Sunday, January 23, 2011

Super Dungeon Explore - Review

Let me start of by saying - in a non-objective way - I love this game!

I had the privilege of playing this game way back in August while i was at Gen-Con. The nice folks who run Soda Pop Miniatures took me through a demo. We had a nice long talk about the creator's vision for the game and for what the miniatures should look like. I managed to snag almost a whole set of their promo models. These models are 20% larger than the currently released models.

Currently the game is not "officially" released. Right now the demo rules are available for free at the Soda Pop web-site provided above. They also have a limited number of non-promotional models on their website. It is also important to note they have another game called Relic Knights. I have not played this game but very much appreciate the miniatures.

I have been working on creating a SDE set since Gen-Con. It has been a true labor of love. All miniatures, dungeon accessories and dungeon tiles were painted/created by me. So on with the reivew.

Two heroes are pitted against re-spawning monsters in an attempt to destroy all the monsters in the dungeon and those monsters' spawning points. It's pretty simple, but in the end, the game-play feels a lot like a Final Fantasy Tactics game or a Legend of Zelda Game.

Currently the game is incomplete. The demo rules are intended to introduce players to the basic mechanics of the game from the Hero side or the Kobold side. The demo rules give the heroes a large edge (poor Kobolds). According to what I heard at Gen-Con there will be a Boss mechanic introduced in the full game. There is also another type of monster rumored to be released: the Undead. I suspect their will be a boss dragon for the Kobolds and a Vampire for the undead when the game is finally released.

With a few house rules and some creative tweeking however, you can get the demo rules up and balanced in no time.
                                                        cool set-up, huh? ;)

To save me from explaining the game go here and check out the easy-to-read 8-page demo rules. Everything you need to play (minus the miniatures) can be found in that rule guide.


 So for the demo set a Mage, Paladin, Demonkin rogue, Ranger and dwarf were released.

Mage: She explodes, and does so well. She also has some capacity to heal and provides very good support while someone else goes in and takes out the Kobold spawning point. In the demo she is slightly overpowered.

Paladin: In the demo he is pretty broken. However, I have been assured by the fellows at Soda Pop that this guy will be "clutch" in the game and that he (and all the heroes) will need all their tricks to get through the dungeon. Basically the paladin can heal himself and others very effectively while making a path through his enemies.

Demonkin Rogue: Shes fast, super fast. She can get to important points quickly and avoid getting hit.

Ranger: She is a tactical nuke. With range capabilities that can take out up to 9 kobolds with one attack she is a valuble member of any party.

Dwarf: My group wants to like him but sadly he is a but underpowered in the demo. Hes very hard to kill but his special abilities just are not that impressive. He is similar to the paladin in his use though. He is designed to take damage and get on through to destroy the spawn points.

Next up: Kobolds, aka "Hey boss, they're takin' our shinies!"
These guys are fun. I have much more experience with these than the heroes since the people I teach to play always get to be Heroes first. The rundown of these guys is that you get a set amount of Kobolds for each pair of spawning points. From from to back you got: Flingers, Gougers, two versions of the Dragon Priest, Iron scales, and finally the Knuckleheads.

These little guys rely on mobbing an opponent since they get attack bonuses when they surround a hero. Unfortunately this tendency to bunch together allows heroes like the mage and the ranger to kill great numbers of them in one hit. That's OK, though! You can just spawn some more.

They take a little while to get used to but they are certainly fun once you get the hang of them.


The only things in this picture that are Soda Pop created are the three treasure chests. The first one was a promo prize at gen con. The second is a mimic named "Boo-Booty" and comes with the currently released Kobold mage. Finally, the third blue chest is what comes with each hero. The pillars in the background are what I used for Kobold Warren spawning points. The blue potions are used as potion counters. The brown jars are simply what I use for house rule dungeon accessories.

My Impressions: 
This is going to be a great game when it comes out. Until then we have some generously provided demo rules to keep us satiated while we wait. The game is wonderfully simple and reaches out to the board game crowd and the miniature game crowd. It has some obvious balance issues in the Demo rules but based on what i have heard from the company all the wrinkles will be ironed out. I'm going to give this game a 8 1/2 stars right now. The miniatures are wildly fun to paint, the game play is smooth and unique and the company is incredibly receptive to its fans. Look for its "official" release this summer during the second Quarter.

Bonus stuff from me: 
House rules! Since this game is currently incomplete it is great fun to come up with some of your own rules for it. The game bends wonderfully to those who want to make it their own. So without further delay here are some things to try out with the demo rules:

1: Blank loot cards: Put six or so in the loot deck. Sometimes monsters don't always drop awsome helpful stuff. I put funny things on the cards like "All your base are belong to us" or "The monsters dropped 1 Gil." My players seem to thing its a good laugh.

2: ITS A TRAP! Add a trap card to the treasure deck. Nuff said.

3: Keys: let the consul put key spawn points for the treasure. The heros have to grab the key if they want to open a chest. Then once the key is used it respawns. This allows players to use more of the dungeon.

4: Create your own kobold :)

Till next time, Peace out.
Steve (MDX)


  1. Thanks for the writeup - We are glad you are enjoying your first steps into our lair :)

    - The Soda Pop Team

  2. Good stuff. Love the minis (sculpt and paint)

  3. I love the write up, its inspired me to order my own set of mins. Next I will have to create a lair along the same lines of yours.

  4. I'm wildly intrigued by this game...

    From the rules and the look of the minis, it sounds like it'll be a lot of fun.

    This is what happens when you mix japanese cRPG and wargames, right ? ;)

  5. Hey,
    I hope you'll see this reply, as you wrote this post a long time ago!

    I just discovered about this game, and I must say, it really seems to be great.

    About your board, I was wondering how did you create it? Slim foam board or Hirsts Arts blocks maybe?

    Thanks for the review really :)

  6. I am currently looking for ideas to paint those chests, totally trying to copy yours! They are the best around