Reverse Engineering Winning Strategies For the New Dungeon! 2012 Fantasy Board Game
Using my engineering background, I reversed engineered the game as best I could to shed light on some basic questions. Those are:
Which character is the best?
Which is character is the worst?
If I end up without my favorite character what is the best path to victory?
To get to these answers we must go down a deep dark path of statistics. I’ll make it simple for you by showing just the results of my analysis without showing any formulas at all so don’t worry!
The first thing I did was notate all the treasure amounts and the monster values for each character and level. That brings us to the first table which shows both the average treasure value and the average number a character needs to roll in order to defeat a monster on that level. For example the Rogue needs to roll an average of a 6 in level 2 in order to get an average treasure value of $972.
The next table takes this information and now displays it as the % chance of victory vs the % of your total treasure goal. For example the Cleric will be victorious 42% of the time in level 3 and will gain 16% of his / her total treasure value.
Even with just these tables, you can begin to gleam some very useful comparisons. For example the Cleric and the Rogue are exactly the same on levels 1 and 2, but the Cleric gets a decent advantage on level 3. Since these two are going after the same treasure amount this can be important. By that same token the Wizard using the fireball has the same chance of victory as the Cleric does in level 3 (42%), but he gets 3% more of his treasure goal.
A useful table to have around is this one that shows your % chance of defeating a certain monster and the chances of their attack on you.
You might be wondering something like “Is it faster to reach my treasure goal using the fireball in level 4 and winning 72% of the time for 9% of my treasure goal, or staying in level 5 and winning 42% of the time for 14% of my treasure goal?” No matter which character you are, you will be asking yourselves this question as to which level is the sweet spot for me.
The next table shows just this. It displays many battles in rooms are needed in order to obtain your treasure goal. It will help highlight your sweet spot for each character. This doesn’t include any walking around the dungeon, or in any chambers, but is purely in each room. I define 1 battle as 1 round of combat in a room. For example if a Hero attacks and kills the monster, that is 1 battle. If the Hero misses, and the Monster hits or misses, that’s also 1 battle.
The game itself suggests 3 levels for each character. You would think the sweet spot would be in the middle level for each character. For example for the Cleric they recommend levels 2-4.You would immediately think maybe level 3 is the sweet spot. Here you can see it’s not (level 2 is). Same for the Wizard who is recommended levels 4-6. The sweet spot for him isn’t level 5, but level 6 with the fireball. It’s worth noting the least amount of total battles is by the Wizard in level 6 (13), followed by the Rogue and Cleric needing 14 in level 2.
While we are on the subject of Wizard and fireballs, the next table points out what appears to be a possible minor design flaw in the game. When using the spells in all the suggested levels for the Wizard, the fireball is a better choice by a decent amount. I would have expected them to either be closer, or to have maybe lightning better on levels 4 and 5, but not 6. When looking further at the table below, in Level 6 the fireball is the best choice (between it, lighting, and no spell) for 4 out of the 9 monsters (44.44%). The lightning is the best choice 3 of the 9 times but can’t even be played on 3 of the monsters. The wizard alone is best for 2 of the 9 monsters. This shows that the fireball is the best choice for levels 4, and 6 and the Wizard alone is the best choice for level 5. I think they should have made the lightning and fireball a little more even.
Here is the the average number of battles per room table but showing what the numbers look like if you had a magic sword of +1 or +2.
Keep in mind at this point all we have used so far is pure statistics without any board or level navigation variation. However even at this point it appears that the Wizard can win the quickest followed just behind by the Rogue and Cleric together and the Fighter coming in last (not counting any magic swords).
Since we will now be bringing into the mix the board navigation and level variation we should also look at which special cards are in each level.
Using all aspects mentioned previously (pure statistics, level navigation, special treasures) you should be able to use that knowledge to make the game more enjoyable. Many of you can stop reading now and experiment on your own and be fine with that.
Now I didn’t stop there in my analysis. I have found what I believe to be the fastest possible road to victory (by number of turns) for each character based only on averages (so it will most likely not be perfectly replicated). Granted these routes use many assumptions and is using the averages shown from above. We all know in the real world averages aren’t the end all be all, but it gives us a good medium ground to lay the foundation on. Some of the assumptions are:
- Secret Door cards weren’t used
- You actually could get to all these rooms without another opponent getting to them first (if you are a Rogue, or a Cleric, and your opponent is a Wizard or fighter this could be reality)
- I didn’t calculate in any trap cards
Here are the best routes I have found character by character starting with the slowest and going to the fastest.
I tried so many different ways for the fighter, and this was the best I could get. Even though statistically his shortest victory should have been through level 5, the distance from the Great Hall, and the difficulty of it’s navigation (especially the added battles in the chambers with no treasure payoff) made this the toughest character to win with. Even with spending 10 turns around level 1 to guarantee a magic sword to the Fighter, and going into level 5, or 6, it was slower than the above route.
This assumes you don’t have to go back to the Great Hall for more spells. If you study the table above for the best choices for the wizard this should help you not waste spells. The Wizard to me is the most fun to play as. Having the choices of spells adds a lot of dimension to him / her.
The Rogue has the fastest time without a magic sword and is tied for the fastest time with a magic sword. I decided to make him the #2 fastest character since this route requires 2 level one rooms. This could get thrown off easily since no matter which characters you are playing against, they might try to loot level 1 looking for a magic sword or if they are a beginner player.
I chose the Cleric as the fastest overall character for a couple reasons.
1) He has a 77% chance of getting a magic sword before level 3 (assuming no one else gets his rooms i.e playing against a Wizard or a Fighter)
2) He only has 1 more turn than the Rogue without a magic sword, and he doesn’t have to worry about any character taking the level 1 rooms that the Rogue needs.
Now that my analysis is complete let’s try to answer those questions I pondered at the beginning of this post.
Which character is the best?
Even though my analysis shows the Cleric probably is the best character, it really depends on you and how many other players there will be and which characters they are. If I am playing a 2 player game, and the other player selects a Wizard, I will probably select a Cleric since I know the Wizard won’t be taking my level 2 rooms. If he / she selects a Rogue, or a Cleric, I will select a Wizard since again they won’t be taking my rooms.
Which character is the worst? To me the Fighter is clearly the worst character in the game. It seems if they bumped his fighting up +1 without the magic sword, it would have made him a lot more competitive.
Making Sense of it All - Even though there is a lot of analysis here, the game in real life is not played by averages. Therefore don’t expect it to end up exactly the way I planned it above, rather use it as a way to understand the game deeper, so you can make better decision, and have more fun with it!
If you would like a copy of all the tables above in an easily printable format you can get that here - Dungeon-Stats.