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Dungeon Dice» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Comparison Between Dungeon Dice and Munchkin rss

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Tylor Lilley
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When I am first explaining Dungeon Dice to people, I describe it as "Munchkin; but it is actually fun and it doesn't take an hour in the final stretch. Also all the cards are dice." I feel like if someone is familiar enough with Munchkin this explains the game really well, and is usually enough to pique their interest. And if that someone isn't you, this review probably won't help you very much. But who isn't at least a little familiar with Munchkin at this point? In any case, while Munchkin has its flaws, it is a fun and silly game that a lot of people at list want to like. Dungeon Dice fills that same space for me, but with a lot of the flaws of Munchkin fixed. In this review I will expand on that simple opening statement a bit to try to explain and to justify why I describe Dungeon Dice that way.

First, lets cover their similarities: in Munchkin you have the same basic mechanics of taking turns drawing an encounter at random from the bag/deck, and then negotiating with the players at the table to try to figure out a way to beat it either with their help or with them trying to stop you. You also have similar victory conditions of gaining levels/fame throughout the game, usually as a result of defeating a tougher monster, but also sometimes found through other means like random draws from the bag/deck. And this is to say nothing of the themes which are very similar, though Dungeon Dice plays it straight a bit more than Munchkin does (and, while I admit this is personal preference, I count that as another thing I like more about Dungeon Dice).

The first thing that Dungeon Dice does right is it plays down some of the crueler mechanics of Munchkin. While there are ways to negatively influence your opponent's in Dungeon Dice, there is in general a LOT less backstabbing, and far fewer things that if you draw out of the deck/bag will negatively effect you. The whole mechanic of Curses that makes up a sizable portion of Munchkin is basically non-existent in Dungeon Dice. I think this is a very good thing, because it means the game doesn't devolve into a bunch of extra playtime near the end where EVERYBODY is constantly piling on backstabbing cards to stop people from getting that last level/fame, which is part of what makes Munchkin drag on and on. Having less of that is ultimately what keeps the playtime to a reasonable amount for this sort of game, and it goes a long way to make Dungeon Dice the preferable choice for me.

Another thing that Dungeon Dice does better than Munchkin is having a more even distribution of good/bad effects that you can randomly draw in each turn. Now, there are definitely times where you can keep drawing powerful monsters early on or weak monsters late, but what I'm talking about is the swingy-ness of any particular die/card. I'll explain by using an example: In Munchkin you have Go Up A Level cards that serve to give you a flat +1 level/fame in many cases. The closest you get to this in Dungeon Dice is if you draw and roll a Locked Chest, which you then still need to have a key in order to open. Locked Chests appear as only one side of six on only a handful of dice, and thus getting one and opening the chest actually takes a considerable amount of effort. Another example is the aforementioned curses, which can make the game swing wildly in another person's favor in Munchkin, while in Dungeon Dice the WORST possible thing to draw from a bag is one of a handful of traps, which merely impede your progress slightly. All-in-all, this makes Dungeon Dice feel a bit more strategic and less chaotic than Munchkin, which also helps give it a lot more replay-ability in my opinion.

Finally, each fame you earn in Dungeon Dice tends to matter a lot more than each level you earn in Munchkin. While it is true that it still only the final fame/level you need to win, in Munchkin levels 1-9 are almost non-existent, as they get blown through on your way up to level 10. Levels 1-9 come and go so easily and so quickly that players all rush up to level 9, and get caught in quite the bottle-neck as they have to now beat a monster to get their last level and win the game. In dungeon dice, you need fewer fame to win and each fame itself feels like more of an accomplishment, since none of it is ever given away for free like with Munchkin's "Go Up a Level" cards. Additionally, there are several other ways to get fame, and no requirement that the final fame HAS to come from beating a monster. This allows players to work with whatever random dice they draw to figure out a strategy to get them their needed fame in a few different ways, instead of simply getting unlucky if they are in the final stretch and they don't draw a monster of high enough level to earn fame. Again, does this kind of thing still happen with Dungeon Dice? Absolutely, but at least Dungeon Dice attempts to give players an out, which Munchkin does not do at all. The result is a game that is more tense and interesting through-out the game, instead of a first half where things don't really matter very much as people make their way to level 9, and then a second half once everyone is at level 9 and backstabbing each other like crazy.

In conclusion, Dungeon Dice is the game that I always wanted Munchkin to be. It is by no means a strategy game, and it is still at its core a good light-hearted game good for a quick play. But because Dungeon Dice has been designed to be less-cruel, less-swingy, and more-strategic than Munchkin, it has forever replaced it on my gaming shelf as a better way to scratch that light-hearted, dungeon-delving itch.
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Jeffrey Hathorn
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I appreciate your comparison, and feel compelled to add my two cents.

In Munchkin, the choices you make are relatively few. When do you use resources to win a fight vs stockpiling them? What race or class do you pick when you draw another option? That kind of sums it up as far as meaningful choices.

Stopping another player from winning isn't a choice, it's a necessity. Using a card that gives you a level is a guarantee, assuming you are able to. The options for strategic gameplay are very limited, and the winner is always going to be the guy who attacks that final monster when everyone has depleted their ways to stop him. (Usually the third attack, depending on number of players.)

In Dungeon Dice, what you choose to equip matters far more than Munchkin. In Dungeon Dice, a whip is different than a bow, which is different than an axe. Because these are more than just a number increase, your equipment could change and be considered an upgrade even if the numbers go down. "Sure, I'll lay down that big hammer with its huge numbers just so I can use the artifact whip and this rusty sword. The numbers may be lower, but I bet I'd win more fights with that combo." There is no BEST gear though, you'll put that amazing whip down when you have a couple extra scrolls and feel like it could be fun to swing a spear and a staff for a bit.

Running from a monster that's maybe too nasty is a choice almost every winning player will make in most games, but what makes it "too" nasty? Talking an opponent into assisting you can be rewarding and mutually beneficial, and tends to really assist everyone in the early game when XP is most valuable, but do you really want them getting XP when the monster is weak enough for you to take solo? Paying attention to what dice have been removed from a bag may give you insight as to what sorts of risks you should take. How many dice games let you basically count cards?

Dungeon Dice doesn't do everything perfectly, of course. The rules need a rewrite, (which they are getting) and I find that the default playtime is a little short. (4 fame goes too quickly for my group.) These are minor issues though.

The only gripe about Dungeon Dice that I really can't just brush aside, is the single treasure that can make it play worse than Munchkin. The final fame of the game is almost always taken in a fight with other players spending their few take-that elements in an attempt to deny the one guy trying to collect his last fame. When the Crown treasure from the Guilds expansion is in play, that player is going to gain that fame by attacking the poor player that is underpowered because he drew the stupid Crown instead of a useful weapon and fell behind after that. If the player trying to win is stopped in their endeavor, when their next turn comes up, they can just fight the underpowered player with the Crown again. So now other players with strong attacks have to take the crown from that weak player to be able to defend it from the guy trying to win. This always feel like a pile-on the guy in last place to me, and I detest that.

Aside from a few minor issues that are easily fixable with house-rules, I really love everything about Dungeon Dice. The game is a blast. It's overflowing with theme, and has constant meaningful choices. Most importantly, it lets you feel like a hero using cool gear to slay monsters and take their loot. Kind of like Munchkin wants to claim, but always falls short of.
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Jason Clubb
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Your review is pretty much how I feel about Dungeon Dice: it is what Munchkin tried to be, but failed to accomplish.

I think the only downside is that the rules are a mess and they are being fixed, as the second poster stated.

The crown is not as strong as you think. In the rules, if someone duels the finder of the crown and wins, the crown is taken and is worth no fame from there out. The Crown can be rejected when drawn, so it is more of "do I think I can hold onto it long enough for the fame to get me the win?"

I also find 4 points too short. I break it down like this:
4 points= short game
6 points= full game
10 points= epic game(use of the colosseum expansion highly suggested)



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Donn Hardy
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MetalChef wrote:
In the rules, if someone duels the finder of the crown and wins, the crown is taken and is worth no fame from there out.

Where is this in the rules?
 
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Jason Clubb
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donnbobhardy wrote:
MetalChef wrote:
In the rules, if someone duels the finder of the crown and wins, the crown is taken and is worth no fame from there out.

Where is this in the rules?

ya know, I misread the Rulebook. You get no experience for taking the crown, still worth 1 Fame.

I rather like the idea if you can pull it off the person who found it, it us worth nothing from there out. Makes the choice to keep it a calculated risk when drawn.
 
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