DUNGEONQUEST in Review

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MB Updated January 28, 2015

jabba-19091 Pictured is the kind of tragedy that can happen when somebody too big for the britches and no one around to say "no, that would suck" thinks that they can fix something that has been popular and successful for over twenty years.  It is also a sly metaphor for the new combat system in FFG's reissue of DUNGEONQUEST- like Jabba the Hutt, it is fat, bloated, incongrous, and sluggish.

In this week's review of DUNGEONQUEST, I found that it was actually kind of hard just to lay into the game because, well, it is still DUNGEONQUEST despite FFG's boldest attempts to "reimagine" the game.  Most of the good stuff is there...you just have to deal with the board gaming analogue of a crudely inserted Jabba the Hutt.

I call on FFG to remedy this situation and make this game right and to demonstrate that they respect the 20+ history that this game has as a cult favorite. All it takes is a five dollar, online only mini-expansion that has the original characters, original combat chits, and a couple of card swaps so that the consumer has the choice to decide whether they want the new "improved" combat or the original game as written. They should also throw in a D12, because the 2D6 thing doesn't work for this game. The damage done by transposing the Terrinoth setting over it is probably irreversible, but at least let us have the original rules. Of course, the irony of this is that GW put their own setting over the original, much more generic DRAKENBORGEN...but the DUNGEONQUEST we know and love is the one with Champions of Chaos, Snotlings, and Sir Rohan. Amirite?

The bottom line- if I can buy a game like CONQUEST OF THE EMPIRE and play the updated version as well as the original, why shouldn't I be able to with DUNGEONQUEST? If FFG's competitors are reissuing games with great success WITHOUT messing with them, why does FFG feel like they need to??

Part of what makes a reissue great is that it shows how gaming has a rich history and how there have been different periods of design thinking.  It also shows that playing a game that's twenty years old can be every bit as fun as it was back then. But if everything just gets updated, then that gets regrettably lost.

So it's not the hellfire and brimstone review you'd expect...but I'm certainly not very kind to the decisions that were made on high that resulted in the release being yet another disappointment from FFG in a year with already one or two too many. 

 


Michael is a member of the Fortress: Ameritrash staff, and a regular columnist for Gameshark.

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Sometime in the early 1980s, MichaelBarnes’ parents thought it would be a good idea to buy him a board game to keep him busy with some friends during one of those high-pressure, “free” timeshare vacations. It turned out to be a terrible idea, because the game was TSR’s Dungeon! - and the rest, as they say, is history. Michael has been involved with writing professionally about games since 2002, when he busked for store credit writing for Boulder Games’ newsletter. He has written for a number of international hobby gaming periodicals and popular Web sites. From 2004-2008, he was the co-owner of Atlanta Game Factory, a brick-and-mortar retail store. He is currently the co-founder of FortressAT.com and Nohighscores.com as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Miniature Market’s Review Corner feature. He is married with two childen and when he’s not playing some kind of game he enjoys stockpiling trivial information about music, comics and film. 

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