Dungeon Degenerates

3rik

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Dungeon Degenerates looks like what I imagine a post-apocalyptic DCC session on acid might be like. What are the rules like?
 

Brock Savage

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Dungeon Degenerates looks like what I imagine a post-apocalyptic DCC session on acid might be like. What are the rules like?
I have no clue! One look at the artwork and I was hooked. But the rational part of me says I had better run it past the 'Pub before I make an impulse buy that I end up regretting.
 

Ladybird

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I'd never heard of Dungeon Degenerates before, but it looks utterly dumb in a very clever and self-aware sort of way. I love the look of it, like a lost 80's GW game.

If you really want to spend money, I think the key question would be; do you have the time in your life to play a Kingdom Death campaign, considering it's likely to be a lot of false starts as you fail and your village ends up in a death spiral and you realise it's not worth going on with this particular run? KD:M looks utterly fantastic for some gaming groups because nothing else really does what it does, but it's a big gamble.
 

Brock Savage

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If you really want to spend money, I think the key question would be; do you have the time in your life
I do indeed lack time and set aside one measly Sunday a month for gaming with my group; I should probably run these choices by the Mrs because that's who I'd be playing with.
 
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Necrozius

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Kingdom Death is pretty cool. Quite expensive, but an unforgettable experience. And you can play it solo, if you can’t get people to play with you (which is likely anyways these days).

Yeah, lots of false starts, but there’s an excitement with planning your next run. “This time I’ll...”.

Screw the Murder Settlement event though. That’s one thing that I actually took out of the game in a rage. After I calmed down, a few weeks later, I read it over again more rationally. I had to stop myself from angrily getting a lighter and burning it.

Great game though.
 

KrakaJak

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I have played a few games of Kingdom death. It is very interesting, and a well designed game. The monster AI is interesting. The survival and citybuilding is also very well done. The Monster Hunter meets Dark Souls comparisons are apt. It's also incredibly expensive.

I haven't played Dungeon Degenerates. It's pretty well received. The core box starts at $80, so it's more in range of most high production board games compared to Kingdom Death.
 

Duskwight

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I have no clue! One look at the artwork and I was hooked. But the rational part of me says I had better run it past the 'Pub before I make an impulse buy that I end up regretting.
No kidding, that looks like an acid trip of an art piece. Add me to the interested pile.
 

Simlasa

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There are a number of reviews and playthroughs of Dungeon Degnerates on YouTube.
Between the two it's the more appealing to me, mostly because I'm like the art... and am not a fan of the figures in the other.
 

Brock Savage

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I have been lagging on my Dungeon Degenerates review and have it sitting here on the worktable beside me. The tokens are separated into a Plano box but I'm still waiting for my card sleeves to arrive along with an expansion pack of more characters. I know it's weird but I take good care of my board games and wont play until everything is sleeved and organized.
 

Brock Savage

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I sleeved all the mini cards and organized all the tokens while I worked. The art is just great and there is so much of it in loving detail everywhere; the only duplicate art I have noticed is in rulebook sidebar examples which is pretty damn impressive for the sheer volume of work by one artist.
 

Brock Savage

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Okay I finally played Dungeon Degenerates solo as part of my goal to master the rules before I present it to my friends. TLDR if you are on the fence buy it.

Remember Warhammer back in the day when it was cool and brutally metal? The lore and art is kinda like that but American, on acid, and with various dials turned up to 11. I very much dig it and can imagine running an RPG based on the art and lore using the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay or Zwiehander rules.

Quality is impressively high for an indie game produced by a small business. Unfortunately the clips that hold the adventurer standees are cheap and far too tight. I threw them out and use my Fantasy Flight ones instead; they fit a lot better and wont risk ruining my standees. Character stats are tracked with 5 tiny counters that just beg to be lost. I am already thinking of replacing them with appropriately colored d20s.

As for the rules, I recommend reading the rulebook once before playing to familiarize yourself and keeping it handy. I find myself referring to the monster abilities frequently. That being said the rules make sense and everything fits together well once you grok the system as a whole.

Gameplay is traipsing across this crazy world in pursuit of various objectives in a campaign of 4 or 5 missions, That seems straightforward enough but each mission offers multiple choices that can greatly change the campaign narrative. For example, the first mission On the Run starts with the characters in prison with the jailer offering the players a deal: he will spring the characters free if they retrieve and deliver a package to his cousin in Pigskin Port. At this point the players can choose to reject the offer which kicks off another mission Loot & Pillage where they fight their way out of the dungeon and follow up on various leads for treasure. If the players accept the jailer's offer and retrieve the package (the head of a soothsayer babbling in an ancient tongue), more options open up such as abandoning the head and hiding out, delivering it to some village elders, or even listening to the head and bringing it home. All of the options lead to different missions offering a good variety in playthroughs.

Combat is frequent; it reminds me of the NES Final Fantasy games where travelling from point A to B involves a lot of fighting. Kind of grindy but a good grind because the monsters hit like a truck and you need the sweet sweet XP for skills. Most of the decision making in combat is whether to be in assault or guard stance (protip: if your character is being targeted, go into guard stance. If not, go into assault stance and whale on some monsters) and which gear/abilities to use.

Travelling alone is not recommended as a lone character is incredibly vulnerable to monsters (if playing solo use 2 characters and not 1). One one hand I can see a concern about limiting player agency but on the other hand it's a common conceit in tough co-op board games that if someone starts fucking around and doing their own thing it makes the game more difficult for everyone else.

Much like Pandemic or Eldritch Horror there is an ever present time pressure. Each turn some part of the world grows increasingly dangerous which could have disastrous, game-ending results if left unchecked. I like this sort of tension and have played enough of these games to intuitively stick to objectives, limit rests, and fast travel whenever possible. Kinda of cool thing about DD is that resting isn't just a wasted turn where you recover some HP, there are things you can do like learn or improve skills, explore the area, and trade.

Value. Are the core rules worth $80? By pretty much any metric I can think of the answer is "yes". I don't imagine that a small boutique company like Goblinko is making a ton of money off the boxed set. Things get trickier with the expansions. I paid $40 for 8 expansion characters which to me was worth it because it offers 8 more ways to play and enjoy the game. That said, if you rate an expansion's value solely by how much "stuff" and components you get it is not a lot of value. I ordered all the expansion content after my first session because I very much enjoyed myself and am happy to support a small company with the guts to produce an adventure game that deviates from the standard Tolkien derivative vanilla fantasy.
 

3rik

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Do you have some pics? Can you tell us a little more about the setting?
 

Smith

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I recently learnt about DD and am on the fence, as I love the concept behind it and I enjoy researching co-op games for my own game i'm designing.
 

Brock Savage

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Do you have some pics? Can you tell us a little more about the setting?
Unfortunately my workload is pretty heavy and it is difficult for me to provide pics at the moment. Fortunately, someone else has already done a decent job. When work is over and if I feel motivated I might snap a pic or two. Also check out the rulebook on pdf for some artwork and lore. The artwork is just top notch.

Dungeon Degenerates is set on the eastern frontier (the Borderlands) of a once-great Empire (the Wurstreich) that feels like the 16th century Holy Roman Empire on acid. The world is decaying and multiple threats are poised to destroy what remains of civilization. This might sounds like the backstory to Warhammer but besides the crumbling fantasy HRE angle Dungeon Degenerates has a very distinct identity all its own. The characters are criminals, outcasts, freaks and losers recently sprung from prison and on the run from the Law.

There are no Tolkien races like elves, dwarfs, halflings etc. I ran into a monster called a sex dwarf but dwarf in that case refers to the medical condition. There are goblins as imagined by John Blanche on acid and pig-face orcs (best orcs are pig-faced). There are many weird humanoids like scrogs and fishoids which are all hostile to mankind

is it gonzo? I guess you could say so but this isn't the lazy and boring LOLrandum stuff I normally associate with the genre in RPGs. Yes the setting is chock full of incredibly strange things but all works for the setting and there are no anachronisms.

TLDR the lore is good enough that I am buying the lore books from Goblinko to see if I can make it work using WHFRP or a clone like Zwiehander or SBVD .

I recently learnt about DD and am on the fence, as I love the concept behind it and I enjoy researching co-op games for my own game i'm designing.
What kind of co op game are you designing?

If you are on the fence let me ask you this: do you have a group to play with? If so, buy it, it is tons of fun with others. On the other hand I played an entire campaign solo to master the rules but probably wouldn't do it again because board games to me are a social thing.

I do find the combat and task resolution system interesting and like the use of keywords but you don't need to buy the game for that. The rulebook is only part of the picture because cards use keywords to relate to each other. Not the newest idea in the world but in this case it was executed well, keeping a lot of rules on the cards and increasing complexity while ensuring the rulebook stays tight.

Advancement is primarily horizontal. Skills and gear give you more options but there isn't any one thing that grants a large increase in power. By the end of a campaign my character was more powerful and better at their role but not to a massive degree. I was always a few bad rolls/choices from disaster.

One criticism common to pretty much every co-op adventure game I've played is that the characters that support the playstyle I desire are often hidden in expansions. For example I wanted to play a tanky hardass fighter and had to buy the Adventurer expansion pack for $40 to get the Dishonored Knight and Soldier of Fortune characters. Again this practice is so common among adventure board games that I pretty much expect it but worth mentioning for someone who is new.
 
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3rik

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When I saw Dungeon Degenerates on Kickstarter I thought it looked very cool but I figured it would be too rules-dense for me to ever get to play it. Also, I sort of vowed to not buy any more boardgames until I've actually played the unplayed ones I already got (Massive Darkness, a shitload of Dark Souls, two boxes of Hellboy, two boxes of Folklore, and a shitload of Bloodbourne coming up :sweat:). I'm not great at quickly grabbing and internalizing rules and of late have been suffering from a lack of motivation and focus to dive into a boardgame, unfortunately...

Dungeon Degenerates is set on the eastern frontier (the Borderlands) of a once-great Empire (the Wurstreich) that feels like the 16th century Holy Roman Empire on acid. The world is decaying and multiple threats are poised to destroy what remains of civilization. This might sounds like the backstory to Warhammer but besides the crumbling fantasy HRE angle Dungeon Degenerates has a very distinct identity all its own. The characters are criminals, outcasts, freaks and losers recently sprung from prison and on the run from the Law.

There are no Tolkien races like elves, dwarfs, halflings etc. I ran into a monster called a sex dwarf but dwarf in that case refers to the medical condition. There are goblins as imagined by John Blanche on acid and pig-face orcs (best orcs are pig-faced). There are many weird humanoids like scrogs and fishoids which are all hostile to mankind

is it gonzo? I guess you could say so but this isn't the lazy and boring LOLrandum stuff I normally associate with the genre in RPGs. Yes the setting is chock full of incredibly strange things but all works for the setting and there are no anachronisms.
This actually sounds like it's the setting that should have come with Mörk Borg. Or it could be a DCC-based game.
 
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Smith

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What kind of co op game are you designing?
It's a resistance-fleet themed game, with 3 paths to victory to free a region of space from it's overbearing empire. I'm still pretty early in development but finding other sources for inspiration mechanics wise is never a bad thing! I'll check out DD's rules PDF.
 
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