After a full game, what are my feelings?
- It does a great job of evoking the atmosphere of Arthurian legends. The encounters that my character faced seemed appropriate for the theme.
- As I mentioned in my initial thoughts, random encounters seem more appropriate and more logical for wandering the countryside as opposed to exploring a dungeon.
- It uses the Four Against Darkness base rules, which allow for quick and easy resolution of combat.
- It creates wonderful, coherent stories. One reason I like solo gaming is the opportunity to write up the story of the battle or adventure. My adventure with Sir Rowan seemed tailor made for telling the tale.
Neutral (could be a pro or con depending on your preferences)
- KOD strikes me as more challenging than 4AD. Your character may find himself facing a difficult opponent all alone whereas 4AD pits a group against the boss. This makes boss fights more difficult in KOD.
- KOD is less concerned with accumulation of treasure and more about saving the kingdom. If you like playing a hero (as I do) then this objective will be more satisfying than 4AD's hunt for treasure.
- My character seemed more subject to the whims of fate, with less chance to make decisions that matter.
- Mapping the dungeon in 4AD gives a sense of decision-making and control. Do I go this way or that way? Of course, due to the random nature of encounter determination, it doesn't really matter which way your characters go, but it does make it feel like your in control. In KOD, there is no mapping so the encounters seem thrust upon you as opposed to choosing your fate. Admittedly, you can make some decisions (e.g. if I roll a 1 on the Journey table my character may go to the inn or seek an encounter). In my adventure, the chooses were pretty cut-and-dry, however, so it just felt like I had no decisions to make.
- One aspect of 4AD that allows decision-making is the push-your-luck nature of the dungeon. When my characters are wounded, I need to decide when the characters should head back to the exit. Do they leave with their gains or try to do one more room? In KOD, your character is pretty much locked into the quest - either win (find the Grail) or die trying.
- Resource management (especially with respect to healing magic) seems less subject to control in KOD. In 4AD, you need to decide when to expend the party's healing but in KOD you are dependent on finding an inn (on a random roll).
- My assessment may be a little harsh. There are opportunities for decisions - certain rolls on the Journey table allow you to choose the path your character takes, resource management comes out in the hiring of retainers, gathering rumors will allow you to modify the results on the encounter table, giving you control over the type of encounter you face. I just had bad luck so I never had enough resources to hire many retainers or use rumors.
- Battles vs. bosses took a lot longer than in 4AD. This is because my character and the boss had a lot of life points. With a 1-on-1 battle, attrition slowly whittled away those points over a number of turns. I'd like to see a mechanism to speed those battles up (perhaps allow multiple attacks per turn).
While I feel that there are pros and cons, will I play this game again?
Above all, this game creates wonderful stories. Some may not have nice, happy endings but they will be suspenseful and entertaining. And that is my main reason for solo gaming.