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TOPIC: Gen Con 2017 Puzzle Reviews

Gen Con 2017 Puzzle Reviews 3 years 1 month ago #1

I wanted to review the two puzzle runs of this year's True Dungeon: The Moongate Maze and Dancing Among Stones.

Overall, I was pleased with both of the puzzle runs this year. This was my second year of participating in True Dungeon and I enjoyed both. My party ran the normal difficulty puzzles both on Thursday night.

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We ran Moongate first. My close friends consisted of the first 7 of our party while 3 others joined us for a full 10 party group. The character setup was pretty normal and straightforward because we had more experienced True Dungeon players than new players. We were all able to teach and share the setup gear with the new players which went well. Quick note about setup, our DM who took down all of our stats and gear was SUPER good. She was extremely experience with it and was quick. I really liked how she simply kept our character sheets facing our way just in-case we had other questions.

In our training room, I didn't like our trainer at all. I don't remember his name but he said a few things that I would never say to paying customers of True Dungeon. Being that some of us knew what True Dungeon is and what the training room is, my friend and I started quietly talking about the technical ways of how damage works with the pucks. I was simply interested in how things really work. The training room trainer overheard us talking about how damage works with the numbers around the pucks and he comes up to us and says the following: "Just shut up, it's just not worth the time or explanation". I don't care if we were even correct with how damage works; this is something you shouldn't ever say as a trainer for True Dungeon. My friends and I were talking together; we were not talking to the trainer at this time. He was very rude when he said this to us. He wasn't joking, he was literally trying to be rude with us about talking about how the damage works. During the entire time of the training room, he also said a number of other things to us that was not welcoming. I don't remember everything he said but his demeanor, tone, and overall presence was just rude. Compared to our 2016 True Dungeon experience, our trainer that year was in full character; acting, talking, behaving all in a fantasy character. This year, our trainer was rude, not in character (at all), and didn't welcome us very well.

The Moongate puzzles were great even though my party didn't solve all of them. We felt really certain about a few but were not able to solve them.

Our second run was the Dancing Among Stones puzzle run. Setup was again just fine. Our DM who wrote down our character stats was not as great as our previous run but no issues there.

Our training room trainer in this puzzle run was much more easy-going. Our trainer was much more helpful and laid back. For example, he quickly went over the rules again for the couple of new people but for the second half of training, he just went around answering questions. We again talked about how damage technically works with the pucks. However, this time, the trainer came up and simply told us how damage works with the pucks. He wasn't rude at all, he was helpful.

In our first room, we had an NPC who was our guide for the first room and into the second room. This guy was simply amazing. He was a very charismatic, happy, and funny character. For example, when we attempted to pull the chains and solve the puzzle, he popped his head up smiling and said that we were not successful. -Expect that he didn't say "we were not successful". I'm almost certain he said something funny. While we made mistakes solving this puzzle, he basically made our mistakes fun.

In a later room, we faced a dragon head enemy. Great job on the work of the dragon. It was really cool! My only complaint was the following. I don't know if the DM was being generous or not but a lot of people died in my party fighting the dragon. When there were only 2 of us left, the dragon simply retreated away from us. Again, I'm not sure if that was intentional or not, but I didn't like it that he just left. I was one of the two alive and I enabled my Rage ability as Barbarian. There was this moment in our party that with only 2 of us left, we may have been able to finish the dragon. But in the peak of everything, he simply left. It was so very anti-climatic.

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A couple of generic comments on the bad things of the puzzles. A few puzzle rooms in both runs had some mechanical things that didn't work fully. This includes the room with the bowls (or plates) that we had to put flowers on them. If we tapped the bowl, a music was made. It's totally fine that some didn't work because we were able to solve the room. But I mention this because the broken bowls confused us in the puzzle.

Another room that apparently didn't work fully was the room I mentioned earlier with the awesome NPC. We had to pull levers out of a box. We weren't allowed to pull the levers because they apparently didn't work. Again, not a big deal but in the theme of things, we instead had to say "Open" when attempting to solve.

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Final thoughts. My friends and I had a great time this year. We thought the puzzles were pretty difficult though. We went through a couple of rooms back to back where we didn't solve the puzzle. The Dancing Among Stones puzzle run was particularly difficult. I read other reviews before writing this and I would agree with the price point of True Dungeon this year. It was pretty expensive to play this year at $62 per run. 8/10 people in my party died in Dancing Among Stones and paying that much money to die in room 5/7 must have sucked, even on the normal difficulty. I hope to see TD around the $50 to $55 price point next year.

Thanks for another great year. Good job to everyone behind the scenes.

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Last edit: by Brad White. Reason: spelling

Gen Con 2017 Puzzle Reviews 3 years 1 month ago #2

I'm sorry to hear about the rude training coach and the issues with the puzzles. Hopefully somebody can figure out who it was and take the appropriate actions to avoid this problem in the future.

I did want to mention that, for better or worse, none of the True Dungeon volunteers are required to dress in any particular way other than the NPCs who specifically have that role. Coaches, trainers, and DMs often times just wear normal clothes. Some may choose to dress up of course.
My online token shop: www.tdtavern.com

We buy, sell, and trade True Dungeon tokens. We also have a convenient consignment program where you can sell your own tokens.

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Gen Con 2017 Puzzle Reviews 3 years 1 month ago #3

Spoilers, but you should assume that in a post-GenCon review:
Too bad about the trainer. All of my runs had good or great trainers. Some of the coaches missed some things but we were able to get them resolved. But please report the exact day and time of any runs where you had issues. TD knows who worked when and where.

Some clarifications:
Some of the puzzles broke by the last day. Some people are as gentle as an angry ox and just don't get it. Having helped with dungeon setup I knew what force was required for most of the puzzles and I tried to impart that. But I saw one player that shoved the puzzle tile for the stars room so hard the table was shoved over several inches and would have gone further if it hadn't been stopped by people on the other side. When told to tap the side of the bowls in the moongate they hit the sides with a karate chop so hard that it probably further broke the plastic plate inside and definitely lifted the whole bowl off the table.

Some people just lack fine motor control, or awareness, or ability to moderate their strength. TD needs to do a rubber mallet test where if things can't stand up to a strong whack with a rubber mallet it won't work in the dungeon.

The unity box was set up with chains originally. They only all pulled out if the previous correct chains were pulled and held. Some players didn't understand they had to hold it out and let go or some just over pulled. When you have a chain and you yank on it quickly it's the same as putting a much heavier weight on it. Looked like maybe a few hundredweight chain, and a quick pull is going to easily exceed that. So they were quickly broken and the holding them and saying open was the fixed version.

The 'dragon' was technically a draccus ( info on draccus ). It was nearly impossible to kill and was supposed to run away after a certain amount of damage. He also did a lot of damage, being an angry house-sized monster. Anyway, a full party decked out in nightmare-level gear but playing on normal was about the only way to actually kill it. If there were just two of you when it ran then there was no chance of killing it. It's a lore thing.

Interesting thing about the bowls is a player in my group found if you used a token to lightly tap on the top metal ring around the bowl rim it would make a nice clear tone. You didn't have to hit or smack it at all, just a light tap. All of the bowls worked fine for us this way, but it was one of the last runs on Saturday when we fully embraced this.

My understanding is based on demand pressures and the cost of the hall rental it's hard to lower the price for the adventure. It's more likely the puzzles need to be refined more with better testing in advance to make sure they are more reliable, robust, and there is enough information provided to solve them.

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Last edit: by Lodestone (KH).

Gen Con 2017 Puzzle Reviews 3 years 1 month ago #4

Lodestone (KH) wrote: The 'dragon' was technically a draccus ( info on draccus ). It was nearly impossible to kill and was supposed to run away after a certain amount of damage. He also did a lot of damage, being an angry house-sized monster. Anyway, a full party decked out in nightmare-level gear but playing on normal was about the only way to actually kill it. If there were just two of you when it ran then there was no chance of killing it. It's a lore thing.


The solution that we found worked well for killing it on Nightmare was to just let our Assassin kill it in the first round.

I have a theory about another way to kill it on Nightmare, which I hope to try at GameHoleCon.

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Gen Con 2017 Puzzle Reviews 3 years 1 month ago #5

Fiddy wrote:

Lodestone (KH) wrote: The 'dragon' was technically a draccus ( info on draccus ). It was nearly impossible to kill and was supposed to run away after a certain amount of damage. He also did a lot of damage, being an angry house-sized monster. Anyway, a full party decked out in nightmare-level gear but playing on normal was about the only way to actually kill it. If there were just two of you when it ran then there was no chance of killing it. It's a lore thing.


The solution that we found worked well for killing it on Nightmare was to just let our Assassin kill it in the first round.

I have a theory about another way to kill it on Nightmare, which I hope to try at GameHoleCon.


Did you actually kill it or it ran away? Bard lore gets a nice hint too.

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Gen Con 2017 Puzzle Reviews 3 years 1 month ago #6

jon wrote:

Fiddy wrote:

Lodestone (KH) wrote: The 'dragon' was technically a draccus ( info on draccus ). It was nearly impossible to kill and was supposed to run away after a certain amount of damage. He also did a lot of damage, being an angry house-sized monster. Anyway, a full party decked out in nightmare-level gear but playing on normal was about the only way to actually kill it. If there were just two of you when it ran then there was no chance of killing it. It's a lore thing.


The solution that we found worked well for killing it on Nightmare was to just let our Assassin kill it in the first round.

I have a theory about another way to kill it on Nightmare, which I hope to try at GameHoleCon.


Did you actually kill it or it ran away? Bard lore gets a nice hint too.


The Assassin succeeded in landing on the 20, using a sneak attack, with the 6 on the weapon facing the damage dot.

It definitely died. Our Assassin has been extremely lucky over the few years we've had that ability. I think he's up to 7 successful assassinations.

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Gen Con 2017 Puzzle Reviews 3 years 1 month ago #7

We got it to stomp away by putting the fire out. After it was over our DM hinted to us that it had several hundred HP even on normal mode and that putting the fire out was definitely the smart way to do it.

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Gen Con 2017 Puzzle Reviews 3 years 1 month ago #8

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Brad White wrote: I didn't like our trainer at all. I don't remember his name but he said a few things that I would never say to paying customers of True Dungeon.

I sincerely apologize for how you were treated. That's definitely not appropriate behavior for a trainer.

Please PM me with as many details as you can remember. If possible, include the day & exact time of your run.
Have you looked it up in the TDb ?
Please post TDb corrections/suggestions in this thread .
If I write something in teal, it should not be taken seriously.

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Gen Con 2017 Puzzle Reviews 3 years 1 month ago #9

Our group didn't kill it, but I am sure we could have. We were running harcore and on the first round managed to deal 268 pts of damage to so it ran away. If only it had stayed a round or two more I am sure we could have murdered it.
Paladin of the one true God.

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Gen Con 2017 Puzzle Reviews 3 years 1 month ago #10

John wrote: We got it to stomp away by putting the fire out. After it was over our DM hinted to us that it had several hundred HP even on normal mode and that putting the fire out was definitely the smart way to do it.


Did you have to use the extinguish flame scroll?

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