June 27, 2012
The complete walkthrough to Super Dungeon Explore. This guide explains how to best use all the heroes, monster, treasure cards and tile sections to not only have a great game, but have a brutal one too!
As you guys know, ever since I got my copy cheap from Wayland Games when it first came out, I've always love a bit of Super Dungeon Explore to break up playing 40K all the time. And as a big fan of board games I took a month of Sundays to paint my set to a high standard.
But now, having played over two dozen games of Super Dungeon Explore, I'm ready to share my secrets and help you create the best party of heros possible, whether you're playing a 3 or a 5 hero game.
Generally we always play a 3 hero game, because a 5 hero game takes too damned long! In fact, even the 3 hero game takes about 3 hours to play - which is a shame because some heroes are only good in a 5 hero party.
The Royal Paladin
Everyone takes the Paladin because he's an all round fighter, but most importantly he's a great healer. First of all, he has the Healer skill, which gives him 2 hearts for each heart rolled on a successful attack. Meanwhile his potion heals 3 wounds and 3 negative status effects, making him a real life saver.
His Iron Halo ability also boosts the armour of those around him while his Smite attack is great for inflicting damage and setting multi-wound enemies on fire!
The Hearthsworn Fighter
The Dwarf is a close combat monster. He's strong, he's tough and with his Cleave ability, he can slay up to 9 enemies in a single turn! He also has 6 wounds, making him highly resilient.
Give this man a Green attack dice (and some Red ones!) and watch him butcher everything in his path. If you can give him some armour boosts as well, the dungeon master will have to simply keep their evil minions away from him altogether.
He has a Dwarfen Curse ability, but we've never had much luck with it. His potion is confusing and a bit rubbish too -which is why we always give him the Dragon's Blood potion. He can easily take the wound after drinking it and the +1 Red attack dice usually helps him to not only win the lost wound back, but butcher a whole bunch of bad guys as well!
The Ember Mage
She takes a little getting used to, but the Ember Mage's extra potion slot and high Will characteristic will quickly make you realise why she's so good.
Because you have to roll for the first activation each round using the highest Will amongst your models, having 2 Red Will dice will pretty much ensure that you always get the first activation - which is really important in this game.
And because the Mage's attacks are all magical and based on Will, you simply give her all of the Will based magic items. Soon her attacks will be devastating and with the Fire Wave spell, she can just walk into the thick of the enemy and incinerate everyone around her. And if that doesn't finish them off, all her magic attacks set things on fire too!
The Glimmerdusk Ranger
We just call her The Elf or The Archer, but in the same way that the Mage runs on Will upgrades, the Elf runs on Dexterity upgrades. This is because you need Dexterity for your shooting attacks and that's what the Archer is best at.
Her potion is okay. But her ability to remedy everything within a few squares is a great way to remove negative status effects from the party -especially if everyone is on fire!
Her best ranged attack is called Sparkle Burst and it's an area of effect attack that can remove up to 9 tightly packed monsters with relative ease.
But as pretty as the Elf is, she isn't a patch on the Mage overall.
The Claw Tribe Barbarian
We call her Barb. The Barbarian is much like the Dwarf in that she's a close combat monster and with 2 Red attack dice right from the start, you'd expect nothing less.
If she goes Beserk, she can strike a monster every time she moves. So with a movement of 6, this means she can slay up to 6 monsters in a single turn. Her potion also gives her Backlash, so any armour saves made allow her to instantly inflict a wound upon her attacker. This is particular effective if you give the potion to another hero with a high armour value.
The problem with Barb is that's she's ferocious, but she's poorly armoured and as a result, she's very vulnerable to having her head kicked in - even if she has the Tough skill and regenerates 1 wound every turn.
We always take the Dwarf instead. He can kill more and can take a beating at the same time. It's a shame, because the Barbarian is a very pretty model.
The Deeproot Druid & Angry Bear
We're not a fan of the Druid, but everyone loves the Big Gay Bear! Well, that's what the guys call him anyway. The Druid is okay, but like the Paladin he's just an all rounder with no specialist function...until he turns into the Angry Bear.
Angry Bear on the other hand is a well armoured, close combat monster! He can also Bear Hug enemies, making them Immobile and Weak, which has often helped in the boss fights at the end of the game. Meanwhile the Healing Berries potion that both Druid and Bear give all heroes the Healer skill for the round.
Considering the carnage that the Angry Bear will unleash, this is definitely a good potion to have and may even tempt you to swap out the Paladin from the party in favour of your big furry friend.
The only downside to the Angry Bear is his size. This can make is difficult to move him around terrain. Meanwhile, he's likely to get surrounded by monsters and killed if you're not careful. So don't use him to lead the charge, instead get him to mop up enemies on the flank instead.
The Hexcast Sorceress
The de-buffer, the Sorceress excels at weakening enemies and her magical shooting attacks aren't bad either. Like the Mage she thrives on Will upgrades to boost her magical powers and attacks. But while she's awesome at bringing down the Bosses, when it comes to killing hordes of Kobolds and baby Dragons, she's somewhat lacking.
Definitely a choice for a 5 hero party.
The Riftling Rogue
We love the Daemonkin Rogue! Unfortunately, she can be a bit fiddly to play for the amateur super dungeon explorer because she has so many rules. But once you master her, she's a worthy addition to any 5 hero team.
Like the Glimmerdusk Ranger, the Rogue thrives from Dexterity boosts. This is because she has the Dodge skill, which allows her to use Dexterity instead of army to resist an attack. But what makes her really brilliant is her Backstab attack, which adds +1 Green dice to her attack dice pool and it also inflicts 2 wounds!
On top of that, she can saw potions for hearts and hearts for potions as she rolls them.
Meanwhile her potion allows a model to Teleport 10 squares within line of sight.
And last, but not least, when opening Treasure Chests she draws 2 cards and picks the best one.
All these abilities make the Riftling Rogue brilliant for character assassinations, running away and finding the best Treasure cards for the rest of your party.
However, she can't slug it out in the thick of the fighting and she often struggles to slay many monsters in each phase. So due to her lack of horde killing power, she''s best taken as part of a 5 hero team.
The Best Super Dungeon Explore Team
Who is the team supreme? Well, in my experience it's the Royal Paladin, Hearthsworn Fighter and the Ember Mage. All 3 compliment each other perfectly. The Dwarf does most of the close combat fighting, the Paladin heals and mops up while the Mage makes sure the heroes always go first while providing some ranged attacks before getting in close and casting Fire Wave to get rid of mobs of monsters. Plus, the Mage and the Dwarf seems to have trouble in take out the Dragon.
This is because the Dwarf takes all the Attack and Armour boosts while the Mage takes all the Will boosts. Meanwhile the Paladin just heals everyone while being fed lots of potions by the other two heroes.
If you want to go up to 5 heroes (and be in for a much longer game), then I'd recommedn the Riftling Rogue to hunt down the best Treasure and finish off any baddie characters with a Backstab, as well as the Deeproot Druid & Angry Bear for some close combat insanity and a potion that gives the whole party Healer for the round to make sure no one ever dies.
There are numerous baddies in Super Dungeon Explore, each with their own funky abilities that when used together effectively can spell doom for our heroes. However, because they tend to die in droves, a dungeon master should never get too attached to them -they are expandable after all!
Ah, those cowardly Kobolds! Able to move a whopping 7 squares and Mob up, they can cause real problems for our heroes, especially when the Iron Scale is there to boost everyone's armour while the Dragon Priest boost all their Attacks. Kobolds work best in a big mob, which is why it can be wise for them all to run away until they can mass a big enough horde to tackle the heroes with.
Flinger - keep them back, keep them throwing things at the heroes. You'll set them on fire with your Hot Pot attack soon enough!
Knucklehead - Surround a hero with as many as you can and watch those Blue attack dice stack up as you Mob them.
Gouger - get these to stand behind the Knuckleheads, or around the heroes, so they can poke heroes with their pokey stick! Once again, watch the Blue attack dice stack up as you Mob the heroes.
Iron Scale - get one of these in amongst the Knuckleheads to effectively 'lead' them and use his Shield Wall skill to boost the armour of the Knuckleheads. This will make them much harder for the heroes to wipe out.
Dragon Priest - always spawn a Dragon Priest at the start of the game, because he can challenge the heroes when it comes to rolling for Will and taking the first turn.
While he can boost the Attacks of all Kobolds within 5 squares, I tend to leave him until the last round of activation, because he costs a lot of skulls to activate.
Then he can use his Will to cast 3 magical shooting attacks at the heroes, which usually does quite a bit of damage.
Best of all, the Dragon Priest has 3 wounds, which makes him a real nuisance! Just watch out for Fire attacks, because smart heroes tend to wound him once, then leave him to burn for a couple of turns.
The Kobold Ogre
Rex the Kobold Ogre is a complete push over -provided he doesn't have a horde of Kobolds to Mob up with and you've optimised all your heroes properly! Rex is tough for the dungeon master to use, because he's on a big base and he's relatively slow. However, he does make up for this with his Reach of 2 and his REX SMASH! attack. This allows him to reach over a wall of Kobolds and batter the heroes to his evil heart's content.
Rex also has a Thwomp attack, that knocks a hero back 5 squares, which is okay, but nothing to really write home about. Meanwhile Rex Cuddle makes a hero Weak and Immobile -which is perfect if the Dwarf is carving great big chunks out of poor old Rex and he needs to put a stop to it for a turn.
Just remember that because Rex is a Kobold Ogre, he benefits from all the stuff that boosts regular Kobolds. So use him together with his little cousins, because on his own he's easy fodder for the heroes.
The Baby Dragons
Aww, the Baby Dragons are so cute! But they're deadly too, which is why the heroes always seem to take out their Spawning Point first.
What the Baby Dragons lack in armour, they make up for in Attacks, because almost all of them have 2 Blue and 1 Red attack dice.
They're all simple to use, but the Hatchlings require the help of their larger brothers to Knockdown heroes so that they can get the +1 Red attack dice.
So while a dungeon master doesn't need to coordinate these creatures are cleverly as the Kobolds, they're not as survivable in a frontal attack. It's best to use them to attack from the flanks on the Kobold horde instead.
Starfire The Dragon
Once the power gauge reaches its climax and Starfire The Dragon appears, this is when shit gets real for the heroes!
With 8 wounds (in two 4 wound stages), powerful attack and very tough armour, Starfire is incredibly tough to fight -and many adventures have ended shortly after the Dragon Boss has arrived.
This is because you need 2 things to beat Starfire: Good healing and a Green attack dice.
If you haven't picked up a Green attack dice Treasure item for a close combat hero or plenty of Red dice (or a Green dice) for a Will based hero, then you're going to struggle to hurt Starfire.
If you have, then happy day! You just need plenty of healing to keep your heroes alive, because Starfire can really dish out the damage with 4 Action Points per turn.
Plus, if a Spawn Point is still active (and often it is), then Starfire gets to activate twice per round. Owch!
Remember, you just need to inflict 4 wounds to make it go away! Usually this takes 2-3 turns. So for example, I'll have the Emmber Mage boosted like crazy with Will increases. She'll blast Starfire with a Magna Blast shooting attack, followed by a regular shooting attack while the Dwarf goes forward into close combat to try and wound it (and probably take a beating), while the Paladin finishes off any straggling baddies and heals everyone with potions from afar...while praying that the Dwarf and Mage generate some potions (as well as hearts) from their successful attacks.
Once Starfire takes 4 wounds, she drops a clutch of Baby Dragons and flies off, but will come back very quickly.
Now is the time for your heroes to butcher the baby dragons quickly try to earn as many hearts and potions as possible, then finish off Starfire when she comes back for another go.
I wish you the best of luck with this, because you're gonna need it! However, if the game has dragged on for quite some time (3+ hours), we tend to end it as soon as Starfire has taken 4 wounds. Because you know whether you're going to win it or not based on the success of the first encounter.
SDE House Rules
Because Super Dungeon Explore can take a long time to play, we've streamlined the rules a little to speed things up.
First of all, whenever the Dwarf makes his Cleave attack, we roll a single set of dice, then apply it to all models hit.
Similarly, when a hero makes an area of effect shooting attack, like the Ember Mage's Fire Wave or the Ranger's Sparkle Burst, we roll a single set of dice, then apply it to all models hit.
It massively speeds up the game, rather than having to roll, roll, roll for all the different monsters.
We also don't tend to bother with Smoke much, because we found that it didn't really seem to help the heroes or the Kobolds. Plus it slowed down the game with way too much dice rolling.
Super Dungeon Explore is a brilliant board game that I will always treasure. I like it so much that I spent monthly painting all the miniatures and bought some Battlefoam trays to keep it all safely stored away.
Meanwhile, if you want to buy the game cheap, get it from Wayland Games who seem to hold more stock than anyone else, which is important because this game does tend to sell out very quickly.
As much as I love the game, I'm not in a hurry to buy the expansions, because I can't see how they can really add anything to the basic set up. So I would recommend just buying the basic board game and sticking with that. After all, there's plenty to paint in here as it is.
Speaking of which, painting this set was a real pleasure. My friend Dave showed me how to paint the heroes initially, because this was a completely new approach to painting for me. As a result, I've learned a heck of a lot. Meanwhile Dave loved painting the different heroes because their colour schemes are all so varied.
For example, I used a High Elf kind of colour scheme on the Royal Paladin. Meanwhile Dave used a Slaaneshi Daemonette style scheme on the Daemonkin Rogue and a Wood Elf scheme on the Elf Ranger. Finally, I tried some funky new shading techniques on the Dragons to make them look a little more 'fiery'. But as you can tell, we had a lot of fun painting these models and even more fun when we sat down to play our first fully painted game.
Anyway, I hope this guide to Super Dungeon Explore Tactics has been helpful, and please share it around the web. Because it's a tricky game to master and from what I've read online, some people need all the help they can get when it comes to beating the bosses!
June 27, 2012
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