Super Fantasy: Ugly Snouts Assault by Marco Valtriani, Published by Red Glove, Reviewed by Jason Elliott from PaladinElliott Productions
What are the recommendations for this game?
Number of players: 1-6 (I believe you could make a strong argument to have a seventh player. Someone who plays the part of an Evil Overseer, and controls the actions of all the different Snouts, Bosses, and Studs)
Time of game: 90 minutes (this can vary due to players learning the game)
Age recommendation: 8 and up (we are teaching our children who are 7 and 5, but they needed some assistance)
The back story:
This is a game where you and your friends become the adventurers saving The Empire of the Fat Phoenix from the insufferable snouts and their ilk. Two of them (Grosuk and Poncha) will guide you through learning the game in the rule book. You will learn that this is a game where you set up the board with the pieces provided for the mission you have chosen. You assemble your heroes so that they may deal damage, pick locks, open chests and doors, smash barrels and doors, all in the name of gaining experience, saving the realm, and staying alive to fight another day! You will be instructed on the hero phase, followed by the monster phase, and realize that your missions will all have a limited amount of time to complete. Don't fret if your character is knocked out, they are not gone, but as they come back, you will lose 1 turn from your time.
Keep your wits, as you work together, form strategy, and kick snout butt!
What comes in the game? (Retail Copy)
1 Rule Book
1 Missions Book
3 Big Rooms
3 Lever tokens
3 Tome tokens
1 Small Portal token
1 End of the game token
5 big pet tokens
21 snouts (made up of 13 ugly, 4 big, and 4 S.N.O.U.T.)
1 Turn Board
99 tokens (1 Fortress, 31 shield, 24 life, 18 wound, 6 stunned, 4 counter attack, 1 focused aim, 1 wolf, 1 ridden, 6 poisoned, and 6 frozen)
3 short corridors
2 big portals
1 flight of stairs
8 trap tokens
11 sleepy tokens
2 brazier tokens
2 button tokens
1 statue token
6 action dice
4 fate tokens
1 heroes turn token
1 fate die
15 small item tokens
3 ruined walls tokens
30 magic items tokens
36 skill tiles
6 hero boards
What is the end game objective? What am I striving for?
You want to complete the mission at all costs! You and your fellow heroes will have to decide how to best move through the dungeon that is set by your chosen mission. Will you try to kill everything for experience? Will some of your characters hang back until the right moment? What chests and barrels are you willing to go for? Is there going to be enough time to finish the mission? Should you trade some of your equipment off for the team win? Do you make a sacrifice this turn that will help with a future turn, or for the win?
You will have moments with these and other questions, and you will have to decide as a team, or by yourself what is the right thing to do. Remember, if the mission is completed, all of you win!
How do I set the game up? Where is that leading me to?
You want to first determine who is playing what character. They will choose their character's board, figure, and skill squares (levels 2 and 3), along with the markers for their experience level, and for the gauges for building up their skills. Once this is done, the group will need to decide what mission they are taking on. You will use the mission book for your proper set up of the dungeon, monster placement, traps, barrels, chests, items throughout the terrain (levers, buttons, tomes), and more. You will have a starting zone and an area where the mission will most likely draw to a close.
You will need to decide on group strategy, such as turn order, and what the goals are, as they will be changing as enemies flood in to stop you! You will need to keep in mind that this set up is for one off missions, and not a campaign (I am currently contemplating a way to make this into a campaign-maybe with an approach similar to Descent). I really like the game and find that after one mission, I want to go back and play more.
Your mission book is also going to assist you in playing Normal (easy), Heroic (medium), and Epic (hard) difficulty modes.
-With Normal, you will use just the yellow attributes on the monster stats and ignore their special abilities.
-With Heroic, you will use the yellow attributes on the monster stats and all of their black text special abilities.
-With Epic, you will use the red attributes on the monster stats, all of their black text special abilities, and all of their red text special abilities.
So, make sure everyone who is playing has clearly let people know what their preferences are to maximize your game session!
Who do I get to choose from?
Luckylock, The Gunslinger- Not the top for Ranged attacks, and not the top for Melee attacks, but he is good with both, making him versatile. He has great movement, but not good with Magic or Defense.
Helena, The Huntress- The top with Ranged Attacks, movement is decent, and has good skills to suppress the enemy, bolster her attack, or to assist with movement.
Barka, The Warrior- The top with Defense, good with Strength, and decent speed, he will surely be one of those characters you can tank with due to his high hit points.
Yang-Ping, The ShadowMaster- He is your go to for lock picking abilities. He has high speed, decent defense, but low hit points. Make sure you are using his backstabbing and movement abilities to their greatest potential.
Zanvor, The Duelist- Here is your top Strength, with high hit points, high speed, and decent cunning. He can manipulate several factors, including shield dice. He is good to play if you want some defending with your attacking.
Zoe, The Enchantress- Here is your Magic Powerhouse. She is able to use this magic to move around, and use tomes without checks. If you are rolling well, then make sure to use her Arcane shield to augment your defensive powers. She tops this all off with moderate ranged attacks to boot!
Now to play:
When you are playing the game, you will work through a two phase system.
-One, The Heroes Phase and
-Two, The Monsters Phase
You will be using dice for the majority of actions (there are some abilities that when fully charged you get to activate them without the use of dice, but these are clearly in the minority). Through these dice you will act on choices from the Heroes Phase (please note that I will describe effects on the dice as well)
Special Note: As we get into this, there is left, right, forward, rear and diagonal. Yes, diagonal counts as one move, you can attack, defend, and interact at the diagonal just like you could with your forward, rear, left and right.
Special Note: You will collect 1 experience for anything that is declared as an attack and deals at least 1 damage, even if that one damage kills the monster. If a monster is instantly killed, then it has taken at least 1 damage. You will gain 1 experience for each time you successfully lock pick a door, or a chest.
Special Note: Every time you roll a Star, you need to bump up one of your Skill gauges by one (don't forget) as this is one of the two ways you can fill those gauges and use them (a skill must be maxed out to be full and ready to use, and once used it goes back to the bottom setting to be ready to start refilling it).
1. Moving- One sword is one space of movement, Two swords are two spaces of movement, and the Star allows you to move the number equal to that characters speed. Make sure you pay attention to obstacles such as furniture because you will stop your movement there. You might set off a trap on the floor, or you have to take into account being adjacent to something (adjacent includes diagonals), and once you are adjacent to a Monster your movement stops. You will need to engage the Monster because you will not be able to freely breakaway unless you use a Special Skill or ability to do so.
2. Opening a door- this requires a skill check of six, whether by brute force (Strength) or by lock picking (Cunning). You will decide one of the two avenues, and then one sword counts as one, two swords count as two, and the star counts for the characters skill in either Strength or Cunning (because of whatever approach the player chose). If you lock picked the door successfully, collect your experience. (for each time that happens). You will need to be adjacent to do this.
3. Bashing a barrel- The skill amount needed is 6 or better. This is solely by Strength, as you attack the barrel to open it. You will use the same system of numbers as described by Opening a door for Strength. You cannot lock pick a barrel. You will need to be adjacent to do this.
4. Lock picking a chest- The skill amount needed is 6 or better. This is solely by Cunning, as you lock pick the chest to open it. You will use the same system of numbers as described by Opening a door for Cunning. If you lock pick the chest successfully, then collect your experience (for each time that happens). You will need to be adjacent to do this.
5. Attacking a monster- You will use the system described already, and stars will count as your Character's Strength value to add in. You will have your total, and you will compare it to the Shield value of the monster. If your value is higher than the monster's you have achieved a hit. You will then look at their blood drop value to see how many hits it takes to destroy the monster. If the hit you just achieved was all the monster could take, then you killed it. If you have dealt at least one damage to a monster, collect your experience (for each time that happens). If your bullseye icon by a weapon has a value of 1, that is 1 space or adjacent. If the value is higher than 1 then using that weapon is ranged. If you have bullseye 3 then you can only attack a Monster, Barrel, or Door that is exactly 3 spaces away. It is not up to that number, it is that number in spaces exactly. You don't worry about line of sight, except you can't shoot through Doors and you can't shoot through Walls.
6. Defending-This is where you prepare your defense for the Monster Phase. Normally all heroes will be damaged by a Monster's attack during the Monster phase. You can, though, give up dice for Shield tokens, and each token can be turned in during a Monster's attack for a die (1 to 1). So as an example, I want to have two dice to defend with, so I declare Defending, and give up two dice during my turn and gain two Shield tokens. During a future Monster Phase I am targeted so I decide to spend both Shield tokens to gain two dice to roll against the Monster's attack. The trait you will use for Stars here is Defense. If you roll at least the number of the attack, or higher, then the attack is negated.
7. Charging up- Pick this if you want to build up your gauges to full, so you can use Special Skills. If you roll 1 sword, you move up 1, 2 swords you move up 2, and a Star means you move up 1. Remember here though, whatever your total roll is, you must dedicate all of it to one skill gauge. The extra will be lost.
8. Disarming a trap- The skill required here is a 6 or higher. When you have encountered a trap, you can choose this option with your dice. To encounter a trap, you must be adjacent, and use your Cunning for your Star ratings. Be careful though, because crossing over a trap, opening a chest with a trap, or opening a door with a trap will set the trap off. You must be adjacent to do this.
Are there any variations for this game?
As previously described, there are 3 difficulty modes to this game. Take into account that the number of players dictate changes to the missions, and that how many you can have playing can be different, along with what characters are being chosen. With all of these possibilities, you have a game that in my opinion has very high replay value. So you pick a mission, or an arena (6 missions and 2 arenas) and say you beat it, you still have two other difficulties to choose from, just for that mission or arena.
This game allows for possibilities to make homebrew scenarios. Due to a great rule system, and how quickly we were able to learn the game, I would say without any doubt that you could experiment with additional creatures, characters, and abilities to further your own personal experience. It is such a great game, that I could see that possibility.
Some game results:
Our games so far have been thrilling to say the least. Our first win was with two turns left. It was on Mission one, and we had Barka The Warrior, Helena The Huntress, and Yang-Ping The ShadowMaster. Yang-Ping was brought down on the 10th turn and that pushed things forward by one round (he came back the next round). We skipped one room, due to being afraid of running out of time. We were playing the Heroic level for difficulty. We saved up all of our Special skills close to the final room in an attempt to blow out the Stud, and the support Ugly Snouts he had, and it WORKED! We had Barka bust the door, and Helena open fire, with Yang-Ping hanging back. We dealt heavy damage on the Stud as he advanced with his guard. The rolls went our way as Burka and Helena brought down the Stud in the 12th round, and during the 13th (we had 15 to complete the mission) Yang-Ping using a potion to help his Magic Check, shut down a Magic Portal and we won! It was absolutely awesome!
That gives you a taste of some of our adventures thus far!
Let me start by saying this is a game that I feel was somehow connected in spirit to games like Heroquest, Key to the Kingdom, Dark World, and Tower of the Wizard King. However, this game is smoother, more refined, quicker to learn, and because we are able to teach our kids, an absolute blast to play! You have to give this one a try, because it was a joy to play. Yes, it took some time to set up, and make sure everything was ready. After that though, getting to choose from a great assortment of Characters, and being able to do many things, makes this my "go to" experience for dungeon crawls for the whole family.
This game hit me over the head so much that I order its sequel Super Fantasy: Night of the Badly Dead, just to have more Characters, more Monsters, and to try some homebrew ways of making a larger experience. I want to consider doing more with these games in the future!
I have to give this a 10 for easy learning curve, fun for the family, many, many choices, and lots of replay value. I feel that this is a huge asset to my gaming collection, and I believe you should consider it if you are into light dungeon crawls, games with some cartoon feel, games for the whole family, low learning curves, and games where you get to level up and get better!
Please make sure to have a solid look at this one, because it truly deserves it!
Thank you so much for reading this report on Super Fantasy: Ugly Snouts Assault by Marco Valtriani, and is published by Red Glove!
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RET. SSG Jason L. Elliott (PaladinElliott)