Loot and Scoot is best described as a dungeon crawl board game, which celebrates a rich heritage of adventurers plundering dungeons with various monsters in it. It is a tried and true formula and presented here for your entertainment. Loot and Scoot is the first major digital game offering by the independent company Victory Point Games.
The game promises you an opportunity to both dungeon crawl, construct dungeons, recruit adventuring groups, and loot treasure. This works because each player owns their own dungeon, which they populate with a series of monsters of increasing strength. Your desire is that the monsters you place in the set up of the game will be sufficient to thwart the advances of other parties. Of course, you also control your own adventuring group to exactly the same thing to your opponent’s dungeons.
Most of your gameplay is focused on the dungeon crawl perpetuated by your adventurers, while the dungeon you create at the beginning of the game is much more passive. At the start of the game everyone will be given an identical dungeon map, each with a series of chambers. You will place this boss monster along with a random selection of other monsters. When you have laid out all your monsters the game starts in earnest.
Each band of adventurers consists of two adventurers from a possible 4 different class types: fighter, cleric, thief, and wizard. Each have an icon that is important for types of combat. This is because each monster will have two sets of icons. The first set corresponds to the icons that the adventurers have. This represents which type of adventurers can attack that monster. The lower level monsters are vulnerable to more variety of adventurers, the higher have less vulnerabilities. The other icon that is shown is how many damage it can inflict each round.
During combat, every able bodied adventurer can have a die thrown. If you roll at least one six the monster is defeated. Since at most you can have four adventurers attacking this means the probability each turn of getting a six is 16.67% (1 adventurer), 30.56 % (2 adventurers), 42.13 % (3 adventurers), and 51.77 % (4 adventurers). If you fail to inflict at least one damage to the monster it will deal its damage to your characters. You can either drop that damage on hirelings (who do nothing to aid an attack but will die for you), or on one of your adventurers and have them return to the inn.
At some point you will either retreat from the dungeons, turn and flee from combat, or lose all your adventurers in vain battle. How you go about this and the accumulated successes will determine how much gold you acquire at the end of your dungeon crawl. You may of course revisit a dungeon or visit another dungeon next turn. All progress is retained. The game ends when one player’s boss monster is defeated. The victor is the player that has the most loot when this occurs.
Between dungeon crawls you will remain at the inn. Here you have a bunch of options that let you expand or upgrade your party. This will be key to success as you’ll want to have a proficient team to take on the nastier monsters. Without these the level 4 monsters and up will quickly cut your party down. Since you only have two actions for each visit to the inn and one of those should be used for looting (instigating a dungeon crawl), you’ll basically be breaking even on actions if you’re just trying to replace dead hirelings.
While it is good to see indy developers bring out more properties to the iPad I am concerned about this particular game because it shows a distinct lack of polish. The most grievous fault is its tendency to crash and other stablising issues. I’ve not yet managed to complete a game due to it crashing after about the third dungeon crawl. Until this is fixed it might not be worth your while.
My second major complaint is that the games visual presentation looks a bit rough and pixelated. It’s the sort of resolution I’d expect from an iPhone game that had been magnified for the iPad. The sound – while appropriate for the game – seems to be on a bit of a tedious loop. It’s very bombastic and full of pomp, and sounds just right for a noble charge into the enemy, but that’s not what dungeon crawling is always about.
Last but not least, they don’t have a tutorial – only a rule set. However, I will admit that it didn’t take a lot of head scratching to figure out this game – it’s pretty straight forward. You might need to have a test run or two to get your head around its bits and pieces.
6/10: This game shows a lot of promise but is let down by technical errors. Normally, I would still encourage the fine gaming community to support this game due to its independent status. However, until they fix their stability issues I’d advise holding off (they did recently update with a promise to that effect but it’s still plagued by crashes at the time of review).Loot and Scoot,