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Latest DungeonBash/Dungeon Crawl

I’ve taken to using the words ‘Dungeon Crawl’ when listing my game in convention schedules to make it very clear that it’s a dungeon crawl.  The name DungeonBash is great but it doesn’t say much about what the game is.  I’m trying all kinds of things to get people interested in playing the game.

I ran the game yesterday at Conclave of Gamers.  This is a new con that expanded from a board game focus into more types of games.  I thought I would pull a double here – help the con by having another game and see what the response was with a different crowd.

I ran it twice and neither time had what I would call a full table.  The first game had 3 out of 4 players (someone played 2 of the characters) and the other game was full during registration but only 1 (maybe 2) of them showed up.  The last seat was filled by someone who seemed to be guilted into playing and I’m not sure how much he enjoyed it.

This is the exact reason why I was testing the waters again.  I have yet to run the game at a convention and fill the table with enthusiastic players.  Even the last game at GengisCon had 3 players and 1 who seemed more interested in me than the game.  The 3 players were a family so 2 were kids.  Not what I wanted but I ran the game for them.

I’ve come to the decision that not enough people want to play.  The game is optimized for 4 people so not getting that many puts a burden on the other players.  Getting less than 3 is no fun at all.  I haven’t canceled those games since 2 people showed up to play but its been tempting.

I changed up the rules for this convention and I’m considering more changes for the future.  Not that I have any plans at all to run it but it’s nice to take the experience and use it to improve the game.

  • Pre-built dungeon – I did this already.  Building the dungeon on the fly takes too long during a convention.  If I’m ever asked to run it for a group and we have time I can go the ‘build as we go’ route.
  • Fewer rooms – When they’re searching for 3 items having 9 or 10 rooms is too many.  Combat is random and takes too long for them to get into all the rooms.  Next time there will be 6, at most 7, rooms.  Items x 2.
  • Different monster charts – I didn’t like how the current monsters fit into the new format.  I’ll change up the encounters to be more suited to the play style.  That means not using some of the minis and duplicate encounters on the chart.  I’m good with that.  I think I can mix it up enough to make it work.
  • Faster multiple encounter progression – The progression feels slow and doesn’t add to the tension of the game.  This is an easy one since I can pick from the existing cards to do the progression.  I already did some of that in the last game.

In a way it means making the game smaller.  Having a big dungeon layout is great and attracts attention.  It doesn’t attract players.  So a big part of the modular dungeon pieces I made won’t get used.  Sad but more effective.

I didn’t sign up to run the game at the next upcoming convention.  I knew I could get in if I had success at this one.  I didn’t have success.  I won’t be signing up for the next convention.

It’s a waste to pack it up (after fixing bits that need fixing) after all the work that went into it.  I’m very sad that the minis painted by my friends will get packed up with the game.  At this point I don’t see a way to not pack it up.  It won’t go out of style so putting it away for a couple of years isn’t going to move it off the charts.

What’s most disappointing to me is that I get a lot of “That’s so cool!  I want to play!” and then when they get the chance they don’t.  Or people sign up and don’t show up.  I like running the game and I’m proud of what I built and that my friends helped out making it awesome.  Then I sit at a table with empty chairs all around and it’s hard not to take it personally after a few conventions.

Anyway.  Here’s a picture of the layout I built on the fly at the last convention.  I decided to use the space available to me to make a nice big dungeon.

Conclave 2014 - Big Layout

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