Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 2-6
Amount of time to play: 60-150 minutes (depending on game mode)
Age requirements: 13+
Set-up time: 10-15 minutes
Von Drakk Manor is the second expansion for Super Dungeon Explore. This set has an undead theme and adds new heroes, new spawn points, new minions and a new boss and mini-boss.
Super Dungeon Explore is a board game that simulates an old school video game. Von Drakk Manor brings new elements and tactics to the base game.
If you have not played Super Dungeon Explore, you should read my review of it. I explain the basic rules and mechanics of the system there. The rest of this post will be about the new things introduced in the Von Drakk Manor expansion.
The first mechanical addition I am going to explain is offensive potions. Offensive potions may only be used during a model’s activation. They are free to use costing just a potion but no activation points and require an attack and defense roll. Since this set is undead themed you know there has to be necromancers. That means raising dead. Some units leave a bone pile when they die and may be raised. The heroes can use movement points to stomp on the bone piles and crush them to dust. The other new mechanics involve the dungeon itself. When you target spawn points you must reduce your range by two and eliminating a spawn point causes the tile to rotate 90 degrees.
Just like in the last expansion, Von Drakk Manor includes three new heroes. Von Wilding has a whip with reach two. He also carries Holy Water and Holy Oil. These are offensive potions that make enemies vulnerable to holy attacks and inflict holy fire damage. When used together these potions can be deadly. Von Wilding can also shapeshift (like the druid in the base game) into a large werewolf. In this form he is very fast and can inflict allies and enemies with lycanthropy. This adds to their attack dice and makes them vulnerable to magic attacks like him. The Celestial Herald can fly and shoot at range. She has a spray 4 attack that can hit many enemies at once. She also has a longer ranged attack with hookshot to target enemies she can’t see. The last new hero, Sister of Light, is a cleric. She can reroll a single die when making an attack and has pretty hefty armor. She can heal the heroes and remove status effects too.
The new enemies add some interesting abilities. There is a giant Crypt Spider that can poison the heroes or spin a web to slow them down. As I mentioned above there is a Necromancer that can raise bone piles and compel the new skeletons forward. The Dust Mages can raise bone piles too and once killed become bone piles for others to raise. Dread Knights and Boneheads also become bone piles once defeated. Both are standard melee units with the Dread Knight being a bit tougher. Rattle Bones have the mob trait and are what all bone piles become. Skullbats are small units that activate and spawn in pairs. And Curse Coven Witches have a tough bolt that stuns and knockdowns their target. The Witches also begin with and offensive potion that turns players into toads. You can attack as a toad but your stats and abilities change, usually for the worse.
The new mini-boss is a Death Spectre. He auto hits and then heals himself. He can also teleport anywhere within ten squares that he has line of sight to.
Von Drakk can also heal but only when he rolls a heart on a hit (like the heroes). When he enters the fight he raises all the bone piles on the board. Once he is reduced to half his health he summons a group of Dread Knights, Dust Mages and Boneheads to fight by his side. Von Drakk can boost the attacks of all undead and also shapeshift into a giant bat-like creature, Nocturne. In this state he flies, has the berserk trait and has a wave three stun attack.
Von Drakk Manor gives both the players and consul more options. The new units add some interesting new tactics and situations to Super Dungeon Explore.
This expansion has components similar in quality to the base game. Just like in Caverns of Roxor, you don’t need to build the miniatures for this expansion. The miniatures look fantastic in this expansion. The consul’s miniatures are purple and the details on them are great.
The last expansion paid homage to Mario and Zelda and this one seems to give a nod to Castlevania. The new heroes are excellent and add some fun playing options for the players.
The witches are fun to play and I love that they can turn players into toads. Just is cool that while in toad form you can still act. And you can be returned to normal with a simple kiss. What’s not to like?
Death Spectre and Von Drakk are tough foes that can be hard to take down because they can heal. You need to concentrate your attacks to make sure you wipe them out.
The bone piles add some difficulty and I like how the heroes must use movement points to crush them. Not only does it make sense thematically but it slows them down a bit.
I really like the Von Drakk Manor expansion. Everything is done well and adds to an already great game. If you want to add some fun new things to Super Dungeon Explore, you should pick this up. You won’t regret it.
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