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From Fantasy to Reality: How Middara Is Revolutionizing Tabletop Gaming”

From Fantasy to Reality: How Middara Is Revolutionizing Tabletop Gaming”

Dungeon crawlers have to be the type of board game that I’m always adding to my collection. Maybe because I’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons for so long, but I always like picking up a character, venturing down into the depths, and taking out some monsters. In light of this, I was eager to play Succubus Publishing’s eagerly anticipated dungeon crawler, Middara, which had just launched. This one has now been released after being successfully financed on Kickstarter in 2015. Was it worthwhile to wait? Let’s investigate!

Overview of the Gameplay


This will be a very general introduction to playing Middara; the rulebook is available here for a detailed explanation of the rules.

In Middara, there are two modes of play: Campaign and Crawl. You should play campaign mode most of the time (more on that later). For a game of Middara, four players are ideal, each of whom gets to control a different hero. After completing the learning scenarios, you will have the freedom to fully customize your character’s equipment and skill set.

Upon perusing the lore and making your way into the dungeon, the crawl phase proceeds rather seamlessly. Initiative cards are dealt into a line after being shuffled for each character and monster. This will be the sequence of activation.

A character gains three stamina points to expend during their turn, on top of any stamina points they may have carried over from a previous turn. You can move your character, interact with dungeon objects, re-equip, evade or counterattack (when it’s not your turn), and strike using stamina points.

You roll dice according to your talents and weaponry to launch an assault. Each die has a number value in addition to a few symbols. You deal one point of damage for each roll that is higher than your target’s defense.

The ability to use an item or skill is activated by rolling symbols. The target can attempt a counterattack by using up one stamina point if the attack misses. Similar rules apply to spellcasting, with the exception that you roll a different set of dice and that armor is ignored (though occasionally it can perform extra tricks).

All monsters are managed by a basic AI. You follow the list of actions the monster will take from top to bottom on each monster card. You skip a line and go on to the next one until you locate one that can be activated if it is not possible to do so. Their attacks function similarly to those of the hero.

You may come across totems or chests throughout the crawl that will force you to consult the scenario book to add more tiles, monsters, or other plot points. However, the mission ends and you go on to the next story mission once you’ve either completed the scenario’s objectives or lost all of your enemies. Whether or whether you win the current situation determines what scenario you play next. Replaying failed missions is not possible.

Gaming Experience

With so many dungeon crawlers on the market, a game must work hard to stand out. The game’s mythology and plot make Middara stand apart. This game relies on narrative to hook players. A 500-page scenario book! I swear, this book is thick and has 3-4 pages of stories between missions. What your party wants from a dungeon crawler will determine if this is good for you.

However, Succubus Publishing successfully released a free app that narrates tale segments, alleviating some fears. Reading aloud large blocks of text isn’t always easy in our group, so playing the app and listening along was excellent. Even though the tale had too much teenage drama for me, the app’s voice acting was great.

A decoder will disclose concealed text in red boxes in the scenarios that will be used during a mission. Even though you view the map beforehand, it won’t be the complete assignment. Often, more tiles, monsters, or treasures will appear. Red reveal boxes were an excellent way to keep a game’s surprise from being spoiled.

Once the plot is over, you’ll see the game’s massive content. Yes, this box is heavy. Tokens, cards, miniatures, monsters, and pamphlets abound. I could spend 100+ hours playing the complete campaign. Middara is a long-term game. There are also sealed decks you’ll open for further surprises (no spoilers).

The story and material were nice, but Middara excels at character customization. After completing the learning scenarios, you can create your four characters. Characters can be created using 5 discipline trees (skill classes). You can switch classes when you level up, which is cool. Want to learn spellcasting and then martial arts? Go for it. After the talents, you can choose from many weapons and equipment. This level of character customization is rare in dungeon crawlers. Very impressive.

You probably shouldn’t play this as a one-shot dungeon crawler. Middara is best played as a campaign, from story to character growth. Middara loses some sparkle with a one-shot dungeon adventure. This is because mechanics aren’t the focus. Have done it previously. However, everything else will keep you coming back.

Middara has great components (the dungeon tiles have Spot UV coating!), however the rulebook could be better. It’s thorough, but regulations are easy to miss. To prepare for our first game, I read the regulations and watched videos online but missed something. I spent so long identifying each card and component type when I first organized the game. I should also note that Succubus Publishing has released many game errata based on player input. While updating is wonderful, I’m sure gamers will be disappointed that the game they got was updated on day 1.

First Impressions

This game is huge. I was captivated by the look and was surprised by how much there was to do as I organized the parts. I adore dungeon crawlers and was curious how this changed the experience.

Game Quality and Build

This construction is impressive. Beautiful mins, cards, and dice abound. Ring-bound campaign book pages are robust. My page had some little tears, but I’m not sure if they were from transit or my handling. A little tape fixed it. Game cards are robust and high-quality. This seems reasonable given the quantity of moving you’ll undertake. These small trays are well-made and useful for organizing. The map tiles are large and durable, with shiny water features that stand out.

In the top shot, I failed to put some things out and didn’t discover until I was putting everything away because this box is so full. Note that the game does not include the plastic storage box. I needed it for all the tokens and parts.

This game’s production is great. It may be the best-made game I’ve seen.

Artistic Direction

Amazing art. I like the subtle anime look of the characters and world. The world, characters, and creatures in the novel are beautifully depicted. The cards’ art shows the item well and has a catalogue-like appearance that’s enjoyable and functional.

Fun Factor

No dungeon master is needed in this Middara crawl RPG. To finish the scenario easily, you must make tactical decisions. Inventory must be balanced with what needs changing. You don’t always heal between scenarios and may have to cope with certain decisions or roles in subsequent missions. Monsters strike strong and unforgiving. Your squad feels powerful right away. I never felt powerless, although my characters were in danger countless times.

Weight and Age Range

The box states 15+, which seems near. You must make many tactical judgments and monitor a lot of things at once. This will challenge younger players. Playing with my 11-year-old niece was okay, but I had to remember most of the rules and point them out.

It is heavy. The regulations are complex and have several elements. RPGs without dungeon masters are a nice analogy. You should look up all the monsters’ keywords before releasing one to make sure you’re ready. With a few exceptions, the rules keep tag lists, etc. organized and accessible.


It took a long time for original Middara campaign backers to obtain their games, but it was worth it. A massive, full collection from Succubus Publishing will amuse dungeon-crawler fans for hours. The components are great, the art is gorgeous (but not for everyone), and the gameplay is solid. Be aware of Middara’s genre.

It’s a typical one-shot dungeon crawler with nothing special. Middara may be the best tale and character builder.