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Super Dungeon Tactics Impression - Gen Con
08.18.2016

ZACH WELHOUSE


Steam

Super Dungeon Tactics is a turn-based strategy game developed by Underbite Games based on Soda Pop Miniatures' Super Dungeon Explore board game. However, the mechanics are different enough that Super Dungeon Tactics is its own beast. Corey Heald, creative director of Underbite Games, explains, "It's something a little bit new and challenging, but comfortable." This is an apt description; I wasn't breaking any paradigms while leading my chubby warriors to victory in the demo, but adapting my tactics to the randomness of battle was fun.

Despite the new mechanics, Super Dungeon Tactics showcases its board game roots. For example, the player rolls a handful of bonus dice at the start of each combat round: one for each hero and enemy lieutenant. The player and enemy lieutenants take turns assigning these bonuses. Each die's potential bonuses depend on the corresponding character's equipment; speedy equipment will give a character's bonus die extra move actions while heroic equipment contains special offensive and defensive maneuver icons. A character assigned one of these icons during a round can unleash a powerful ability. My paladin's blue special ability was a healing counter called Quick Prayer, and his red ability was a powerful Gauntlet Punch. Whenever he wasn't assigned one of these icons, he was able to move and attack normally with his sword.

Each of the campaign mode's fifteen recruitable heroes constitutes a separate class with its own abilities. During the demo I used a sturdy barbarian with a wide-swinging axe, a long-ranged ranger, a double-attacking thief with poisoned daggers, and a paladin who could heal and set people on fire with his sword. My abilities were fixed for the demo, but the game promises several vectors for customization. Each class can be keyed to different affinities (Strength, Magic, Healing, and Support) and can access two classes of weapons from a pool of nine (e.g. sword and axe for the paladin, bow and crossbow for the ranger.) Character advancement is handled through new equipment, so swapping in the best equipment for each battle is an important step toward victory.

The demo's focus was on the combat system, which appears to be the game’s major draw. The campaign mode tells the story of a pair of wandering adventurers who discover a mysterious town and use it as a base for their fledgling guild of heroes. Many of the guild's heroes will be recruited as the story progresses, although there will be skippable allies. The game will also include plot-free skirmishes and multiplayer combat.

Super Dungeon Tactics will be available via Steam in October 2016 for $20 or with the purchase of the $35 Iron Golem figurine for Super Dungeon Explore board game. Additional content is already in the planning stages, so fans can also look forward to free DLC and additional paid campaigns if the game is well-received.



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