Games Night: Super Dungeon Explore

Hello everyone, welcome.  Today I am going to be talking about a games night I attended recently.

I was invited round to a friend’s house to play Super Dungeon Explore which is a chibi boardgame based on dungeon crawling videogames, which makes it sound overly complicated, and indeed more complicated than it actually is.  In simpler terms, Super Dungeon Explore is a super cute dungeon crawling adventure game where players fight monsters and loot treasure.  My favourite miniature is Beatrix the Witch Queen, a cutesy little witch on a pumpkin chariot pulled by kittens.  I had so much fun using her as a dungeon boss, once, running over the payers…a lot.

Beatrix the Witch Queen is my favourite Boss in Super Dungeon Explore

Normally I like playing undead dungeons, with necromancers and skeletons and zombies.  Plus, there are a couple of witch villains that can turn characters into frogs which is really fun to do when you are the villain.  However, I decided that I wouldn’t do that this time.  I knew there was a warband of tortoises, and a warband of mushrooms.  I wanted a Mario Themed Dungeon.  One of the players even agreed to play the Star Guild Sapper, who is the closest miniature to Mario we could find.  There is actually a miniature close to Princess Peach, but no one chose her.

Princess Ruby from Super Dungeon Explore looks suspiciously like Princess Peach of Super Mario Brothers

In fact we had Not Mario, Not Link, an Undead Pirate, a heavily armed knight and the Tabby Brook Mage.  Yes, the last one is a cat who happens to be a mage.  A really really powerful and destructive mage.  Who spent most of the game as a healer, much to the player’s annoyance.

Super Dungeon Explore boasts many characters that look familiar...

The players ventured into the Dungeon and pounded on my army of tortoises.  There were bowling tortoises, slow moving tortoises and even tortoises with artillery on their back.  But these were heroes.  My tortoises didn’t stand a chance.  To be fair, that is expected.  Players mash their way through the first few turns with little difficulty, unless the villain player (The Dark Consul) is being a big meanie.  The turn order goes player, consul, player, consul, player, consul and so one.  If I wanted to win at any cost, I would simple attack the same character on all of my turns until they fell.  However, that gets a tad annoying for players and boring for me.  Plus, its the first few turns.  Players shouldn’t hate me until at least the first mini-boss spawn.  So, instead, I attacked my most recent attacker and spread the damage across the party.  Making it difficult to keep everyone healed but, as it turned out, not impossible.

Super Dungeon Explore and there is danger for the Tabbybrook Mage as a giant turtle threatens, whilst a turtle gun shoots the Deepwood Scout

Tile 2 was much the same, with tortoiseses replaced with mushrooms.  The players ventured cautiously, set off a fire trap and left the knight to burn whilst my spongy army bounced all over him (ineffectively for the most part as he had a magic shield by this point which tended to kill my minions any time they didn’t wound him).  The players eventually worked up the nerve to disarm the trap and venture forth, the knight holding firm against arrayed forces of Mushrooms.  Naturally, they destroyed my Mushrooms and the spawn point to be confronted by the First Mini-Boss, Glimmerwing.

Tonight's villains in Super Dungeon Explore, Glimmerwing and Forgotten King

Truth be told, I chose Glimmerwing because it was a similar colour to the Mushrooms and I couldn’t think of any appropriate Mario Bosses.  Plus I had never fielded him in the game before.  So, when I saw his character card with only five hit points I was a bit disheartened.  His defensive capabilities were inferior to the players, which meant in a straight fight he would lose.  So, I did the only thing I could and that was to utilise his one advantage.  He could fly.  Using flight I was able to keep the players off balance by striking and retreating before they could strike back, whilst occasionally using one of his abilities to compel players into tile 3.

Tile 3 was guarded by tortoises and I was really keen to use one of their cool abilities.  The bowling tortoises and the gun tortoises could propel allies towards enemies like missiles.  Which I did.  Many times.  Too little effect, but that didn’t matter if my squeals of glee every time a tortoise or shell crashed into a player and exploded was anything to go by.

The Super Dungeon Explore Finale with Forgotten King, Star Guild Sapper, Tabbybrook Mage and Cursed Captain

Eventually, the dungeon boss came out – the Forgotten King.  And the players ultimately won, as they were able to gang up on him and beat him down.  However, I take solace from the fact that I did knock out two of five heroes, and I could have done more, but it was getting late so I decided Glimmerwing was going to go in for a straight fight.  And, unsurprisingly, he lost after two turns.  But in my Dark Consul mind, the players only won because I let them win…yeah, I wouldn’t buy that either.  The game was fun, it has been a while since I played Super Dungeon Explore.  I guess I was just a bit exhausted with Sodapop miniatures and the delay delay delay of Super Dungeon Legends.  This game was a good short reintroduction for me, and if folks are fans of Dungeon Crawls, or anime, then it is probably for you.  Probably wait until Legends is out for retail as there is a second edition coming out soon too.

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11 thoughts on “Games Night: Super Dungeon Explore

  1. Wow! One of my friends acquired this game, and though I didn’t get to play it, I heard some bad reviews about how the bosses were tough to a point of unfairness. Now I’m thinking that this game, like RPG dungeon crawlers, needs the right storytelling game master to make it fun.

    What I’m trying to get at is thank you for sharing. It’s brought a new perspective on how I look at this game. 🙂

    1. You are quite welcome. And you are quite right. In the core rules, it is my opinion that things are weighted in favour of the dungeon bosses unless you choose your party perfectly (I still don’t know what the perfect party is as the turn order weakens many advantages). I think it boils down to purpose of play. A powerplayer might spend all their effort picking on the weakest link to defeat them guaranteeing a win. Someone else wanting to have a bit of fun might spread the damage to give the players a chance. For me, as consul I don’t ever feel the need to win so long as I get to do cool stuff. I played an entire Descent Campaign which was 9 games long as the villain, won most of them but lost the finale and I was absolutely fine with that because I got to use all of my really cool abilities. And the players got to achieve their objective so everyone was happy. I talked about player motivation in a recent post I wrote about forming the right rpg group. It might be the person your friends had running the consul was only getting fun from winning. Which, in fairness is their job. Perhaps it would be easier for them to just have a bit of fun once the campaign mode in Super Dungeon Legends is released

    2. If you get another chance, give it a go.. It might also be worth swapping the villain around so that your opponent can walk a mile in your shoes etc etc

      1. Exactly! Everyone has a different motive for playing games! Mine, personally, is to have a good time and create a fun story within the game.

        I’ll definitely keep that in mind if I get the chance to play. 🙂

      2. Then, you would probably enjoy Descent: Journeys in the Dark, though I suspect it is rare and pricey as it appears to have completed its run early last year as it is a competitive boardgame/dungeon crawl with lots of cool things for the villain to do even if he ultimately loses. When I was doing some blog research for my Quest for the Perfect RPG series, one of my friends said “Choose your friends carefully” I modified that to choose your players carefully as my friends are my friends, but I wouldn’t game with all of them. The same holds true for boardgames though I am coming to realise I am quite fortunate in my friends and the folk I get to play with

      1. Yes. Though that is going back a good 3 or 4 years now. The version I got was called Super Dungeon Explore: The Forgotten King. That is probably rare and expensive now. A new version should be available in the next few months as a result of their Super Dungeon Legends expansion/game. I say should as the Kickstarter is already mega late. And Yes, Beatrice is probably my favourite boss and miniature. Though I did like the Vampire, Von Drakk as well.

      2. It was a pricey game to start with. I am assuming it’s age makes it scarce making it more expensive. If you are interested in the game I would leave it a few months and hopefully second edition will become available

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