Wizards of the Coast: Dungeon! – ReviewAugust 16, 2016
|Publisher||Wizards of the Coast|
|Number of Players||1 – 8|
|Play Time||30 minutes|
|Initial Review Date||3/29/16|
This game is a re-print of a classic board game that came out in 1975. At that time it was produced by TSR (the makers of Dungeons and Dragons). TSR and it’s properties were later sold to Wizards of the Coast (the makers of magic the gathering).
In this game you play as competing adventurers exploring some underground ruins in search of treasure. But creatures still live in the dark places and will need to be overcome in order to claim the treasure.
Setup of this game is very straight forward. Each player is given a cardboard standup that represents the character they are playing. If you are playing a wizard you will roll a single die and add 6 to the result. You then take a combination of spell cards (of your choice) equal to that result. This means that depending on how you roll, you can end up with between 7 and 12 spell cards for the entire game.
Each player places their character in great hall in the center of the board and then play begins.
This game is very simplistic. Each turn you can move your character up to six spaces. If your movement places you inside of a chamber or room you immediately face a monster and your movement for that turn ends. The rooms are color coded to represent the “level” of the dungeon. You draw a monster from the appropriate stack and then roll two six-sided dice. You then consult the monster card to your class. If you rolled a total value that is equal to or greater than this value, then you defeated the monster and draw a card off of the corresponding treasure deck (treasure decks are also sorted by level). If you failed to beat the monster then you roll two dice and consult a table to see what happens to you. This can be anything from the monster killing you outright (very rare), to taking some damage (uncommon), to the monster missing (very common).
So, long as you stick to fighting monsters that are level appropriate to your character you will usually win.
Wizards have the option of using an offensive spell card on monsters after the monster is revealed. The spell will also be listed on the monster and it is resolved as a normal attack. Except that if you fail to kill the monster the monster does not get to attack you back.
Aside from the normal treasure, there are also magic swords that can be found as treasure. A magic sword is the only way you can “upgrade” your character. Each sword adds either 1 or 2 to your die roll. Wizards are the only class that can not benefit from a magic sword.
You will quickly realize that the different characters are not balanced against each other. The wizard is clearly the most powerful, while the rogue and cleric are the weakest. The game tries to make up for this by setting the finish line lower for the weaker classes.
Each piece of treasure you get has a value and the higher level treasures are worth more than the lower level treasures. In order to win you have to acquire an amount of treasure based on your class and then return to the great hall. The first player to do this wins.
Treasure needed to win by Class
In this way the more powerful character are encouraged to go to the higher level areas of the dungeon, while the weaker characters can explore the lower level areas.
This game is a good way to introduce others to Dungeons and Dragons. It introduces concepts like classes and races. It also will expose players to the iconic monsters in Dungeons and Dragons, even giving players a sense of how dangerous the different types of monsters are relative to one another.
While, a bit different from traditional roll and move children’s games, it still has that overall feel. Once you know what you’re doing the game gets repetitive really quickly. You start to wish there was more to do in the game and that there was a way to make your character more powerful than just simple magic swords. The rogue and cleric classes make you feel like you’re in the “kiddie pool” while the fighters and wizards get to do the fun stuff.
In the end if you’re looking for a way to introduce dungeons and dragons to completely green players this can be a way to go. However, once they start playing a real tabletop rpg this game will just collect dust.