Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 1-6
Amount of time to play: 60-150 minutes (depending on game mode)
Age requirements: 12+
Set-up time: 10-15 minutes
The Forgotten King is a stand-alone expansion for Super Dungeon Explore. It introduces a new fully cooperative play mode, new heroes and enemies for the new environment and some changes to the original rule set.
Super Dungeon Explore is a board game that simulates an old school video game. The most recent expansion can be played without the base game. There are some new elements introduced in the Forgotten King but it plays very much like the original. If you are unfamiliar with how the game plays read my overview and review here. The rest of this post is going to focus on the new things and changes in the Forgotten King expansion.
The biggest addition to the series is the fully cooperative Arcade Mode. In this mode monsters within a certain number of tiles from the heroes activate. And most form gangs with elite and minion units. Minion units cannot take actions but boost the attacks of the elites that they are bonded to. The monsters perform actions based on the command card you draw. They might move and/or attack, use special unique attacks or spawn points might spawn a slew of new enemies. Monsters in Arcade Mode only have numbers when they attack so you only need to roll defense. Who they attack is based on wrath. When you kill monsters you gain wrath, which makes you a prime target.
There are a handful of other new elements for both Classic and Arcade Modes. Dungeon keys are dropped by mini-bosses and help you get extra treasure. That treasure might include a pet. Pets join the party and are given a master. The pet activates when its master does and grants their master special abilities.
When you enter a new tile you draw an explore card. These might get more enemy units on the newly explored tile, spring a trap or every once in a while aid the heroes.
Princess coins are placed on a tile when its spawn point is removed. You use Princess coins to return dead heroes to action or fully heal any hero.
In addition to your hero’s unique actions, special abilities and attacks all characters may perform some Basic Actions. Basic Actions include bandaging (to heal heroes), scavenge (to find tokens and items), vigor (to remove status effects) and more.
There have also been some revisions to the original rules and Classic Mode. In Classic Mode the consul either activates four skulls worth of monsters or spawns. When you spawn in either mode it damages the spawn point and brings in as many of the monsters to that spawn point as are listed on the card.
You may only drink one potion per activation and only during your activation. One emergency potion may be chugged on the Consul’s activation. You can still share potions but the days of drinking potions whenever you want are gone.
When you kill a elite or minion unit you gain a loot card, up to a maximum of three per activation. And loot is not instantly equipped. Now and the end of each activation there is a power up phase. This is when you equip lot and treasure.
The Forgotten King refines the game play and rules of Super Dungeon Explore. The new Arcade Mode is nice when no one wants to play the consul. And many of the new rules and elements streamline the game.
The components for this expansion are in line with those in the rest of the series. The art is great, the miniatures look really nice (and are pre-assembled) and the rules are written better.
I really like the new Arcade Mode. It runs smooth once you get the hang of how gangs work and lets me play with my son instead of against him. You can even play it solitaire. You can alter the difficulty with suggestions in the rulebook and might want to. We found it a little too easy. But maybe we just got lucky.
Many of the new monsters give the poison status. Some of the monsters gain bonuses when attacking heroes that are poisoned. It creates a nice synergy for the monsters and the consul in Classic Mode. The new heroes are fun to play and unique from the previously released ones.
The game is still a bit fiddly and there is a lot going on. There is a learning curve for this expansion, but it is minimal once you have played a couple times. A player aid would be nice just to ensure you don’t miss anything. There is an abbreviated reference on the back of the rulebooks but a separate detailed player aid sheet would still be nice.
You can buy an upgrade pack to update all the cards from the base game and other expansions that have been released to this point. It is fairly cheap and worth it to be able to play Arcade Mode with all your miniatures.
If you like the original Super Dungeon Explore, you’ll like the Forgotten King expansion. It adds some fun new elements and streamlines the game a bit. If you have not bought the original game this expansion is a great place to start the series.
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 4 out of 6
Complexity 4 out of 6
Fun 5 out of 6
Overall 5 out of 6