There have been a number of postings on this topic from people who were able to attend the last Mantic Open Day (and ask awkward questions) 😉
This is a sort of round up of where it’s at, and a place for you to ask about stuff if I miss anything. There’s a lot I still can’t tell you yet, not least because it’s not all been decided on. Still, it’s a start.
The cover art for DKH 4 was part of a rolling display at the Open Day.
This will be the fourth DKH game I’ve designed, and those of you that have been around for the ride know that this step has been on my mind since the start. I’ve written about what I wanted to do with this a few times, but things invariably change when they actually happen, so it’s a touch different here and there. The basics are solid though.
Dwarf King’s Hold started out as a 2-player dungeon bash, with each player taking control of a small force of Dwarfs, Undead, Elves or Orcs. In Ancient Grudge I added stats for all sorts of stuff so that you could make up your own adventures. This fourth instalment is a new, stand-alone game that doesn’t require you to have played any of the previous adventures. However, if you have played then you may recognise the chief Bad Guy: Mortibris the Necromancer.
This pose shows the great Necromancer Mortibris as a sort of puppeteer of the Undead. You just need to add the strings 😉
DKH 4 is a 2-5 player game with 2 sides: one is the dungeon full of dangerous beasties, and the other is a party of adventuring heroes. The dungeon is always played by one person, but the adventurers can be divided between different players to accommodate up to 5 players in total. During the game the heroes team up to tackle the dungeon and do heroic things. The player controlling the dungeon full of monsters does their best to stop them.
It is played on a map that is built out of tiles, as before, and like before the games follow a series of narratively linked scenarios or adventures.
The Zombie Troll Shaman – a sort of mini boss.
The rules build on the previous ones with a new layer of even harder characters on top of those we have met before: heroes. These come in several flavours, with some on each side. Note that “Hero” does not always mean “good guy”.
Depending on what I can get Ronnie to agree to, there will hopefully be some back-stabbing going on among the adventurers as well as co-operative play, simply because I find that more entertaining. Pure co-ops have a number of issues that have a habit of reducing my fun, so I’d like to avoid that.
The game will be launched as a Kickstarter some time at the end of July or August. At least, that’s Ronnie’s latest estimate. I don’t think a firm date has been set yet. They’re aiming at a $95-ish sweet spot pledge and the latest idea was to have an early bird that gained you an extra model rather than a small discount. This would be time-based rather than limited in quantity, so something like everyone who pledges on the first weekend gets a LE model. That sort of thing. To me, this sounds like a much better idea as I think that a few dollars off isn’t nearly as cool as an exclusive model. I wish more people did this (especially the projects I pledge for myself).
Two Games In One
Dwarf King’s Hold 4 is really two games in one. The first is a simple and fast game where you are given a story and a puzzle (in the form of a scenario), and the tools to unlock it (in the form of heroes). The miniatures will be pre-assembled or single piece, the dungeons planned out for you, the bad guys and heroes’ stats calculated, and each scenario balanced. This is much like DKH 1 and 2, with added heroes. As the story unfolds, both sides grow in strength and experience, with this all being pre-calculated and balanced. All you need to do is set up and play.
Zombie! I really like this guy. The translucent sword and shield are 3D prints of Basilean stuff, I think. Sadly their ghostly nature won’t be part of the final versions.
The second game is a sandbox. Or, as Ronnie keeps calling the rules, the Book of Depravity. This is where everything becomes an option. Instead of a specific, named individual Dwarf hero, you get the ability to design your own. When you gain experience, you get to choose how you improve. There will be stats for all the models in the Kings Of War range, stuff to do between adventures, items to buy (loot to buy them with), doors to unlock, more spells to conjure, traps to set and so on. You get the idea.
These games lead on from one another in terms of complexity, so you can play through the first game’s scenarios and learn how all the core rules work before worrying about any of the extra level of detail. In fact, you don’t ever need to delve into the options at all as the game is intended to work just fine as the first version. I’m just hoping that you’ll want to.
The backs of a Zombie Troll, Dwarf and Halfling adventurer.
I mainly took this just to show you guys the level of detail on these models.
Most of these pics are clickable for larger versions.
So why the extra gubbins? Why not just add heroes and be done? Well personally, I don’t really feel like designing another, different dungeon game in 6 months. I’d like to get it all out of my system now. DKH is a set of rules that I’m quite fond of, which works well, and is robust enough to take all of the extra chrome a dungeon game could want. I don’t need to reinvent any wheels when this one does the job just fine, thanks. And, the best bit is if I give you guys a sandbox of adventuring to play with, then you can make new adventures for me to try 😉
When DKH 4 is finished, you will be able to play a fun game with your kids, with people new to gaming, or some mates you used to role-play with back in the day. Or, if you’ve got a dedicated gaming group, dig deeper into the whole experience and make up your own adventures, heroes and bad guys to thwart them with. Speaking of making stuff up, I’m sure I heard mutterings about interesting possibilities for apps to help this along from those nice folks at Mantic Digital. Here’s hoping 😉
If all of this sounds exciting then stay tuned for more news of the Kickstart dates. I’ll pass it on as soon as I hear.
Now, did someone at the back have a question?