Cursed Dungeons

No news here about SGS. I’m toiling away in the dungeon working on the AI and trying to round up the last bits of the UI art. I really hate AI coding. It’s lots of hard work with very little pay off until you start to see things come together….this is especially true of the goal based system that I have refined since I started doing this with Armageddon Empires. Each goal is a separate little hell in and of itself that has to be tested inside and out usually in isolation to make sure all the possible combinations of “sub goals” fire correctly and execute in an intelligent manner. It often means endless coding of algorithms to “rank” something in order for the AI to choose something that has to happen….i.e. which card to cash in, which card to buy, which posse to choose to confront a player who is moving into your territory, etc. etc. I generally use some combos of fuzzy logic variables or weighted sums to “rate” whatever it is I have to but setting those up is always long, dull and boring work. The fun only comes when you get a bunch of these goals working together to accomplish things and see the emergent behavior that tickles and surprises and makes you say…I didn’t intend for that to happen but I like it.

But speaking of dungeons, I needed a break from the tedium this weekend so I broke out the revamped Dungeonquest which I had recently purchased having had fond memories of the original decades ago. I convinced my 12 year old son and 10 year old daughter to give it a go and after a moderate amount of time setting it up we were on our way. The game is short, random and brutal or at least that was what my childhood memories seemed to recall. It didn’t disappoint. I had read the rules over the last couple of days and had everything pretty well groked out except for combat which I figured we could just go through slowly with the rule book when that came up. As it turned out for me combat really wasn’t much of an issue. I had one of the most awful starts that I think you can possibly have. It was still fun because each time I drew a tile more terrible that the last my kids broke out into hysterical fits of laughter….rolling on the floor type laughter. I guess you had to be there.

Here is a short recap of what happened for me:

Turn 1: Drew cave in.
Turn 2: Went back to start
Turn 3 Drew Portcullis room that dead ended
Turn 4 Was afraid of getting stuck in portcullis room so went back and tried to climb over rubble. Failed
Turn 5 +1 Determination for rubble. Failed.
Turn 6 +2 Determination for rubble. Failed.
Turn 7 +3 Determination for rubble. Success.
Turn 8 Drew dead end room. (Kids are laughing so hard they might be crying)
Turn 9 Searched room and got lucky and found secret door. (Maybe my luck is turning. Kids are a little quieter now it seems)
Turn 9a Drew portcullis room. Kids are howling again because my strength is so low. Decide to use special ability to add +3 for taking a wound. Fail
Turn 10 +1 Determination, +3 for wound Attempt to lift portcullis. Success.
Turn 11 Drew bridge over chasm. Ok my luck has got to change even if my agility is feeble. Besides I have got to get moving. Aargghhh. Fail. I have fallen into the Catacombs.
Turn 12 Crawling around in the catacombs
Turn 13 Crawling around in the catacombs. Fell into a pit. Need to roll to get out. That sums it up. I fell into a pit and got stuck even after I had fallen into a pit.
Turn 14 +1 Determination to get out of pit. Fail.
Turn 15 +2 Determination and got out of the pit and then have to fight Troll.

In the meantime my son has reached the dragon hoard and successfully looted some nice treasure while I remain lost in the catacombs. My daughter caught a pit in the pendulum type blade right between the shoulders and should have died (needed a 4 or lower with two six siders and rolled high) but my son and I were so afraid to tell her that she was out of the game we pretended it didn’t happen and just gave her some wound tokens. They don’t call her Mad Maddie for nothing. We’ve taken a break and left the setup out on the kitchen table much to my wife’s consternation. I mumbled something about finishing it tomorrow. I’m doomed but I’d like to see if my son can actually get out alive with all that loot. Maybe I can figure out a way to get in front of him and block him so that we all lose. Now that’s a nice thought.

Even though I have had really bad luck with my tile drawing I’ve had a great time playing this game. I’m still alive and all I need to do is grab a small bit of treasure and make it back out and hope that my son gets caught somewhere. The laughs we’ve had with this one game have made it more than worth the purchase price. The thrill of exploration doesn’t get any better than what is served up in Dungeonquest. I’d like to try and capture that thrill in my rogue like design down the road.

Here is my woeful cursed path of failure
Path Of Doom

Here is the board situation when we stopped. Notice that my kids have reached the Dragon’s Treasure room and have started plundering. Not a Dragon Rage card in sight of course
The Board

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