Monday, December 17, 2012

Dungeon Twister 2: Prison: The Loser

Dungeon Twister 2: Prison.

To begin a journey, you must first take the first step. But even before you take that first step, you have to find a comfortable pair of shoes. This post is about finding those shoes.

Are they comfortable? I don't know yet.

Let me kick back on the therapy couch and just let everything out.

For some reason, which I cannot fully explain, I am absolutely no good at these types of games. I understand what I'm supposed to do. I get the same number of actions/turns as everyone else. It's totally fair. Yet I just can't do it. I squander my opportunities somehow, leaving my board wide open to easy pickings.

This extends to every "miniature" game I have ever played…even the ones without miniatures. The common characteristic seems to involve moving many playing pieces together in a team-like fashion. And its definitely not a matter of "needs more practice" because I have practiced.

During a good stretch of my younger years, I was what they call now a "mono" gamer. I had one game system I devoted my entire mental energy/gaming budget on. And that was Warhammer 40K. In my entire career of playing…game after game, basement after basement, I won maybe 2 battles. And on the other side of the scales maybe lost 40, 50 times, I don't know how many times I played. But I kept losing, and I never got any better. I have hundreds of miniatures.

And this lackluster performance continued into the smaller Games Workshop games like Blood Bowl, Necromunda and Mordheim.

I still play Blood Bowl today, mostly in the electronic form. And I still lose, just as much. That's about 20 years of solid losing experience.

And you know what, I still love playing. The part of me that gets upset at losing was burned away long ago in a crucible of infinite defeat at the hands of a dedicated Space Wolves player.

Of the Games Workshop games in my databanks, the closest parallel to Dungeon Twister is Blood Bowl. Despite the lack of a ball, the argument can be easily made Dungeon Twister is at its heart a sports game. Your "team" works together to achieve the two different game-winning objectives: to kill/knock-out opposing players and to escape the Dungeon Twister field. Each completed objective earns you 1 victory point, and the first player to score 5 points wins.

Much like Blood Bowl, the careful Dungeon Twister player has to cover the entire field, because players are constantly looking for a quick avenue past your defenses into the end zone/freedom.

Unlike Blood Bowl, the "playing field" is not a dirt pitch but instead an awesome Deathtrap-style dungeon complete with pits, arrow slits, locked gates, rotating rooms and labyrinthine corridors. The actual path to the end zone is never very clear, and usually involves quite a bit of team work. There is one rope, one key, one bow/arrow set, etc. allocated to each side and only one object can be held at one time by any character.

The typical Dungeon Twister room

Obstacles tend to stack up in such a way that no single player can get through on their own. For instance: one character has to operate the rotating room mechanism for another player, who then uses the newly open corridor in front of him to run along and crawl across a pit using his rope. Hopefully someone has already unlocked the gate on the other side of the pit. There's a lot of teamwork, and a lot of carefully figuring things out.

My dad, upon seeing the game, immediately wondered if "Prison" referred to the level of fun or the game length. Indeed, one of the problems I am having with this game is the length. Because if neither player knows what they are doing and there isn't any pressure to finish, the game can go on indefinitely.

I can understand tactics. I can understand using my Backstabber to sneak up on a Colossus who my Cleric is fighting. But there is inevitably a pit in the way, and the rope is on the wrong side of the board. And my Naga (who is the speediest and most maneuverable of characters by far) is already halfway to freedom…screw the rest of these poor suckers.

I leave you now with Dungeon Twister 2, in the native French.

My next installment will cover the unique character selection of this game.

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