Saturday, February 16, 2013

Review of the new Dungeon!

As mentioned in a previous post I owned the game Dungeon Quest but we got frustrated by it. I kept thinking that the old TSR classic Dungeon! would be perfect for simple dungeon crawls with my wife. Lo and behold, my prayers were answered as Wizards of the Coast reprinted the game in 2012. I purchased a copy and we have played it a few times already.

Dungeon! is a simple, relatively short dungeon crawl game. Players take on the roles of a wizard, fighter, cleric, or rogue and explore a dungeon looking for treasure. The first player out of the dungeon with a set amount of treasure (depending on the character class – as the most powerful characters wizards need the most treasure, etc.) wins the game. In our experience, games usually take about 1½ hours.

The turn sequence is quite simple. Each player can move 5 spaces per turn. If a player enters a room or a chamber, he or she draws a monster card and battles it. Battle involves one roll of 2 D6s. Defeating the monster requires rolling greater than or equal to a target number on the monster card (the number varies depending on the character class). If the player loses, he or she rolls to see the effect, which varies from nothing to death! Wizards also get spell cards (fireball, lightning bolt, or teleport). If the player defeats a monster in a room, he or she draws a treasure card.

The mechanics are quite simple, so the game moves quickly. However, this simplicity may be a drawback to some people. Combat is so simple (a single die roll) that it can seem to lack a certain atmosphere. A more complex combat system could be an interesting twist, although it would extend the game. I would also like to see additional abilities for the rogue and cleric characters. The rogue can find secret doors easier than the other characters but I’d like to see a backstab ability. The cleric has no special powers and is quite weak. Clerics should be able to heal (perhaps roll twice if defeated and use the lesser result). I will have to research variants or come up with some of my own house rules.

Nevertheless, Dungeon! will provide a simple dungeon crawl if you are in the mood for a light fantasy game that does not take too long.

Rating 3.5 / 5

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