Kerkerkruip dungeon shape

In my playthroughs of Kerkerkruip, I’ve found one factor that strongly determines how far I will get: how many rooms I can visit before using up all my free retreats. If I can’t get to more than 2 or 3 rooms, chances are I will die in my first battle or two. Am I doing something wrong? Or is it really much harder when the map is less open?

Needless to say, I am not a fan of random tunnel collapses.

If the map is a little more open, you will of course have the chance to get more stuff before getting into the first fight, so it certainly is a boon. But level 1 enemies should be defeatable, and the map is set up in such a way that you will always be able to fight a level 1 enemy first. Do you find that defeating level 1 enemies is hard without extra items?

No, I can usually defeat a level 1 enemy. But I’m often in the situation where:

  • There are only two paths I can take
  • On one of the paths is a Level 2 enemy
  • One of the enemies is a wandering creature, and I end up stumbling onto it or fighting two creatures at once

Not being able to choose which Level 1 (or Level 2) enemy to fight first is a pretty serious disadvantage. I often get killed by the level 2 enemy in these situations: The Reaper and the jumping bomb I can maybe handle with good rolls, and maybe the chain golem if I’m very lucky, but the hound and the demon of rage are both very difficult for me to defeat without extra help. Am I just missing some strategies?

Isn’t that an inherent quality of rogue likes? You can be screwed by random configuration right at the beginning?

I think it’s a common quality, but I’m not sure if I’d say inherent. On the whole, I think Kerkerkruip does an amazing job of making a high percentage of games winnable.

Here’s a perfect example. Do you think this game is winnable? What would you do?

Well, how about that. I won the game! I think I got very lucky with the Reaper, though:

Congrats with that win! Your comments make me believe that I need to tweak the collapse code a bit; I’m going to take a look it.

By the way, skimming this article greatly improved my Kerkerkruip performance: … mindfully/

To play Kerkerkruip mindfully, I take my time with every turn, and when each game is over I stop playing, think about how it went, and then do something completely different.

I’ve changed collapsing passages in such a way that they collapse with a probability based on the player’s greatest absorbed power. If the player hasn’t absorbed any powers, she will never collapse a passage (but will get a message about the passage feeling unstable).

Does that sound good, or does it remove too much of the danger?

And yes, taking your time between turns and games is a very good idea! I finf this relatively hard with graphical map based roguelikes involving many easy fights, like TOME 4 and DCSS, but quite easy with Kerkerkruip. I often spend minutes thinking about my strategy.

Also, feel free to give me some feedback about this proposal:

And I have (presumably) fixed the minotaur bug you sent me!

That sounds good. I wouldn’t object to eliminating collapses completely, but that’s mostly because they tend to happen at the beginning of the game. If they happened later, they might actually be fun.