain factor would mean it had no fun factor.
But, having now played, you can have fun simply playing the game with a mindset to have fun. I was able to play it with my 'advanced beginners' group from the office and it worked great.
Game prep: One thing you do want to do before jumping into a game is to make sure everyone knows a few very key things:
Of course the overriding answer to all of these is that these is a TEAM of characters and if you go traipsing off haphazardly you will very probably find yourself in a lot of trouble!
We found that after we started the game we started to collect our players into small squads. Your Healer is critical to keep safe to be readily available to heal your bashers who are protecting you... who are being led by the Thief who is picking the locks on the Portcullis' or the Warrior who is bashing them down, and the rope carrier or thief helping you pass by traps and someone else to rotate the room to provide an escape as needed.
I will also point out that the game is kept moving and avoiding too much thinking by the limit on the number of actions you can take per turn. With only 2 or 3 actions in a turn, you end up focusing on one thing at a time, and while the others are taking their turn you can be planning what your next area to focus on is.
Conclusion: More fun than expected. And for players who are looking for simply a fun time, it DOES work.
This is not a bad game by any means, I kind'a enjoyed moving the little pieces of paper around the board. I like board games that doesn't always require dice rolling (no dice rolling in this game). I enjoy that little luck is involved and that strategy is the main factor in winning.
Heck, I like alot of things about it, but one thing that I don't like is crappy stand up pieces of paper that represents characters. I'd be fine with forking up another 10-20 bucks for the game to get nice solid miniatures. What I will not do is buy 1 set of miniatures for one team for 30 bucks from the company that made it.
I enjoy the game, it's playable in under half an hour, but some of the crappy components killed it for me.