The folks at Tasty Minstrel (the folks behind Eminent Domain) sent me a prototype version of their now wildly-successful-on-Kickstarter dice game, Dungeon Roll. I've played quite a few solo rounds of the game, as well as a handful of games with friends and family. Here are my first impressions of the game.
At its core, Dungeon Roll reminds me of Zombie Dice--it's played with two different types of dice, with each controlling a different aspect of the game. The Dungeon dice control the monsters and loot you find as you delve ever deeper into labyrinth, while the Party Dice control the abilities available to you in the form of adventurers.
Each player's turn consists of a delve into the dungeon with a single party. You set your party at the start of the delve by rolling all the party dice, while another player rolls the dungeon dice to determine what you find as you dive deeper. On the first level of the dungeon, you roll a single die, and face a single monster. On each subsequent level, you face an additonal die and the challenge increases. At the same time, each time you use a party member, they're spent--taken out of circulation. As you go deeper in the dungeon you face more and more monsters with fewer party members. And of course, you'll collect treasure, quaff potions, and even fight dragons along the way.
Ultimately, the game's drama comes at the end of each level, when the player has to decide whether to press his luck and go deeper or bail out of the dungeon and collect a reward. If you leave the dungeon, you collect victory points equal to your current level, but if you go on, you can always get more points (and more treasure). Of course, if you push on and can't defeat the monsters on the next level, your party is killed and you get nothing.
At heart, Dungeon Roll is a luck-driven game--a particularly good or bad roll can shift the outcome of the game. But, the addition of treasure and player abilities ensures there are plenty of choices for the player to make at any given time, more so than in a game like Zombie Dice. I've played Dungeon Roll with 1, 2, and 3 players over the last few weeks, and found that it moves quickly--games typically took between 20 and 30 minutes. It's easy to teach, and is entertaining for both novices and experts. Like The Resistance or Zombie Dice, it's the perfect kind of game to play in a bar on a Saturday afternoon.
Dungeon Roll is available for preorder on Kickstarter until March 19 for $15.