Galaxy Defenders seems to offer a bit less than Myth in that area. There are missions, and most of them involve getting to a particular place and doing something special once there, so that's a step in the right direction. The first several missions in the rulebook are just 1 or 2 small rules or objectives that only come into play at the end of the hour-long session. Later missions are more involved, but are also balanced for larger groups of high-level well-equipped characters, and have longer expected run times. GD has interesting quests and events, it just takes several sessions and level-ups to unlock them.
Characters in Shadows have a large number of non-combat stats on their character class sheet: Agility, Cunning, Lore, Luck, Spirit, Strength, and Willpower. You don’t roll any of those in normal combat (sometimes Willpower is used for a Sanity check during a fight with the worst supernatural horrors), they exist mainly for use with the Encounter cards, which are little quests and events that happen as you travel through the maze. The demo I played was a pretty simple “learn the rules” treasure hunt, so we focused mostly on combat and didn’t see many of these Encounter cards. If that same ratio of fights to encounters exists in the main game, then SoB only has about the same number of non-violent activities as your typical GD mission… but I honestly doubt that’s the case. Given over half a dozen non-combat stats, it seems likely that they’ll come up quite often in normal play. I expect cave-ins, clue-gathering, and other exciting subplots and side-missions to crop up regularly. That said, each session is on a turn-clock (if a particular token advances 15 times the heroes lose), and the tunnel layout is pretty linear, so there may be practical limits to how many encounters and side-quests can actually happen.
And The Winner Is: Myth. Its lead in that area may shrink somewhat when I get more time with the other two games and learn their secrets, but at very least Myth has the most immediately-accessible things to do other than just simply kill for profit. (Killing things for fun and profit is the mainstay of all three games, though, so don't take that the wrong way.)
Summary and ConclusionIn the previous posts, I awarded "wins" to each game in various categories.
- Character Customization: Shadows of Brimstone
- Set-Up Speed: Myth
- Flexibility: Myth
- Game-Length: Galaxy Defenders (was tie with Myth before this update)
- Pacing: Myth
- Setting: Subjective
- Miniatures Versatility: Shadows of Brimstone
- Maps/Tiles: Shadows of Brimstone
- Rulebook: Galaxy Defenders
- NPC AI: Myth or Galaxy Defenders
- Non-Combat Activities: Myth (but Shadows of Brimstone looks interesting)
- Myth's rulebook is a ridiculous mess, and individual sessions may not have enough structure for some players.
- Galaxy Defenders has a very involved set-up process, and the game itself includes a little more clutter and book-keeping than the others.
- Shadows of Brimstone has slightly less interesting AI for the monsters, but otherwise seems quite solid. It also doesn't release for several months, and so it could have additional flaws that weren't evident in the demo I attended.