Publisher: Wiggles 3D
Game Designer: Connor Reid
Ages: 8 and up
Playing Time: 5-30 minutes
Game Mechanics: Hand Management, [=Variable Player Powers]Variable Player Powers[/], Cooperative
Suggested Retail Price: $25
5-Minute Dungeon is a real-time card game for 2-5 adventurers that requires quick thinking, brisk communication and snappy card play to beat the silly denizens of this light-hearted, but deadly five level dungeon. If you’re a co-op fan looking for a fast, party game style dungeon crawler suitable for any level of gamer, this one’s for you.
A 5 minute dungeon sprint
Everyone loves a good dungeon crawl, weathering the storm of battle together against all manner of noxious creatures. These arduous adventures furnish tales of heroism under dire circumstances, to be recounted with awe around a warm fire during a mid-winters lull. Now you can enlist your friends and family to join you in a raucous jaunt through a challenging multi-level dungeon in just half an hour!
Wiggles 3D brings us a frenetic dash through the netherworld for ages 8 and up in 5-Minute Dungeon. That’s five minutes in real-time to get through each dungeon level and yes, there’s an app for that. The app provides a narrated timer backed by a soundtrack to add a little flavor to your game experience.
Players take on the role of one of ten different heroes, each with their own player mat and color coded, custom deck. The decks equip you with the different resources, specialties and action cards necessary to arm a balanced party for adventuring.
Starting hands are dependent on player count, but range from 3-5 cards. When playing with two players you mix two hero decks together to provide a greater spread of abilities to defeat the dungeon and you’ll need it!
The five dungeon levels vary in difficulty, ranging from 20-40 door cards that form the obstacles you must defeat before facing the boss. To beat these obstacles and the boss, you match symbols with resource cards from your hand.
Of all of the bosses, my favorite is definitely the first one you face, the Baby Barbarian. This diaper clad nymph is so cute with his binky and his horned helmet, until you notice his subtly blood stained sword. This toddler means business!
The terrible toddler, which looks suspiciously like a baby picture of the Undead Viking, Lance Myxter!
There is no turn order, everyone is immediately on the clock the minute the first door card is flipped. Expect a flurry of immediate and hurried banter, which grows more excited as the clock ticks down. All cards used to defeat obstacles are ‘swept away’ and removed for that level. Players must replenish their hands immediately after playing a card. This can be easily overlooked in the heat of battle, but it is very important to remember. That next card drawn may give you the resource needed to defeat the current threat!
Heroes also have unique special powers to defeat an obstacle. They are activated by discarding three cards from your hand and can be used as often as you like. Discarded cards can come back to your hand when an action card is played by any player.
Action cards are very useful, and some are even quite powerful. They can regain cards from your discard pile, act as a wild, pause the timer or even defeat an obstacle on their own. Considering that it takes multiple cards to defeat each obstacle and time is of the essence, you can see the value of these cards!
The game is lost immediately if time expires or the party fails to defeat the boss or any obstacle. In the odd circumstance that everyone runs out of cards, which can happen but is rare, the party also loses. Not having a special power or the right resource cards in hand to defeat an obstacle is a much more real threat than everyone running out of cards.
You are more likely to have an issue defeating an obstacle at low player counts, especially with just two players. While this is a fast game that can easily be reset and restarted, it is something you will face. I know we were frustrated by this a couple of times.
To mitigate this, I house ruled that one player can sweep away their entire hand to get past an obstacle one time per level. This assists you with at least two threats that would have otherwise ended your game, but you permanently lose cards. Some of them could be valuable action cards which can be costly to lose, but I felt it was a fair trade-off in order to continue playing the game.
Once past all of the threat cards, your job isn’t done. To beat the boss, you must match their symbols just as with a door card but there are many more of them! That’s it, very simple and easy to understand. Sounds easy, but can you do it in less than 5 minutes?
Okay then worthy adventurers, sally forth into the fray and prove your worth!
Enter the dungeon or pass it by?
I had a blast with 5-Minute Dungeon, it is a really fun cooperative battle card game that is suitable for all ages and gamer levels. Its ease of play means it can hit the table often and the timed challenge will keep your group coming back for more. It’s a great filler to get your blood pumping!
With all players contributing, no role is more important than others, insuring that everyone is engaged and having fun. The real-time action makes the chatter spirited, the energy high and the atmosphere boisterous for an exciting experience for all. Fans of FUSE will feel right at home with 5-Minute Dungeon. While the resources aren’t as limited, it mirrors that same tension and immediacy with unique challenges in communication and time management.
The game scales well for 2-5 players but I think it works best with a full complement. While it may seem easier with five, you’re still at the mercy of the card draws and how well you as a group can manage a fluid situation.
With two players, you’ll not always have the cards needed, which can lead to some frustration. Playing solo is extremely challenging, especially under the five minute constraint while handing multiple decks. Experimenting with different times can lead to the right one that works for you, but it can be done if you are determined!
I was amazed at how top notch this prototype copy was. Wiggles 3D has set a high bar for others to emulate and I cannot wait to see the final product! The presentation and art are fantastic and I really enjoyed the cute humor that is sprinkled throughout the game. It’s also inclusive, having both male and female avatar’s for each hero class, a nice touch that is sometimes overlooked in games.
5-Minute Dungeon is a simple and addicting cooperative game that taunts you for one more play, and you will succumb to its call! The game heads to Kickstarter on Tuesday November 1.
Company Website: http://www.wiggles3d.com/
Company Twitter: https://twitter.com/Wiggles3DGames
Note: A prototype of this game was provided to me for this preview.
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