Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 2
Amount of time to play: 60-90 min
Age requirements: 10+
Set-up time: 5-10 min
Super Dungeon Explore Arena is an expansion that changes this game from a cooperative dungeon crawl to a two-player skirmish.
Though it changes some of the rules from the base game, Super Dungeon Explore Arena still follows the same combat and movement system from the original game. If you are unfamiliar with these concepts, you should read my overview and review and then check out this post.
To start Super Dungeon Explore Arena you choose one hero, one mini-boss and two spawn points from the base game or any expansion you own. If the spawn point is a paired one you must take both of them. But you may choose two different non-paired spawn points. Along with the two spawn points you get all the monsters they spawn.
You then randomly pick a scenario, Crystal Capture, King of the Hill or Destruction. Crystal Capture is like capture the flag, King of the Hill requires you to hold the center of the board, and Destruction is an eliminate the opposing player scenario.
Next you and your opponent place your hero, spawn points and monsters on the map. The mini-boss does not start in play and may only be spawned once you have lost a spawn point.
Each round you roll with your Will stat to see who takes their turn first. On your turn you may take one of four actions; activate your hero, activate monsters, spawn or go to the store. Activating a hero is much the same as in the base game. You can move, attack and activate any special abilities the hero has.
Again, when you activate monsters, the game play is much the same as the base game. You may only activate four skulls worth of monsters on your turn.
When you spawn you may place your hero or your mini-boss (provided you are down to one spawn point) by either spawn point. Or you may place every monster that a spawn point produces next to the corresponding spawn point. No matter what you spawn the spawn point loses one health.
When you kill an 8 or 16-bit monster you gain one loot card (up to a max of 5 per turn). You get two loot cards for taking out a hero or mini-boss. You can assign these loot cards to your hero as usual and to your mini-boss like it was a hero. You can also visit the store and trade in four loot cards for a treasure card. Treasure cards can be assigned to heroes or your mini-boss normally. Or you can assign one treasure card to a spawn point. When you do this all monster associated with that spawn point gain the abilities from the treasure.
This set comes with a new hero, the Arena Champion that you may use in your Super Dungeon Explore games. She has six movement and three actions. She can use all those actions to perform an attack that gets +1 green die and does Massive Damage. For two actions she has a Wave 1, Push 2 attack. And for one actions point she can Retreat five squares. Her potion is a Wave 1, Heal 1.
Each scenario has different win conditions. But if you meet the requirements first you win.
Super Dungeon Explore Arena gives you a fun new way to experience SDE. It lets you pick and command mini-bosses and monsters that fight side-by-side with your hero. And though it doesn’t drastically change the gameplay it does introduce some new things.
The components for this expansion match those in Forgotten King. The miniature looks great and the artwork is good too. The rules are well written and there is a nice summary of the turns and effects on the back of them.
The best thing about Super Dungeon Explore Arena is getting to use monsters, mini-bosses and heroes all on one team. You can mix and match different miniatures from different sets to create unique and fun teams. It gives you an opportunity to try different combinations to find synergies you wouldn’t look for in the normal game.
The new Arena Champion hero is fun to play. Of course she excels at the scenarios in this expansion. Her Massive damage attack helps her in Destruction mode. Being able to push other miniatures is nice for King of the Hill. And Retreat makes moving in the Crystal Capture scenario easier.
The scenarios are a mixed bag. They are good but I am not sure it is not worth just destroying your opponent’s spawn points and ignoring the win condition. Once you cut off your opponent’s way to get more miniatures, you can get points for the win condition easier. So it can just turn into SDE with different teams.
I enjoyed Super Dungeon Explore Arena and like how it lets you use mini-bosses and monsters while not playing the console or in co-op mode. This expansion adds replay value to the other sets you own. I am not sure the scenarios change this from a skirmish but still enjoy the experience. If this expansion sounds interesting pick it up or give it a try. It isn’t a must buy but it does add some variety to the game play of the base games.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 4 out of 6
Luck 4 out of 6
Player Interaction 5 out of 6
Replay Value 5 out of 6
Complexity 4 out of 6
Fun 4 out of 6
Overall 4 out of 6