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(TFT) Death Test 2010
Death Test 2010 an Attempted Review
Death Test 2010 designed by Dan Tulloh.
First let me say this is just my opinion and I in no way mean any offe
nse to any party involved.
One quick word about the construction, I do understand this is a build
at home project and not professionally edited, I would have liked to hav
e been able to print two side copies of the cards where the front and bac
k matched up.
So on to the game review I am going to assume everyone has played Deat
h Test, so I will only be naming rooms not going into details when I talk
about the mechanics. Next I am going to break this review up into two pa
rts. First the mechanics of play versus the original Death Test, then so
me of the changes to rooms and play (this will have spoilers so if you wa
nt to be surprised/outraged don’t read them until after you have
played the game a few times).
So the mechanics as the rules explain randomize the order that the roo
ms appear, basically you flip cards with either hall passages (one way, t
hree way or four way) or rooms where you start in the entry hexes; in add
ition there are dead ends that can make you back track (more on that late
r). One effect of this is that you can’t just run to the Copper
Room if you lose a couple of people or avoid the horrible death that is t
he Green Room if you have a wizard in the party. Another is that you som
etimes don’t get to a room before you find the exit, in four game
s I have yet to find the Violet Room once.
But the fun doesn’t stop there the treasure is also random, so
rooms that used to just have gold as treasure may have gold, jewels or h
ealing potions. This can really save or hurt a party depending upon when
or if you find a healing potion. I found that I really had to open the
chest in the Red Room, instead of relieving myself in it, to find out wha
t treasure was in it.
Based just upon this the game really changes because you can’t
memorize the route or guarantee where you can find healing potions or he
lp anymore. All of this make the test more deadly especially for beginni
Next the Rooms (Spoiler Alert!), I now curse the Black Room with a ven
geance. You still run into another group of adventures, but if you come
back into the room there is yet another group. The room is never empty a
nd invariably the next card is a dead end. In three out of the four game
s I have played I went through this room twice, the first game I didn��t know about this nasty trick. In the other two games I have one immed
iate dead end card and the other hallway to a room then the dead end forc
ing me to backtrack through the room again. Fighting at even odds once i
s bad enough but to have to do again can kill you. The only saving grace
of this room now is that there is a chance for you to join parties if yo
u are less than four people and you roll well.
Red Room it might not just be spiders this time, which is a very nice
change. Plus it isn’t always safe not to be near the chest. I f
elt the changes in this room were some of the best.
Gold Room, this room isn’t just the two bears anymore. You ca
n get a mix of bears and wolves (50/50 chance for each of the two locatio
ns) I found it toughest with the six wolves their high DX made it tougher
to kill them quickly. As where with the two bears generally you can gan
g up and kill one bear before the other one can rip apart one of your cha
racters, sometimes even before the other bear gets there. At least this
room has a lot of treasure (8 cards worth) so you hopefully can heal some
Orange Room, Dan has moved the Gargoyle randomly so you can’t
take it out in one round without a lot of luck. This is another change t
hat I had made myself.
Lastly the Coral Room, which is basically you roll to see of you got l
ost by a mapping mistake. If you get lost you pick up all the cards and
start over the rooms that you had already entered are as you left them, b
ut this is just about a deal breaker as most groups will have a really to
ugh time surviving this.
All the other rooms are as in Death Test.
The changes Dan has made put new life into an old classic. Death Test
2010 is survivable, but some of the rooms have become much more deadly e
specially the Gold Room. The additional twist in the Black Room makes ba
cktracking painful at the minimum and suicidal on average. The Coral Roo
m might be the most dangerous as you will probably end up going through m
ore rooms than you would if didn’t get lost.
In summary, the Thorsz now get what he wants. Heroes, because with th
is new format I just can’t see a way that beginning characters wi
ll be able to get through on anything but a shockingly rare basis. Obvio
usly Mr. Tulloh knew this and put in suggestions on how to make it easier
or (if you want to) harder. Overall I think that 36-40 point characters
have a fighting chance, after all we still know what is in each room if
not the order of rooms. I would recommend this as the preferred way to p
lay even for players who haven’t played Death Test, because the r
andom factors make the labyrinth more unpredictable.
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