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Kenneth Laird
United States
Washington
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Summary:
Learning Curve - Mild to Moderate, Depending on Expansions
Avg. Play Time - 20-30 min. Base Game, 30-40 min. with Colosseum.
Rating: 4.5/5 - Highly Recommended.

Dungeon Dice is a dice-based, deck building fantasy game that grew out of the heart of games like Dungeons and Dragons, and encourages both competitive and cooperative gameplay. The objective is to score 4 FAME before any other player, by gaining experience, defeating powerful monsters, and acquiring artifacts. Succeeding in Dungeon Dice is arguably more dependent on luck than skill, since ultimately every encounter and reward is random, but it does require tactical choices in the use of one-shot dice, choosing of equipment, and negotiation to assist or be assisted in combat.

The game has a fairly gentle learning curve. The instruction book is a total of 15 pages, plus a quickstart guide at the back of the book. Learning the flow of combat is probably the hardest part of the game, made no easier by the verbosity of the instructions and the interjection of wordy examples (For new backers, The new rulebook flows a little bit better and is easier to understand: http://freepdfhosting.com/ad3fdbc7f6.pdf) After a few rounds, however, you generally get the gist of it. The numbers and symbols on each die depict its combat strength and any abilities the monster or equipment have, and after two or three uses of any ability you begin to learn what it means without looking it up. At that point, the game begins to move rather quickly, such that a game can be played in twenty minutes or less.

One of the game's greatest strengths, I'd argue, is simply the look and feel of dice as a mechanic, rather than cards. Not only does it allow every player to gauge the relative ability of the others, it just feels better. There is no greater happiness in this game than having collected those powerful dice and then being able to pick them up, give them a good shake, and scatter them across the table. This is arguably what makes a great game out of an otherwise good one, and I feel it's worth the cost of the more expensive components the game consists of.

The complexity of the game increases with both expansions (Soon to be all three!) adding new mechanics like classes, familiars, expanding on PvP combat, different monster and encounter types "E.g. Epic, Boss, Traps, Shrines," more treasure, more equipment styles, more spells, and, of course, dozens of new abilities. Though Colosseum expands the game length closer to an hour or so, through the use of epic monsters, a fourth level die, and an increase to a 7 FAME win condition, Guilds does not substantially alter the playtime. Both of these expansions are, of course, designed to work with one another, but need not be used simultaneously: each plays just as well with the other as without.

Though costly, this game is a favorite among friends because of its pick-up-and-play nature: the length of play is the perfect level of investment for those casual game nights, and two to three rounds can be played in succession without getting fatigued, as opposed to more involved games like Agricola or Arkham Horror. Highly Recommended.
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A Frag
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Very nice review and I concur with your assessment here. Very nicely done!
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