Game Buzz: Dungeon Roll

Here’s a small game currently on Kickstarter:

image by BGG user DrMayhem
image by BGG user DrMayhem

Dungeon Roll is a new 15 minute dice game from first-time designer Chris Darden and frequent Kickstarters Tasty Minstrel Games.  It’s a game press-your-luck dice dungeon crawl for 1-4 players where the object is to gain the most experience points.  The project was looking for $15,000, and funded within 24 hours.  It currently has nearly $45K with 17 days to go.  More on that later, but first, let’s look at what’s coming.

Dungeon Roll comes with 15 dice – 7 party dice, 7 dungeon dice, and a 10-sided level die.  There are also 30 treasure tokens, 8 hero cards, and XX experience tokens.  (It should be noted at this point that I’m working off prototype rules here, so nothing is final.  I don’t think they know exactly how many experience tokens will be included yet.  Knowing TM’s affinity for stretch goals, there may even be more stuff in the final box.)  At the start of the game, each player gets a Hero card on its novice side (either random or selected by the player).

The game is played over a series of delves.  In each delve, one player is the Adventurer, and the player to his/her left is the Dungeon Lord.  At the start of a delve, the Adventurer rolls all seven party dice to form the starting party, while the Dungeon Lord rolls three dungeon dice to populate the dungeon.  The party dice could include Champions, Fighters, Clerics, Mages, Thieves, or Scrolls.  The dungeon dice could include Dragons, Goblins, Skeletons, Ooze, Chests, or Potions.  Any Dragons rolled are set to the side – if you ever get three dragons, you have to fight the dragon.  The level die is also set to 1.

The Adventurer’s turn consists of four phases – fight monsters, fight the Dragon, gain loot, and regroup.  In the fight monsters phase, you use companions to defeat any monsters (Goblin, Skeleton, or Ooze) on the dungeon dice.  A fighter can defeat one Skeleton, one Ooze, or any number of Goblins.  A Cleric can defeat one Goblin, one Ooze, or any number of Skeletons.  The Mage can defeat one Goblin, one Skeleton, or any number of Ooze.  The Thief can defeat one of any monster, and the Champion can defeat all of any type of monster.  A Scroll can be used to re-roll any number of party or dungeon dice (but not Dragons).  You can also use a Hero’s special ability in this phase.  Each die can only be used once, then it is placed to the side (in the Graveyard).  If you fail to defeat a monster, your delve is over and you get nothing.

During the Dragon phase, you either fight the Dragon (if there are three or more Dragon dice) or skip to the loot phase (if there are less than three Dragons).  To defeat the Dragon, you must use three different Companions.  If you can’t beat the Dragon, your delve is over.  If you win, the Dungeon Lord increases the level die by one, and you get a treasure token from the box (the Dragon’s Hoard).  The Dragons are returned to the dungeon dice pool.

In the loot phase, you get treasure.  If any Chests were rolled on the dungeon dice, you can use a Thief or Champion to open any number of Chests, gaining one treasure token per Chest.  Any other adventurers can open one Chest.  Potions allow you to take dice from the Graveyard and reroll them to add them to your party.

Finally, in the regroup phase, you have a decision to make.  You can retire to the Tavern, collecting as many experience points as the number on the level die., which ends your delve.  If the level die is at 9 or more, you must retire, collecting XP and drawing one additional treasure token for clearing the dungeon.  You could also choose to seek glory by continuing into the dungeon.  You’ll continue using the party dice you have left, not re-rolling them.  Dice in the Graveyard stay there.  The Dungeon Lord rolls dice equal to the number on the level die (at least three, and no more than seven since you only have that many).  Once you’ve committed to continuing, you have to go.  Once you’ve finished (either because you’ve retired or run away), the next player gets a turn with a delve.

After everyone has had three delves, the player with the most experience points wins.

We like push-your-luck games in my house.  There’s just something fun about the excitement of not knowing what’s going to happen and trying it anyway.  It’s certainly not the most strategic of genres, but it’s fun.  And that looks like what this game offers.  Fun.  My biggest concern with the game would be downtime – play with four players, and two of them are doing nothing while the current Adventurer and Dungeon Lord take a turn.  That means you’ll only be playing for 50% of the game.  In a two-player game, that’s not going to be an issue because you’ll always be an Adventurer or Dungeon Lord, and in a three-player game, you’ll have one turn off and two turns on.  It seems that delves have the potential to go on for a while, though it may be quick enough to determine what dice to use.  It’s also nice that there’s a limit on how far you can go.

As I mentioned before, this project funded VERY quickly on Kickstarter.  I think that speaks to people’s desire to have fast and fun filler game, and this game looks like it has that quality.  It sounds like a really good time, and for $15, it should be a great replayable investment.  Thanks for reading!

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