Board game review

gaming settings

Published by Atlas Games, Dungeoneer is a dungeon crawler that uses a deck of cards for tiles. This is a big deal if you've got limited space or you travel a lot, because there's a lot of game in this simple 104 (or thereabouts) card deck. The game is out of print now, as far as I can tell, but availability shouldn't preclude anybody from praising a good game. If you ever see a box of Dungeoneer cards for sale, buy it. Here's what I love about it.

To set up the game, you lay out five tiles: one for the dungeon entrance, and then one connecting room in each cardinal direction. Move your token into a room and start exploring. As with any dungeon crawler, you pretty quickly start to uncover treasure and monsters and quests.

As written, one person is supposed to play the dungeon and the other is supposed to play the explorer. I think that would be a lot of fun, and maybe a great introducition to the asymmetrical way an RPG is played, with one player being a dungeon master and the others being player characters. However, I have to admit I've only played Dungeoneer as a solo game using my own solo variant rules. This is largely because Dungeoneer is by default the game I bring on any business trip I go on. After the work day is done, I grab some food and go back to my hotel for a game of Dungeoneer. That's how I've done my business for the past four or five years now, so it's basically a tradition for me at this point.

But wait, there's more. There are several different card sets for Dungeoneer (I have two) and you can combine them to create a mega-dungeon. For me, this means I can start in the Realm of the Ice Witch but delve down into the Call of the Lich Lord.

Dungeoneer is arguably more a rogue-like than an RPG-like, except that really it does feel like an RPG. You can choose between five different character cards to play, each one with different specialties and abilities. You get to go on quests. And when I play, I usually try to tell a story about what's happening, as it happens. When I move my player token to a card, I describe what the explorer sees, and how they feel about it. It can be a rich immersive experience, if you want it to be. Or it can be a procedural, methodical dungeon crawl filled with statistics and random numbers. Whatever you like. For me, Dungeoneer never fails to please.

Photo by Riho Kroll using the Unsplash License.

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