Friedemann Friese

2F GAMES 2006




It has been a while since a band of daring adventurers has embarked on their long quest to save Fairy Fabula who has been captured by sinister Fürst Fieso. However, after fighting their way out of Fieso's clutches in Finstere Flure, our Heroes now have entered Fieso's final Dungeon to free Fabula. However, there are Fürchterliche Feinde waiting everywhere, so the Heroes have to be careful indeed.

At the beginning of the game the gameboard showing Fieso's dungeon is spread out, and a green Power chip is placed within every room of the dungeon. The rooms are interconnected by passages and crossroads, and at each of these crossroads a face-down crossroads marker is placed. During the game, these crossroad markers will be revealed, and usually they will not be open to all sides so that passages will be blocked and players will have a changed Dungeon layout every time they play. Four special teleport markers are also placed at certain positions, and during the game these teleporters are interconnected in pairs, so that a player may move from one teleporter to the other. The 50 monster tokens available in the game actually are not mixed but sorted after their strength. The upmost four monsters with a strength from 1 to 4 are mixed and placed in the four entrance rooms of the Dungeon. The following monsters with strengths from 5 to 48 then are placed in a stack in rising order, and only the last two monsters (Fieso and his monster Furunkulus) are mixed up with three additional treasure tokens and placed below the ordered stack of monsters. Each player receives a token to mark his current wisdom on the wisdom-track of the board (start player starts with one wisdom, next with two wisdom etc) and a stockpile of six power chips, and finally the spell cards available are sorted into four decks which are mixed thoroughly.

During a player's turn, a player has the options to either move and fight, move twice or take additional power chips from the power track.

If a player moves, he may move up to six steps within the dungeon, but he has to stop on a room occupied by a monster. There he has to stay until the monster is defeated, unless the monster still is too strong for him in which case he may flee the following turn. If a player arrives at a room with a monster and decides to battle it, the outcome of the battle is determined by a player's current wisdom. If a player's wisdom is equal or greater than the strength of the monster, he may battle it and a battle dice has to be rolled both for the Hero and the monster. The result of the combat is reached by substracting the dice roll of the player from the monster's dice roll (the monster's dice shows slightly higher results), and the fighting player has to give up the resulting number of power chips. However, if the player was lucky and a negative result is the outcome of the battle, he has to pay no power chips but receives an additional Gold as a bonus. If the player can pay the demanded result of power chips, he has won the battle and will receive its token. This token has a value of one to seven Gold, and in the end the winner of the game will be determined by each player adding up their Gold stockpile. In addition, the player also may draw to upmost card from the deck of spells and furthermore he will gain wisdom, allowing him to adjust his wisdom so that it now matches the sum of the monster's strength plus a wisdom award which depends on the number of participating players. Seeing this combat mechanism, it becomes clear that a player will gain no new wisdom from fighting weaker monsters, and such monsters accordingly are so awed by the attacking player's wisdom that they die from a heartstroke. Also, a player who wins simply by an exceedingly high wisdom will only receive a lower reward for the killed monster, thus reducing the monster's gold value by one. If, on the other hand, a player's wisdom is lower than the monster's strength he may still combat against it, and even though he cannot win he will get an additional wisdom as a reward for trying.

After a successful combat, all power chips still allocated in rooms connected to the newly cleared room are removed and exchanged for new monsters from the sorted pile, so that the player now will see which monsters wait in the rooms to come. Also, now the time has come to reveal the crossroad markers in adjoining corridors, and here a player has to turn them over one edge without changing their facing.

All power chips taken from the gameboard are placed on the power supply scale on the gameboard, and here also one power chip is placed of the quota of chips which a player has to pay for winning a battle. If a player decides not to move, he may instead take approximately one third of the power chips from this power supply scale, thus refreshing his character's power supply for the battles to come.

So far, so good. But you might actually ask what specific rules are included in the game which Friedemann Friese considers to make the game a worthy successor to both Fische, Fluppen, Frikadellen and Finstere Flure. For one, the game also contains the already mentioned spells, and the variety of spells included allows a player to move farther, increase his supply of power chips or wisdom for a battle, turn crossroads or to influence a monster by either increasing or decreasing its strength or moving it for a room or two. Okay, spells are not new to fantasy games either, but when you consider the fact that the game does not work on an engine of randomly drawn monsters but a sorted deck of monsters you discover that the game features an element of strategy other "Dungeon Crawl" type games lack. Here you may calculate which monsters appear next, and by the clever use of spells you can either hamper your opponents or manipulate the outcome of a combat of your own character in a way to either win against a strong monster or to have a higher wisdom increase from a weaker monster.

Another special rule also is connected to the movement of monsters. After the first 23 monsters have been used, a token for the most dim-witted adventurer will be introduced, and this token always stays with the player having the lowest wisdom rating. That player now becomes enabled to move the weakest monster on the board for up to three rooms, and moving the monster around opens the player a lot of different possibilities since he now may either pick up other character and move them to rooms with stronger monsters, pick up his own character to move him for a greater distance in the dungeon, or just move the monster to his character to be able to fight it and gain additional wisdom.

A further rule actually quite nicely captures the spirit of fantasy games, since a player also may decide both to follow a player with more wisdom as some sort of apprentice. When sharing a space with a more wise player, the wiser player may be followed by the apprentice whenever he moves, and for each turn the apprentice spends with the wiser player he will get one wisdom for himself. However, this only works as long as the apprentice has less wisdom than the other player, and this procedure also does not allow to raise wisdom so far as to become level with the wisdom of the master. Unfortunately, a player may not refuse an apprentice, but if he possesses a fitting invisibility spell he may leave the apprentive without giving him a chance to follow.

Once the last two monsters Fürst Fieso and Furunkulus have been killed, the game directly comes to its end. However, since even a Fairy like Fabula has an economic spirit and some demands for luxury, she will - rather materialistically - choose the richest player as the winner of the game.

Friedemann Friese's gaming trilogy about Fieso and Fabula started with Fische, Fluppen, Frikadellen as an economy-tactics game, was then followed by a clever Roborally spin-off in Finstere Flure and now has become a Dungeon exploration game with Fürchterliche Feinde. As said, the real strength and novelty about Fürchterliche Feinde is the fact that the appearance of each monster may be calculated and thus the game offers much more room for strategy than you would expect from a usual Dungeon game. Only the ending is kept open, since the last five markers in the monster deck are a random shuffle of Fieso, Furunkulus and three treasure chests, and here a tight game may find an exciting ending due to some last minute changes in the players' gold scores. Although not equipped with a mind-boggling monster-movement-mechanism like Finstere Flure, this new game of Friedemann Friese once again is refreshingly different from many things which have been tried in former games, and this coupled with the also included good degree of player interaction which is especially caused by the "dumbest player" rules gives the game a remarkable atmosphere which might not be guessed by a first fugitive look on either box or board.

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany