DungeonQuest Heroes – Figure Painting

Last night I played a four-player game of DungeonQuest, using an assortment of heroes. We used an optional rule (‘Torchlight’) that added to room tile placement. It don’t believe it made things any easier, but it did allow for a bit more choice of pathing. As is quite typical for the game, no-one got out alive!

Two of us found no treasure at all before we died. Congrats to my wife for getting Vikas Swordmaster to the Dragon’s treasure chamber, and making it back about four rooms away from the exit with 3,620 gold, before being killed by a scorpion.

I’ve nearly finished all of the game figures, and here are the original four that came with the base game, and their counterparts from the Heroes Expansion. The originals are plastic figures in simple poses and basic detail. The expansion provided metal slotta-base figures with more dynamic poses and better detail. I also think this set was the first time I saw slotta-base figures that came with a circular base. [I really grew to dislike the original 20 and 25mm square bases that seemed to be the norm on all my purchases in the 80’s and 90’s.]

All the heroes have a character card with an image, their characteristics, and a life point track. In each case I used the image to guide my painting. Vikas is the most notable change in colour choices – I’ve done green and white checks before (Zombicide BP) but not on a small hood, with so many curves and folds! With each pair, the figure on the left is the base game figure, and the one on the right the Heroes expansion figure.

These have been fun to paint. Most have been fairly easy to do. Sir Roland with his wolf pelt took more work than the others, with his mail, plate, and ‘dry-brushed’ fur. I chose not to green-tint his plate, since the Chaos Warrior in the group has the same colouring, I thought it more appropriate in his case.

The second set are El-Adoran & Farendil (Rangers), and Ulv Grimhand & Siegfried Goldenhair (Barbarians).

Interesting note: Online, I found a page from White Dwarf advertising the Heroes expansion, showing a set of painted figures (‘Eavy Metal, GW). This image has “Gunvor Greataxe” (A very Conan-like barbarian, with an oversized axe) while my set came with Siegfried. I much prefer the sculpt and pose of Siegfried. (Although what is meant to be two feathers on his necklace look more like unusual shells.)

Next up, the eight ‘unique’ heroes from the expansion.

DungeonQuest – Board Game Review

DungeonQuest is a game produced by Games Workshop in 1987, as an English translation of the Swedish board game DrakBorgen (“Dragon Fortress”, 1985). GW also released two expansions – “Heroes” and “Catacombs” in 1988, breaking the single Swedish expansion (1987) into two parts, presumably to make more money that way.

I got the base game and the expansions early in 1989. My friends and I played this quite a lot 1989-1990, again in 1996, and 2007 – evidenced by the “top scores” sheet that I’ve kept and updated on occasion.

A second edition was released only in Sweden, and then Fantasy Flight Games got the license and produced a Third edition (2010) with new combat mechanics and standardised cards, and then the Revised edition in 2014.

DungeonQuest GW, 1987

My interest in the game has been re-ignited because I’m currently painting all the figures for the game. (I’ve done ten of sixteen, so far.) The 3rd edition rules, and notes I’ve seen on the revised version made some minor rule changes to improve play, and included optional rules. I’m planning to write up all the original rules and incorporate some of the changes/additions and hopefully play the game a bit more.

The aim of the game: to enter the dungeons under Dragonfire Castle, find the dragon’s chamber and escape from the castle with treasure before the sun sets. (1-4 players, Ages 10+)

In each of the 26 turns, you pick a adjacent square on the board to move to, draw a random tile and move into that “chamber”. Each tile (in full colour) has a mark to show the entry location, and has from 0 to 3 exits. Tiles may be empty chambers, passages, have a cave in, chasm, bottomless pit, darkness, trap or even rotate. In most cases you draw a ‘room’ card to see if anything special happens. Most rooms are empty, but you might be attacked by a monster, find a trap, have your torch blow out, find a crypt/corpse, a potion or minor treasure. Instead of moving you can search – which is the only way you might get out of a dead end.

This isn’t an actual game, but tiles have been drawn and laid as if it was.

The base game comes with four characters – Adventurer, Barbarian, Knight and Ranger. Each has four characteristics: Strength, Agility, Armour & Luck, ranging from 1-10. In most cases you have to roll your stat or less on a d12 to lift a portcullis, move through a cave in, avoid a pit, etc.

Combat uses cards and is basically scissors-paper-rock. Heroes have 6-19 Life points, monsters have 1-8. There are options to escape and sometimes a monster will flee.

If you reach the treasure chamber in the middle of the board you get to take 2 treasure tokens, and then pick one of 6 cards to see if the dragon wakes. (5 show him asleep, 1 awake) The card chosen is NOT replaced until no-one is in that chamber, so the longer you stay to grab treasure the more likely he wakes. If he wakes, you lose all the treasure you picked up, take 1d12 damage and move out of the chamber!

Character card, Room and Corpse cards visible. Turn track on left edge of board.

Since tiles are random, it can be hard simply to get to the treasure chamber. Rotating rooms, doors, and portcullis may make it difficult, or impossible for you to return the way you came. The time limit, monsters and traps, in addition to the dragon, make it very hard to get out with treasure. In fact the game rules suggest you only have a 15% chance of surviving. You could choose to make this a bit easier, by taking out some monsters and traps.

No game is the same. Each character has different strengths and weaknesses. The base game has 115 room tiles, 68 counters, and 174 cards.

The first expansion “Heroes”, gives you 12 more heroes to use – four are “copies” of the original characters, but it also adds an Adventuress, Chaos Warrior, Dwarf Berserker, Elf (with baby dragon), Gladiator, Ninja, Sorcerer & Thief. “Catacombs” gives an alternate path under the dungeon. It’s a little bit safer, but you can’t control when you will find a way back up again. Both expansions also have extra tiles, room cards, etc. We use all the extra cards and tiles, but no-ones really been interested in actually going into the catacombs.

Overall, it’s a tough, but really fun game with a lot of replay-ability. If you do get out with treasure, it’s a great feeling. It can be played solo, but is much better with multiple players. It’s meant for a max of 4 players, but if you agree to “share” staring positions, you could have up to 8. A typical game takes an hour. Lots of fan produced content exists, with copies of cards, character sheets and alternate rules for combat and rooms.

My main complaint with the original is that the room cards are quite small (4 x 6.5cm, or 1.5×2.5″) and all the other cards (Corpse, Crypt, Door, Trap, Search, Rings, Amulets) each is a different size and shape. It looks like the FFG versions used a standard card size for all of these, with unique graphics on the card backs to tell them apart. Gameplay can become annoying with so much being random, but it’s easy to house-rule some changes to make the game a bit easier, or play more smoothly.

Suggestion: With 2-4 players, run through a number of games, and have each player add together treasure gained in each game for a final score.

RATING: I’d give this 5/5 for it’s replaybability and challenge, but only 3/5 overall because there’s a lot more luck than skill involved.

Painting Chaos Warriors (GW Space Crusade)

After painting my Genestealers, I got my Chaos Warriors ready from ‘Space Crusade’. At this rate, I may end up painting the Space marines too!

The five figures – three standard warriors, one with a heavy weapon, and a commander were all simple black plastic. The three marine squads in the game are blue, red and yellow. I didn’t want black painted figures. I wanted the detail on these figures (which is quite good for a board game) to be noticeable, and decided on green as a contrast to the actual marines.

Space Crusade is the closest I’ve ever come to playing anything Warhammer 40,000, though I have read a fair number of novels. So, I don’t really know (or care much) about chapters and colours. Oddly enough, a little bit of digging on the web turned up a renegade chapter of chaos space marines with a basic colour matching what I was planning on. (Green isn’t a popular colour apparently, and I only found two separate posts with painted figures.)

The Children of Purgatos: Their Power Armour is painted emerald green trimmed with gold. They often decorate their armour with images of golden flames projecting from their armour’s golden trim. A renegade Chapter of Chaos Space Marines of unknown Founding and origin, that was declared Excommunicate Traitoris for reasons that are not listed in Imperial records.

I could have tried hand detailing flames on armour plates, but as it is I’ve spent a lot of time on them over a week and I’m very pleased with the results.

 

Painting Genestealers (GW Space Crusade)

Back in 1990, Games Workshop got together with Milton Bradley and released ‘Space Crusade’: a Warhammer 40K inspired board game for 2-4 players. While it’s possible that I bought it myself, I think it’s more likely that it was a birthday or christmas gift. I have played it quite a bit, and enjoyed it, and often thought about painting the space marines. It has mostly been collecting dust most of the last decade until I started raiding the box for various figures to use in my Gamma World game.

Both the Dreadnought and androids (Necrons) have been painted and appeared on my blog in the past. Recently Dave brought a You-tube video to his readers attention that involved painting genestealers in five different styles. This promptly got my genestealers located and put on my desk to paint. I was disappointed to find I only had three! (I haven’t lost any pieces; the game only comes with three.) I had hoped for five or six so I could follow two of the paint schemes.

 

I started with a basic ultramarine blue as a base coat, and then mixed a purple into that and went back over most of the model. A mix of flesh & purple on the head, hands, feet, and the ribbed bits on back, legs, arms, etc. Still following the video, a lightly watered down light tone (Army Painter ink), some (slightly lighter) blue highlighting, and gun-metal on the claws instead of a dark grey. Fushia for the tongue and head detail, white teeth and eyes, followed by a spot of red. I did highlight most of the claws with a bit of mid-grey (which is visible, though not obvious from the photo), and a lighter pink on the top of the fingers – which appears after drying not to have been light enough to actually stand out. Some of the blue highlighting isn’t particularly noticable either, so next time I try this I need to go even lighter, or simply do a second round with more white mixed in. I’m very happy with the final look in any case.

I’ve got the chaos marines from the set on my desk now too. A few of the people (thanks again Dave!) I follow have been using “the Tray” as a way of storing works-in-progress and a visible plan of what they want to paint in the “near” future. The figures I plan to paint, normally just sit on my desk. I’m thinking a tray of some sort will both encourage me to complete some figures, and stop me having to move the figures on my desk around when I need to take photographs, have books on the desk as I look up rules, or write adventures, etc, or my wife wants to take over part of the desk. A tray can be picked up entire and moved out of the way more easily than individual figures.

So here’s the tray – or what will be the tray once I actually find or make one:

A Mechanical Challenge for November

These five figures all come from my “Space Crusade” board game by Milton Bradley/Games Workshop (1990). I played this quite a lot after getting it, but it hasn’t been touched for a decade (at least). I’ve often thought about painting all the space marines in the game, and I’ve drafted different pieces (particularly the Chaos Marines) into various D&D adventures in the past.

My recent Gamma World game involved a crashed spaceship and I used the dreadnought as one of the ships internal defences. Putting the figure on the board got a good response from my players! I would have liked to have been painted on game day, but there hadn’t been enough time to do that. Azazel’s November Mechanical Challenge seemed the perfect reason to paint it anyway, so I’ve spent most of the last week working on it and four Necrons.

The necrons have never been used outside of the board game that I recall, but they’ll make good basic robots for Gamma World. They have been quick and easy to paint too. After spray undercoating they got a quick grey base coat, then gun metal, and black ink. I’ve brushed silver over the top of most of the surface and some copper for wiring and fluoro green in the eye sockets. Also a bit of white over the skull faces. If I were to do them again, I might go for a much lighter grey base coat so that the gun metal isn’t so dark. I didn’t want them bright shiny silver, but they did turn out darker than planned. A second coat of a different silver did help with this though.

The chaos dreadnought got the same basic treatment – white spray undercoat, grey base coat, then gun metal over legs and weapons. Red over the main carapace (and gold trim), with green and bronze on wiring, etc. White on the nose, then thorough black ink over everything.

Chaos dreadnought with missile launcher and plasma cannon

Dreadnought – rear.

I touched up the green wiring to brighten it a little, and more white on the nose. Then hints of gold and copper on some components and some black and silver to darken or lighten different parts of the legs, back and undercarriage. The three weapons (for the upper “arms’) are interchangeable, and I haven’t glued them in order to still be able to swap them in and out. They should get a spray varnish this afternoon.

Dreadnought – Chain gun in place of plasma cannon.

I’m very pleased with how these came out. I suppose there’s still hope for the space marines!