Well the results are in and I think it’s safe to say that solo play and full co-op won the bulk of our Dungeon Saga vote. Don’t worry, we will tackle everything else about this book in time.
The rules for Solo Play and Full Co-op are exactly the same – they both use a system called the Invisible Overlord to replace the human-overlord player. The card deck can replace any human-overlord player, so you can also use it for any of the pre-written scenarios in the main game and expansions.
This section will look at how the Invisible Overlord works.
Whether you are playing on your own, or there are up to four of you ready to tackle the dungeon together, the game gives you control of the heroes with which to adventure with. If you’re playing on your own, you will control all of them. If you’re playing cooperatively, you’ll split them between you.
To determine the actions of the Overlord’s followers, there is a deck of cards called the Invisible Overlord.
The Invisible Overlord system isn’t as smart as a real player, but it tries. Its main aim is to provide a challenging, yet entertaining game. It does this by having two main aims: play in character and cripple a Hero. Playing in character is more fun than not, and the Invisible Overlord will win if he can cripple a Hero, so that’s good too.
Invisible Overlord Cards
Excerpt from the Adventurer’s Companion:
There are two types of card in an Invisible Overlord deck. The first type is the core cards which are used by all Overlords. The second is the cards for the specific type of Overlord that rules the dungeon in question. So, an Orc Overlord has a different set of these than a Necromancer, for example. This adds more character to each Overlord.
The core Invisible Overlord cards list his Orders and the actions his models will take. How this is interpreted depends on the model’s character, and this is defined in their Bestiary entry.
The other vital ingredient to this system is the concept of Threat. Each Hero seems more or less threatening to the Overlord’s followers at that moment, and this changes throughout the adventure. Depending on the combination of this Threat, the model’s character and the specific IO card drawn, the Invisible Overlord will give an Order and his followers will react accordingly. You then use the normal rules to resolve these actions.
Each Invisible Overlord card is made up of four parts: Number, Threat, Order, and Interrupt.
Number is the how many models act when this card is revealed.
Threat describes what the Overlord sees as being particularly worrying at that moment.
Order describes the command given by the Invisible Overlord to combat this Threat.
Interrupt is either Yes or No and tells you whether this card will interrupt between two Hero Turns or not. Most will not. Those that do simply use the listed Number, Threat and Order to resolve the Overlord’s actions.
Which Models Act?
When you turn an IO card you need to decide who follows the Order. One at a time, select models and resolve their actions, starting with step (1), below.
- Models that can do the Order without moving. For example, an Attack Order for a model that already has a Hero in their front arc. Ignore this step for a Pin order.
- Models that can do the Order. Start with the models that need to Move the furthest in order to bring more of them into the action.
- Anyone else. If the Number has not been reached and are no models left who can perform the Order drawn, then do a Support Order with the remainder. If the Number has still not been reached then do an Attack Order. If any still remain after all these Orders then they are ignored and the card is considered complete.
There are a few more rules in the Companion describing each of these things in more detail, such as picking targets and calculating threat, but that’s basically it – a very simple system to control the Overlord.
Some discretion is required, as A.I. rules are always a tricky balancing act.
On the one hand you want to try to control the opposition forces cleverly so that the player can have a fun time and an interesting challenge. On the other hand, the more rules you write to do this, the more they slow the game down. Couple this challenge with the vast number of detail decisions a real player makes in every Turn of Dungeon Saga and it is inevitable that you’ll eventually find a situation that isn’t covered.
When this happens, there are a couple of different ways to approach the problem listed in the book.
And there you have it – everything you need to know about Full Co-Op and Solo Play. Any questions please feel free to drop them in the comments below, and check out our next reveal tomorrow for another in-depth look at a particular aspect of the Adventurer’s Companion.
Dungeon Saga: Dwarf King’s Quest is now available to pre-order from your local retailer or the Mantic webstore. Pre-order before the 31st June and get a free exclusive Legendary Mortibris figure.