Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Undercity: the epilogue

Just came back from playing the last scenario of Undercity board game.

It was a big boss fight against Ambrose the Alchemist, who had been turning himself into a Cephalyx Monstrosity (people do that willingly?)

I bet it's pretty safe to say that our experience of the last scenario was unusual and unlikely.

The first event card that was drawn was Impending Doom (well, actually second event card that took effect was Impending Doom. Yup, two in a row after Canice put the other one last to the event deck), and that doom removed six health counters from one of the processors, placing them on Ambrose.

This in turn redirected the whole party to get to the second processor. Gadrek rushed forward for three spaces, so next turn he'd be within walking distance of the processor.

Next turn, after a particularly lucky re-roll from a feat card, Gadrek rolled 17 for the strength check, removing the processor completely. After it had pumped only one extra health for Ambrose.

Ambrose took his time emerging from his machinery. He had thirteen health combined. He had to fight the whole hero party alone, with a Cephalyx throwing some mind bolts in to the fray. Clearly the bosses had been caught by surprise, as Cephalyx with aimed ACC 7 shots wasn't able to land solid hit on Gadrek, and Ambrose missing his charge attack against the trollkin.

Quite a few villain spawns were to spaces one and six that were farthest away from action.

Rather soon Ambrose went down, with the Cephalyx following rapidly. Low armour values made it quite easy to make solid, two wound hits to the monstrosity.

Now, to be honest, Milo Boggs the alchemist took heavy damage and ended the scenario with only one hit point remaining. Gadrek, the trollkin hadn't been dodging every and all attacks by the bosses, and he was down to three hit points (from his original nine.)

Luck or no, the campaign conclusion felt a little anticlimatic. The building up of health for the main boss was building tension well enough, though we didn't experience it properly. Once Ambrose got loose, he mainly was just hitting hard. That was a pity, as the boss could have easily been made more interesting without adding crazy amounts of difficulty with the addition of some simple extra rule like Critical Pitch or something. That would've made the end fight less static also.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: mechanics of The Undercity are quite solid and entertaining. However, thanks to how the game (campaign) plays, scenario design should have been extra polished to make Undercity a truly great game. Now it hangs somewhere there in-between. At worst the scenarios have felt uninspired and repetitive, though at their best they have shown some nifty shenanigans that made them feel special.

Hopefully in the future the game gets the support it needs and deserves. Time will tell.

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