Board Game Session Report for May 29, 2003: Dante's Inferno, Time Control, Steam Tunnel


Danger Planet session. 4-player Dante's Inferno, 4-player Time Control, 3-player Steam Tunnel.

Dante's Inferno

Players were Cindy, Karl, Rich, myself. Rich was a new player to the game. Cindy had the first turn.

We spent 15 minutes going over the rules and setting up the game.

Game Overview

Dante's Inferno is a resource-management, tile-laying game set in the nine circles of Hell.

Each tile has two of circles of Hell on it and two numbers printed on it. Players start with three pawns on the first (outer) circle which is laid out at the beginning of the game, and work their way down to the ninth circle to defeat Lucifer to win the game. Along the way, players collect souls (resources) and spend them on actions.

There are four different types of souls, and different combinations are needed to do different things.

There are three phases in a turn:

  1. fight a demon in the same space as a pawn. Winning eliminates the demon from the board. Losing kicks the pawn up one level to the nearest corner.
  2. Roll for resources. A player with a pawn on a number rolled receives the soul represented by the tile.
  3. Perform actions. Perform as many actions as resources available.

These actions are:

Other interesting rules: Rolling doubles means players may add an additional soul of their choice, rolling 7 means the player adds a demon to a corner tile, rolling 2 or 12 means the player may add or move a soul doubling chit to a tile or a zero production chit to a tile.

The game comes with beautiful plastic bits for the pawns and demons, sturdy tiles, and dice.

Session Overview

OK, so this game is like Settlers of Catan meets Carcassonne (Settlers of Hell?) -- and I mean that in a good way.

The game starts out slowly because everyone is building up resources, and it takes a bit of strategy and luck to get what you need. When you have enough pawns in lower levels, you'll start rolling in resources and can make a mad dash for the final fight with Lucifer. (Or for the many successive fights if you keep rolling badly.) All the while, the opponents will try to inhibit you and get there themselves.

Well, at least that's what our game was like. Cindy and I were finally getting comfortable with resource production, when Rich and Karl made a dash for the ninth circle. After many bad rolls, Karl finally won.

This game seems like it'll be more fun with more players rather than less, because the fun is in the interactions on a crowded board. Also, don't allow players too much time to think, because the down-time is deadly boring.

Karl asked for clarifications about the rules and got the following response. As it turns out, we interpreted the rules correctly :-)

> From: "Kerry"
> Date: Fri May 30, 2003  7:47:02  AM US/Eastern
> Subject: Re: Dante's Inferno Rules Questions
> Hi Karl,
> I'm placing a FAQ on the website very soon - as soon as my web guy can 
> make
> it active.
>> Hello. I just played Dante's Inferno for the first time, and this is
>> truly an excellent game! However, I have some rules questions that I 
>> am
>> hoping you can clear up.
>> - When you roll a 2 or a 12, in addition to placing the "good" or 
>> "bad"
>> token, do you also get a resource of your choice like you do on any
>> other double?
> Yep.
>> - If the result of a resource roll would push you past 9 resources of
>> one color, do you lose all of the resources past 9, or can you 
>> actually
>> retain the extras?
> You max out at 9.
>> - The rulebook is rather terse on the topic of fighting Lucifer. When
>> you move onto Lucifer, do you fight him at the beginning of your next
>> turn like with other demons, or do you fight him right away? If the
>> former, does that mean that no other players can move onto the 9th
>> circle, since you are occupying it?
> As soon as you pay to move to the 9th circle, you fight Lucifer.  If 
> you
> fail, you go back to the 8th level.  If you have enough resource, you 
> can do
> it again.  He's a special case.
>> If the latter, then suppose you fight him and lose, and get pushed 
>> back
>> up to the 8th circle. Can you immediately move back down and fight him
>> again, assuming you have the resources to move down a circle?
> Yep - answered above.
>> Thanks in advance for any clarification you can give.
> No problem.  I'm glad you like the game.
> I know that it was unclear in the rules not to shuffle the corner 
> tiles in
> with the rest of them as they can be placed at the beginning of the 
> game or
> as you need them.  Did you figure that out?  It was my biggest 
> concern, but
> it was too late to change the rules as it was already in production.
> Take Care,
> Kerry Breitenstein
> Twilight Creations, Inc.
> "I think the next best thing to solving a problem is finding some 
> humor in
> it."
> - Frank A. Clark
Dante's Inferno
Caption: Agonizing in the circles of Hell.

Game lasted 130 minutes. Final scores were:

Click here to learn more about Dante's Inferno at

Time Control

Players were Cindy, Karl, Eric, myself. New players to the game were: Cindy, Karl, Eric, myself.

We spent 35 minutes going over the rules and setting up the game.

Game Overview

Time Control is a real-time strategy game.

Each player has a board representing his timeline. Each player has a set of twelve agents (many with special abilities) starting in Today. The object of the game is to not lose -- last man standing. A player loses when he accumulates three or more Problems in each of three categories: Cultural, Societal and Technological.

Each round of Time Control has two turns. Each turn has three phases. During each phase, players act simultaneously. But once an action starts, it continues unless another player interrupts that action with his own action. Each phase ends when all player have taken their actions and agree to go to the next phase.

The turns are: Time Agent Turn and Time Wave Turn.

The Time Agent Turn contains the Launch Phase in which agents are assigned to different times from "Today," the Alert Phase in which agents are flipped from a "busy" state to an "alert" state, and the Action Phase in which agents perform actions: attack another agent, create time waves, attack time waves move to time zones, aid/sabotage attacks, move and invade, and snap back to Today.

The Time Wave Turn contains the Advance Phase in which time waves are advances one time zone towards Today, the Resolve Phase in which a time wave that enter Today (a situation in which players get Problems) or that enter a time zone with agents are resolved, and the Grow Phase in which a Create token is added to each time wave.

Battles are fought by selecting a token from a personal pool with a number from 1 - 21, or a "fate" token. The higher number wins. Attacker wins in a tie. The loser has a chance to call for one re-duel. A fate token means a fate card is drawn and the number on the card is used for the battle resolution. When the battle is over, the highest number token each player used is discarded. Fate tokens are never discarded.

There's a little more to it, but that's it in a nutshell.

Session Overview

Did I say that was it in a nutshell?!?!

I just received the game and was eager to try it out at Danger Planet. We spent the whole time just going over the rules. Because I wasn't familiar with them, I just read them straight through for the group. After trying half a round as a dry run, Karl gave up -- rather wanting a light game after Dante's Inferno -- and Cindy wanted to catch her bus home. So we left it for another session.

I don't think this game is overly complex, but there is a lot of rules to wade through to get the gist. Plus, there's no illustrations in the instruction booklet, so the game has to be absorbed purely through text.

The game is printed on light cardstock, and contains simple artworks that is colorful and effective.

Time Control
Caption: Time Control box art.

Click here to learn more about Time Control at

Steam Tunnel

Players were Kevin, Eric, myself. New players to the game were: Kevin, Eric, myself. Vitas then Kevin had the first turn.

We spent 5 minutes going over the rules and setting up the game.

Game Overview

Steam Tunnel is a tile game.

The board is a 6 x 6 grid of face-down tiles, four of which are face-up tiles with scoring end-nodes. Players take control of tunnel segments with the intention of owning the highest-scoring tunnels. Each tunnel is scored at the end of the game by adding the node values of a tunnel together, and counting the number of segments making up the tunnel, then multiplying those two values together. The player with the most tokens on a tunnel system gets the score -- ties are divided evenly.

Each turn, a player does two things:

1) Flip a tile

2) Either claim a tunnel segment, or bury a tile.

Burying a tile means tunnels pass straight through that tile, but doesn't count toward the score of tunnel systems connecting to it.

Session Overview

This was such a simple and engaging game that we played two times.

This game had a bit of luck and strategy. With three people, I found that two people ended up competing for a potentially major tunnel while the third player eeked out lots of small tunnels unnoticed. The competition for the big tunnels ended up with someone losing out in our case. That explains the wide spread in the scores.

Overall, this is a quick, light and engaging game, though it does take a bit of time to trace through and figure out the score.

Steam Tunnel
Caption: Steam Tunnel end-game.

Each Game lasted about 20 minutes (partly spent figuring out the score.) Final scores were:

Click here to buy Steam Tunnel at

Click here to learn more about Steam Tunnel at

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