Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Dungeon Saga Latest
So Mantic put out what seemed to be a pretty late in the day update from people based in England, which I am sure was totally planned and had nothing to do with my post yesterday about the 16 different line items promised but not delivered including as many as 21 scenarios. The talked about some of my points mainly ignoring the scenarios which I am sure they think was dealt with in update 92.
The update addressed a few issues:
Missing character mats. They talked up these character mats for the game which are essentially prewritten character sheets but they moved most of them eventhough the minis were in the base pladge to the add on expansions. While I could only document that they explicitly promised 2 in the base pledge that were not delivered, they sent out digital copies of all of them. Not as good as physical but something.
Quality of Add On Components. They said people can return add on components like counter sets, traps, that they are not happy with. Personally I am not happy but the return cost that they do not mention they will cover amounts to about half the cost of the item for me. So not really worth it but someone who might have 30-50 dollars of them might want to take them up on them.
Missing Digital Adventure Books. So 2 of the backer goals during the campaign were like choose your own adventure books set in the Dungeon Saga universe. They were sort of billed as stuff to read while waiting for the game but they never arrived. Well it turns out that the person writing them is doing it for free and that usually influences how much time can be put into them. Since Mantic has no revenue at all tied to them as the print copies were dropped they pretty much became bottom tier items but will appear at some point. I think most of the backer sort of forgot about them to as they were not mentioned in like a year.
Quality of Adventurers Companion. This is the big boy who is generating a lot of problems for Mantic. In a lot of people opinions this was the core item to the project. After the base game this was what was supposed to allow you to go one and do all these things. This has all the Solo rules, Random Dungeons, Monster Info, Hero Creation, etc. First off it is full of typo issues. All of the page references were left as Page XXX. Then there is a growing list of misprints or partially implemented changes. So Mantic sent out any updated pdf but it was clearly not updated enough. I for example went to look at a line of sight rule and found that the basic rule to my RAW mind (College Degree in Math) says the exact opposite of what they meant and therefore did me no good in answering the actually more complicated question. I then found another set of issues where no monster in that section lists whether its shooting dice are a short or long range attack. I was barely skimming the book and I found these let alone getting into the meat of the thing.
Unfortunately the meat seems to be lacking. While the character design section looks pretty solid and the monsters while short seem to pack a lot of stuff into a tight rule set, the AI, random dungeon, and design a dungeon sections are very short. The Designing a Dungeon section seems to be like what one would write for the introduction of such a section before actually providing the information. The Author of the book is writing from his mind set where he is designing dungeon that will be played by thousands of people so he talks about lots of testing. Most customers are interested in being able to write a mission that will be played once or twice by their friends at most. Maybe then it goes to board game geek where another 10-20 people try it if it turns out good. I do not have time to playtest dungeons that is why I bought this book. The Solo/AI rules might be fine and work great, they are card driven and I do not have the cards to look at yet but the way they are present I think make it very hard to follow what you are supposed to do. You essential draw a card and it tells you the general posture or tactic the monsters will use this turn and then how to determine who the monsters are most concerned about and likely to target but without some concrete models on the board examples it is hard to turn this into a real understanding of what is supposed to happen. I think a flow chart or cheat sheet will be required to learn how these rules actually work and since I do not think it is included it is going to be a problem. When I get my stuff after christmas I will try it on the the basic training missions so I have very simple types of enemies to try to learn it since I know the base game very well.
All this is very unfortunate for Mantic since I am hearing good things about the base game. The overall base game package is pretty good not the best but solid. They run into problems since the first thing people unpack is generally the subpar add ons and the first thing they read is the adventures journal so often you have a bad taste in your mouth so the speak before you play the base game.
Mantic essentially got in to deep here and should have split the shipments into 2 getting backers the Base game and some of the stuff first (which could have gotten the base game into stores earlier than now) then follow one with some more of the expansions and the proper Adventures Journal. That would have cost more but would have been better. This was Mantic's most backed kickstarter in terms of pledgers and exposed their products to a wider audience beyond just x gw players but this is not what you want them to see.
This also comes at a bad time for the retail release as the delays have pushed them to right after the Horus Heresy box set which while in no way related will deplete the cash of a lot of potential customers for a boardgame even if the Horus Heresy game itself is minor and just an excuse to sell the minis.