Played the first map of the demo. Won easily. It was pretty fun, but the AI wasn’t even close to being competitive. Going to try out another game without turning on tutorial mode to see if that increases the difficulty at all. If not, the game could be pretty fun in multiplayer.
Basically, each player gets to dig one hex per turn. There are various tunnel designs you can use, each with different connections to the surrounding hexes. Once a tunnel is placed, you can change the connections later. You can either try to maximize your digging potential with this or try to screw over one of your opponents. In my first game with 15 turns, I never felt I had enough tunnel for myself to try to waste a dig on my enemy.
After you dig your hex of tunnel, you move your team around. All three classes can do the same things, they just do them to different degrees of effectiveness. Scouts can move very far per turn(6 hexes, versus the miners 4 and warriors 3) but suck at combat and can’t carry much. Miners carry the most, are decent at combat, and move a fair amount of space. Warriors are good at combat, decent at carrying, and slow. I should note, there are two broad types of loot. The minerals(gold, gems, mithril) are what carrying capacity affects. Every dwarf, no matter the class, can carry one big chest which are scattered about.
Once your dwarf is full, you either have to move him back to the mining camp at the surface, or unload at various vendors. The vendors take a cut of the money, and also only accept either minerals or chests. The mining camp unloads everything and heals the dwarf, but ends up being pretty far from the riches towards the end.
You do not actively participate in the combat, you just watch your dwarves fight. If you move into a hex with an enemy or enemies, you will engage with that enemy at the end of your turn. You can move more dwarves into the hex to help out. Enemies will also spawn and attack from the unlit portions of the mine(your dwarves will put a lantern up at the end of their turn to light that section of mine). Defeated enemies drop piles of minerals, defeated dwarves get knocked out for a turn.
There are definitely several interesting decisions to make regarding how to excavate and what risks to take with your weaker dwarves, since they are faster and can get to new areas sooner. You also have to know when to turn your dwarves around to get them back to an unloading point, as well as leaving veins for them to end their turns on on the way back up.
I have several issues with the demo. First, the previously mentioned weak AI(again, after only one game) which really needs some major enhancements if there are to be no difficulty settings in the full game. Many of the animations and sequences in the game seem to take far too long for the snappy game pace the developers are aiming for. I could find no way to speed these up. Similarly, I think a simultaneous turn system could totally work with this game and would be ideal for multiplayer. I’d also personally enjoy some minor dwarf progression as the game went on.
Pretty fun demo, I’ll be interested to see what other people think.