Dungeon Saga: Presentation (I)

To inaugurate this website I think the best idea is to do with an article presenting the reason that has motivated it. It can be said that Dungeon Saga is the motor and the origin of this website so although not the only source of content that is fair inaugurate talking about this great game.

Throughout a series of articles we will analyze the game starting with Dwarf King Quest and ending with current and expected expansions.

It all started with Kings of War, the game designed by Alessio Cavatore to compete against Games Workshop´s Warhammer Fantasy Battles. Alessio, a former designer at GW pulled off a balanced and simple game, quick to learn and despite being simpler than Warhammer is not a bad rival. To this it was added that Mantic had a wide range of models in 28 mm whose equivalence with the races and cultures of the GW´s Old World was more than evident, so many fans of a game were transferred to another without any trauma.

Since GW ceased edition of Warhammer Quest, last in the series of dungeoneering games that had begun Heroquest, fans had been somewhat orphans. It is true that arose other options like Descent, which we’ll discuss in a future article, with its pros and cons but it was not the same.

Mantic was specializing in “copy” or “honor” GW games and soon emerge an attempt to heir of Warhammer Quest. His name was Dwarf King’s Hold.

But it was somewhat peculiar.

Dwarf King’s Hold

In Dwarf King’s Hold we went into the depths of a dwarf fortress where a group of brave defenders trying to stop the undead forces of the necromancer Mortibris. The necromancer is looking for something in the catacombs of dwarf kings but its defenders are unwilling to allow the forces of “no life” taking up their fortress.

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It is a battle game for two players in which one takes control of the dwarven defenders and other undead raiders in a series of six stages. Therefore it is not really a dungeoneering game but a game of skirmishes with the particularity of these happen in a dungeon.

The playground is modular and consists of corridors and rooms with squares with which form the game map. The material is thick cardboard although one of its most common complaints is that it is too thin.

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It Includes 32 miniatures:

  • By the dwarves are five Ironclad Warriors, two Shieldbreakers and a dwarf Mastiff
  • And by undead twelve skeletons, ten revenant and two skeleton hounds.

Two more boxes are commercialized:

  • One of expansion called Dwarf King’s Hold: Ancient Grudge. This expanded the number of players to five, introducing new troops and rules.
  • Moreover Dwarf King’s Hold: Green Menace is a start box as the original with a very similar approach but confronting orcs against elves. Obviously it is perfectly compatible expanding the range of races to choose from and the tiles with which to build dungeons.

Then for a while there was no news about this game and everyone assumed it was over. Mantic then announced a patronage campaign on Kickstarter to produce a new dungeoneering game: Dungeon Saga

Dungeon Saga

Mantic in 2015 launched a campaign of patronage through the Kickstarter platform to publish their new game: Dungeon Saga .

The campaign was a great success and raised over a million dollars.

There are two main reasons for the success of the campaign:

  • Many GW´s dungeoneering games nostalgic saw Mantic as their heir and trusted have a great game.
  • As is common in the campaigns of Mantic is quite simple and relatively inexpensive to make tons of plastic as miniatures so although not interest the game can be juicy.

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Dungeon Saga is more similar to what was Warhammer Quest, with a group of heroes (Barbarian, Dwarf, Elf and Wizard) that goes into an ancient fortress of the dwarves to prevent Mortibris be done with Valandor Tome and trigger an apocalypse of non-life in the world. Do you remember anything? Indeed, Mortibris the necromancer could finish with the dwarven defenders of the fortress and seize their relics so now must be gathered great heroes of the corners of the world to confront him. It is for all purposes a continuation of the events described in Dwarf King’s Hold .

During the campaign of patronage different aesthetic considerations were varied: some miniatures design, part of the rules … but the most striking thing for me was the change, the better, in the game box. Yes, I know it can be secondary and to some is silly but for me the game wins points for the box.

I explain.

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Box first design

At the initial images we saw a normal box, with its quite acceptable illustration with characters fighting the undead forces but the final design is a rigid cardboard box in the form of ancient book, rounded back and close with magnets enclosing the content of the game. Magnificent! You can put it on the shelf as if it were a book, and if you have the expansions make an impressive collection. A great success for my opinion.

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Box final design

When you open the box you find lots of bags with miniatures, cardboard plates with floor slabs and markers, character sheets and scenery. All very well placed, that way you know that as soon as you can never open the bags and place them again. It is a detail to thank that the box includes extra bags with closure to accommodate the contents of the box once detach the slabs and markers.

The miniatures are of good quality, made in resin of different colors depending on what kind of being we have at hand: Blue for heroes, bone white for minions and gray for bosses. Being resin miniatures are slightly bent and you have to straighten them before painting. At the rulebook gives you tips on how to do it. This will be discussed in another article.

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On the side of heroes we have Orlaf the Barbarian, Madriga the elven ranger, Danor the magician and Rordin the dwarf warrior. Fully archetypal characters whose characteristics are well reflected in the rules.

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At the minions we have a selection of skeletons with melee weapons or bows, zombies, zombies in armor, Dwarven revenants, ghosts … Zombie Trolls! They are quite acceptable miniatures among which I would highlight the Dwarven revenants and zombie trolls.

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Finally we have the bosses who are Mortibris and his lieutenants: Elshara the banshee, Hoggar the zombie troll shaman and Grund the Undead Dwarf King.

One thing that has Dungeon Saga , which had Heroquest and I really miss in some games is the scenery. What better way to give color and life to the dungeon that placing in it chests, thrones, shelves … not just cardboard markers but good quality miniature. And Dungeon Saga fulfills admirably in this respect: its scenery is detailed and beautiful.

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The slabs which will form the dungeons are of good quality thick cardboard that fix the defect commented on Dwarf King’s Hold . A few clips are included in clear plastic to attach the slabs but I find it can be uncomfortable to use them and have not left the bag.

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In addition the game is completed with cards for spells, magic items or cards of Overlord, which is the player who leads Mortibris forces. These are correct quality, perhaps very thin, and standard size, which is appreciated when put them covers.

The material is of good quality and transmit good feelings. Open the box and want to be throwing dice against your friends is immediate.

In future articles in this series we will discuss the rules of the game, the Adventurer’s Companion, an essential extension, of the expansions with new quests…

Welcome to Dungeon Saga.

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