Dungeon Sagas is more than a game: it’s at least two games¹.
The boxed set is divided into a Core game and an Advanced game. We’ve mentioned this distinction before, and those of you who came along to the seminars at the last Mantic Open Day will have heard Ronnie and I talking about this. Of course, not all of you were there, so it’s probably helpful to mention it again.
In some ways, the terms Core and Advanced are a bit misleading, though in others they’re quite appropriate². On the one hand it implies that one supersedes the other (which is not really true), on the other it suggests you should start with the Core and build on that (which you should). What you really need to know is that no matter how many times you’ve played the game, both versions remain viable ways to play – it just depends on what you want out of the game.
The key difference is one of choice. In the Core game everything is laid out for you; in Advanced you can choose a lot more for yourself. A lack of choice may sound like a bad thing, but it’s not. What it means is that you don’t have to worry about which Heroes to use, what tiles to lay or which monsters defend them. It’s all sorted for you: you can just open the box and play. Being entirely predefined like this also means that the scenarios can be more closely balanced.
So, the Core game:
- is much quicker to set up and play.
- is easier to teach new players the rules.
- plays quicker.
- has better balanced (“fairer”) scenarios.
There are always going to be times when you have less time to play, want to introduce new folk to the game, or simply feel like a simpler, quicker experience. Also, some people will prefer this version, and that’s fine. Not everyone wants bells and whistles. We included both versions precisely because everyone’s not the same and even those who want all the fancy extras will sometimes just want a quick game to fill in at the end of a gaming session. Personally, I expect to play both versions.
The Advanced game builds on the strong foundation of the Core rules. This adds choice to most areas of the game³. Choice is nice if you want to try waggling all the game’s levers and playing with all the settings. However, this choice does come at an increased investment of time. If you want to create Heroes, build dungeons, allocate monsters and treasure, work out objectives, buy and sell items, gain experience, visit the market, temple or pub between adventures, and all that good stuff, then someone’s got to sit down and do it. Some of you (and I expect this will include many of the Kickstarter crowd) will revel in the options we have planned for this. Others will blanche at the mutability of it all and just want the simpler world of the Core game where things are laid out for you. As I said, including both versions allows more people to join in the fun.
Of course, yet another cool thing about including both versions is that the community who like tinkering with the Advanced rules can design their own dungeons and then post them on line for everyone (including those who don’t feel like making their own) to play 🙂
So there you have it: 2+ quite different games for the price of 1.
1: Actually, by the time we’re done I think it’s probably about half a dozen different ways of playing and different games, but that’s for another article…
2: Naming things accurately can be such a conundrum.
3: At least, I hope it will. Note that not all of the options mentioned here are currently included. I’m writing on the basis that we will do well enough in the Kickstarter to unlock all this. Fingers crossed 🙂