Dungeon Roll

So, back in March, more-or-less on a whim, I decided to back this Kickstarter for Dungeon Roll. It looked like a pretty clever push-your-luck dice rolling game and it was only $15 for a physical copy of the game. Not a bad deal. Not to mention, what gamer doesn’t want a little treasure chest with dice and other bits in it? Hard to pass up!

Anyhow, my copy finally arrived a week or so ago and since I was a Kickstarter backer I go the nifty, exclusive Mimic treasure chest packaging. Scanned through the rules once, but hadn’t had a chance to break it out until last night.

The overall design of the game & pieces are all pretty nice. There’s two sets of dice: party dice & dungeon dice (6 sides each). The party dice sides are: fighter, thief, mage, cleric, champion, scroll. Dungeon dice have: goblin, ooze, skeleton, treasure, potion, dragon.

You start out rolling 7 party dice (the roll of which stands outside of other special circumstances/abilities). And you start on level 1 of the dungeon, which means one dungeon dice. Then you move on to level 2 for 2 dice, etc.

A fighter can kill any number of goblins, a thief can open any number of chests, a mage can kill any number of oozes, a cleric can kill any number of skeletons. Any class can drink any number of potions. Otherwise they can just do one of the other things (so a non-fighter can kill a single goblin, a non-thief can open one chest, etc). Champions are sort of a stand-in for any other class, so they can kill any number of goblins or any number of oozes, etc. Any class die used to do something (kill monsters, open chests, or drink potions) gets moved to the graveyard.

Dragon dice get moved to the side (to the dragon’s hoard). If three or more dragon dice get collected, then the dragon shows up and has to be fought, which takes any 3 different classes to defeat.

Scrolls allow you to re-roll any number of party/dungeon dice.

Drinking a potion or potions allows  you to bring party dice back out of the graveyard and turn them to the face you want. So, just one potion will allow you to move a party die to the graveyard (to drink the potion) and then bring the die back at whatever face you want. Later, it can be really powerful when you have multiple party dice in the graveyard and you can drink multiple potions to help boost your party back up.

Other than that, you get to make draws from the treasure chest when opening chests or when you defeat the dragon. You also earn XP (if you get out of the dungeon without fleeing and for slaying dragons). You can play with 1 or more players (I believe 4 is a suggested maximum just to minimize downtime). Everyone gets 3 delves into the dungeon and whoever has the most XP at the end wins.

So, the rules are pretty straightforward, but there’s a decent amount of depth there. Especially because the other thing in play is that there are party leader cards, which each player gets one of. Those cards have various special abilities that change how you might approach a dungeon and what strategies to use.

The only real criticism I have of the game is that it seems to suffer from poor editing. The rule book is pretty concise (and small enough to fit in the treasure chest packaging) and some of the rules don’t seem to be explained very well. Sometimes it’s easy to guess at the designers’ intent other times it could really go multiple ways. If you look around on Boardgame Geek it seems to be a pretty common complaint. Luckily at least one of the designers is pretty active over there so there’s a lot of good discussion on rules and rule clarifications. It also sounds like they’re putting together a FAQ to help deal with common questions.

So, I do wish the printed rules were a bit more clear in some cases, but overall that’s not a huge deal. It’s a fun game and well-designed — the rules as well as the physical components. And it plays quick, so it’s a great way to kill a little downtime. It’s definitely worth picking up if you like dice-rolling games like this.

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