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Tabletop Review: Dungeons Expansion: Dragon Fang Mountains

dungeonscoverDungeons Expansion: Dragon Fang Mountains
Publisher: Adventure Games Guild
Release Date: 01/11/2013
Page Count: 25
Cost: $1.50
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Late last year, I reviewed a new solo adventure game called Dungeons. It provided a simple system of D6 rolls and delivered a fun but challenging game. Here we are now, early in 2013, and the game’s first expansion has come out. This expansion adds two new heroes to choose from and its own set of quests, encounters, and events.

Firstly, it should be noted that this expansion and all of its content is one hundred percent interchangeable with the original game. You can take one of the new heroes into an old quest, and one of the old heroes into the new quests. None of the rules have changed.

The first new hero is the Treasure Seeker, one that I came to love very quickly. A Treasure Seeker has solid stats all around, but can’t use magic. He makes up for this in a couple of ways. Firstly, he starts off with a crossbow, which is the most powerful ranged weapon in the game. Before combat even starts, the Seeker will get to throw three dice worth of damage at his opponent. His other attribute is even better. When rolling for treasure (something you do after every victory in combat), you actually get to roll twice and choose the roll you prefer. Will I take two gold pieces instead of one? Hell yes. Will I take the magic weapon instead of a measly potion? Hell yes. This ability is pretty darn fantastic, and makes the Treasure Seeker an easy choice for any quest.

dungeons1The other new hero is the Runecaster. Runecasters are dwarfs who’ve somehow earned the ability to cast magic. They have the same basic stats as a dwarf, but start off with weaker armor to offset the fact they can use one magic die. However, the Runecaster has its own list of spells to work from, separate from the spells used in the original game. In combat, you have three options. Rain of Stone can be used as a low rent ranged attack. Ranged attacks are always good, so it has some use. Stonehammer is a spell that doubles the amount of damage you do. Rockskin reduces all incoming damage by one. Outside of combat, you have One With the Earth. This spell, if successful, allows you to full heal any time you come across an area with nothing in it. The downside of these spells is that they are reasonably hard to cast, and you only have one magic die to try and cast them. If it fails, you’ve wasted a turn. This is compounded by the fact that Runecasters, as dwarfs, have a speed of one. This means the enemy always gets to attack first. Without that extra armor, they become highly susceptible to damage. I played a few games with the Runecaster, and they all ended shortly.

There are six new quests with this expansion, and they’ve definitely gotten more interesting, if more challenging as well. Most have special rules. For example, one quest allows you to make two treasure rolls. However, there is a chance that the treasure can be cursed, which can permanently lower one of your stats, or even cost you all of your equipment. It’s a risky choice to say the least. Other examples include a quest where “nothing” areas are replaced with treacherous terrain that can cause you damage.

Let’s not forget about the new encounters. You have a whole new encounter list to make a roll for, and there are several new foes to go along with it. These include demons, elementals, and even fellow adventurers. One thing to note is that the version I got did not include the information for the Drake, which was the quest enemy for one of the six new quests. I have been told this should be fixed soon though. All of these new monsters are pretty tough, so you’ll be thankful when you get a giant rat to contend with.

dungeons2Finally, there are the new events. Events involve something beyond combat happening, such as a cave in, finding a treasure room, or something more dynamic. These definitely add flavor to your game. I was not a fan of the events list for this expansion. There are only a couple of them that offered any choice to the player, something I liked greatly about the first game. A lot of them are also downright mean, forcing you to lose a piece of equipment, take significant damage, or even take a stat penalty. There are a couple of good ones too, but they’re much harder to come by.

All told, this expansion manages to take an already challenging game and ratchet up the difficulty even further. I played probably close to a dozen games and never got out of the first quest. I suppose I can chalk this up to crappy luck to some degree, but it’s still worth mentioning. If you’ve got a warrior all ready to go from a previous quest, it could be fun to test him with these new options.

If you enjoyed playing Dungeons, then this expansion is pretty much a no brainer. It offers new quests, events, and monsters to mix things up, and gives two interesting new heroes to try out. It’s only a buck and a half, and the game is still fun to play when you can’t get a proper role playing session together. It should be noted that you can’t play the expansion without the core rules, however, so this is for players of that only.