Monday, 8 October 2012

Dungeon! board game unboxed

Wizards' new (yet old and familiar) Dungeon! board game
Just in time for Christmas. ;)
I've quickly been skimming through Wired/Geek Dad's unboxing of the new Dungeon! board game and I'm glad to say that it appears that Wizards' have been fairly loyal to the spirit of the original - including victory by xp/gold-maths:
 To win the game, heroes must collect treasure totaling a certain value. Clerics and rogues only need 10,000 gold pieces of value, while the stronger fighter who can delve deeper into the dungeon and win greater treasure needs 20,000 and the all-powerful wizard needs 30,000.
Family games where the board is travelled by counters usually don't have such abstract goals, so it would be interesting to hear thoughts from a modern playtest by non-roleplayers.  For roleplayers, however, this game is a delight because it provides a glimpse what the original D&D might have looked and played like in completely boiled down form (and I mean really boiled down).  A contemporary to Dungeon! was the modular tile game Sorcerer's Cave - the rules to which I find are very strange but resemble D&D as some sort of Hobbit/Fairy Tale explained through a maths teacher's dream, but I digress....  Compared to that, Dungeon! is a much closer cousin to early D&D.  There were plenty other quest games on the market, but the next more most fondly by my own friends remembered after Dungeon! is Talisman (which was much later).  A couple of years ago I was disappointed by a review of the Warlock of Firetop Mountain board game which stated that it was a straight copy of Dungeon! which I strongly refute - apart from room encounters and a d6 combat system the comparison barely stands.  However the simplicity of the Fighting Fantasy system and the tiny cards would owe a lot to the fantasy board games of the 70s -including Dungeon!

Last year I was very chuffed with myself for finding a Dungeon! set from 1981 and only the other night I had the honour of reblogging these monster cards on Tumblr (1, 2)

It's reassuring to see that this game looks very similar to the original and isn't just a new game smuggled under a nostalgia-brand.

Anyhow, stop reading this and ascend those dark stairs to GeekDad's unboxing of the Dungeon! board game.


  1. I remember playing Dungeon! once or maybe twice. Perhaps even with your good self? Talisman was always my favourite of these types of games though. I vaguely remember a dynasty RP boardgame called Blood Royale ranking quite high. Oh, and a tile type game with an all powerful Juju tile....don't know if you remember that one?

    1. Hey dude! It took me a moment to put the user name to the face. ;) We almost certainly must have played Talisman, but I didn't own Dungeon! until recently, although I remember seeing it in Geoffs Toys all those years ago. I think I must have thought back then that a fully fledged D&D player shouldn't be seen dabbling with simpler games! Now, I'll play anything with swords in. :D
      Juju tile? Cultist!! I may have to investigate that...

  2. I loved Dungeon as a kid and the family loves to play it now!

    I created a Flash based monster card picker for the 1981 version of Dungeon. If your interested please check it out through the link below.

    This version also contains special monsters and rules for the Dungeon 'extended rules' printed in Dragon Magazine circa 1976 and the best of Dragon 1982. These rules seem simular to the updates in the newest version.