Game Buzz: Baldrick’s Tomb

It seems like there’s a trend towards quick dungeon crawls lately.  On the heels of the remarkable success of Dungeon Roll on Kickstarter, we’re now getting

image by BGG user krinklechip
image by BGG user krinklechip

Baldrick’s Tomb is a 2-4 player game (with a solo variant) from designed Ben Haskett.  It’s being published by 5th Street Games, who also did one of my favorites, Farmageddon.  This one is a 30 minute push-your-luck dungeon crawl.  As of this post, there are three weeks to go in the Kickstarter campaign, and they’re over halfway to their $10,000 goal.  This one caught my eye because of some really nice card art popping up on the BGG front page:

image by BGG user kirnklechip
image by BGG user kirnklechip

The game comes with a board that is essentially an 8×8 grid with various storage spaces and tracks around the border.  There are also five decks of cards (monsters, skills, scrolls, traps, and treasures); 4 character tableaus; 4 player HP markers; 4 poison markers; 3 monster damage markers; 4 character pawns; 4 plastic stands; 60 gold tokens; 2 eight sided dice; 1 first to land token; 1 impending doom token; 1 depth indicator token; and 18 rubble tokens.  Players get a character tableau, setting their HP to 6 and poison to 0.  Monsters are separated by level and shuffled into separate decks.  Each player is dealt three skill cards and two scroll cards.  The first player draws ten rubble tokens and mixes them up with the exit token, then places them randomly facedown on the board, leaving at least one space in between each.  Each player then rolls the two d8s to determine their starting position on the board – you can’t begin on the same space as another character, but you can begin on rubble.

The dungeon you are exploring consists of four floors, and each floor is played out over five rounds.  In a round, a player may move up to four spaces (and may spend two gold per extra space they want to move).  If you land on a rubble space, you’ll resolve it.  It is possible that you’ll resolve more than one rubble per turn.  Resolution consists of flipping it face up (if face down) and doing the associated action.  There are six types of rubble tokens:

  • Monster – Draw a monster card and fight it.  Combat is very simple – roll a d8 and resolve the result based on what is on the card.  If you get hit, decrease your HP by one.  If the monster gets hit, add a damage marker to the monster.  Keep rolling until there’s a winner.  If you win, you get gold.  If you lose, you are knocked out.  This means you lose half of your gold and will have to roll for a new coordinate.  You can choose to run away, which causes you to lose gold equal to the monster’s level, and gain no gold for winning.
  • Scroll – Draw a scroll.  These can be used as needed.
  • Trap – Draw a trap and resolve it.  It won’t be good.
  • Treasure – Draw a treasure.  Collect the amount of gold shown and discard the card.
  • Healing Fountain – Reset your HP marker to its maximum value.  Poison does not reset.
  • Exit – The player to reveal this gets one gold.  The first player to use it gets one gold and gets to go first in the next round.  You do not have to use the exit when it is revealed.

Once resolved, the rubble token is removed from the board (not the exit – that remains throughout the entire floor).  Once your turn is over, you roll for a new coordinate and place that token face up in that space.

The floor is over once all players have used the ext, or after the fifth round.  If you remain on the floor after the fifth round, you lose half your gold.  Health is reset to max, poison goes back to 0, and a new dungeon floor is set up.  The game is over after the fourth floor, and the player with the most gold wins.

At first, I was wondering if this game was that different from Dungeon Roll.  After all, they are both advertised as fast push-your-luck style dungeon crawls.  But, as it turns out, Baldrick’s Tomb is quite different from Dungeon Roll.  For one thing, DR is a pure dice game, while you’re moving around a floor of the dungeon in BT. Combat results are determined by die rolls in both, but in DR, you have to use various heroes to take care of certain monsters.  Here, you are basically comparing your roll to a chart to see what happens.  It seems like Baldrick’s Tomb is much more reliant on luck than Dungeon Roll as you don’t always know if you’re going to find a trap, a monster, treasure, a scroll, heal, or find the exit.

Maybe the comparison to Dungeon Roll is not exactly fair.  The games are not that similar at all – I just find it interesting that two filler-style dungeon crawls have hit Kickstarter within a month of each other.  I’d say that Baldrick’s Tomb looks like it may have some more variety than Dungeon Roll; then again, it looks like it takes longer to play.  I’m interested to see what happens with the game…it sounds like something I’d have fun with, but something I’d have to go into with the right mindset.  In other words, I don’t think it’s a game you can play strategically – I think you just have to go for it and hope for the best.  Thanks for reading!

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