(To see this and other game reviews dressed in photographic finery, visit www.aboardgameaday.com! This review is a slightly adapted version of the original, published in 2011)
Game: Dungeon Dice
Manufacturer: Parker Brothers
Dungeon Dice here was purchased very early this summer along with a couple other games from a garage sale for $1. The box has some wear, but the excellent artwork is all intact. My copy is also missing one tunnel card, but it is extremely unlikely that all tunnel cards would ever be used.
This game gets the distinction of being this summer's most played board game, and I'll try to explain why that is in the review below.
Dungeon Dice, as the name implies, is more of a dice game than a board game, with the board mostly acting as a quirky points counter.
You play a prisoner locked in the dungeon of a castle. Your task is to dig yourself out through the walls of the dungeon. You do this by rolling a set of six dice in the plastic "pit" which is set into the center of the game board. Each die has six different symbols on it, five of which are tools (shovel,key,lantern,dagger,ladder) and one of which is the helmet of a castle guard. As you roll, you move any matched pairs of dice to the corners of the pit. Depending on how many die you match you are allowed to dig a certain number of spaces out of the wall. If you match three guards, you lose a dig space.
There's a certain amount of strategy in the gameplay. You may choose to stop your dice rolls at any time once you get enough matches to get a card, or you can roll indefinitely so long as you continue to get matches and dig cards, accepting that if you press your luck you also risk losing all your progress. You may also choose to use your turn to steal one of your opponents' dig spaces by "challenging", which gives hope to those quite behind, and can drastically change the course of the game.
So How Is It?:
I really enjoy this game. The mechanic is extremely simple to learn and remember, so basically anyone of almost any age can play. It also allows a certain amount of strategy, so you're not just rolling dice and hoping for the best. Plus there's that "gotcha" factor, allowing you to directly go after your opponents, which can always add a bit more enjoyment to any game.
Lastly, the game doesn't take long to play. While something like Yahtzee can feel like you've been playing it your whole life by the time you're done, Dungeon Dice games are pretty quick, which helps keep it fresh, and allows you to move onto another game if you're inclined to do so.
Dungeon Dice is a fun, easy, peppy dice game with quirky art and is well worth playing and tracking down. I've played it several times since picking it up, with several different people, and it's generally liked by everyone. While many people love involved board games, and I include myself in that category, there's something to be said about a game that can pull off simple in a fun way, that can be easy enough for an 8 year old and clever enough for an adult, and for that reason I give Dungeon Dice the highest rating of 5, or Excellent.