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The Dungeon Crawler Collector (2019)

(Last Updated: 1st April 2019)


Part of my BGG Collectors Series:

The Dungeon Crawler Collector
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1848358/dungeon-crawler-col...

The Adventure Game Collector
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1976837/adventure-game-coll...

The Dudes on a Map Collector
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1985369/dudes-map-collector

The Skirmish Collector
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2018244/skirmish-collector-...

The Card Game Collector (TCG/CCG/LCG/UCG)
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2073532/card-game-collector...


As a dungeon crawl collector I've noticed a pattern with the different gaming groups I've played with, and while there are many articles on dungeon crawls out there, they all have one thing in common, which is a review from a single ‘group’ perspective. Here I've listed some feedback from very different gaming groups I’ve played with.

IMPORTANT: This is not a review article. This only provides comments, opinions and feedback made by different groups playing these games, and my personally comparison of these games. It’s not well written, as I can’t be bothered to do a proper write up, but it’ll give you a sense of what I mean. Also, this is not a top/best dungeon crawler list, only which best suits the kind of gaming groups you may be in.

PS: I’ve only included mostly games which are still easy to get or are still in print, and also what I think fits the bill for dungeon crawler for me; others may have differing opinions on what constitutes a dungeon crawl. For those, this article may not be for you.

UPDATE: Due to all the messages I've been getting, I've opened up the this article to include more than the traditional crawlers.

Includes:

-Traditional explorative crawlers
-Competitive multiplayer crawlers
-Competitive 2 player vs crawlers
-Deckbuilding crawlers
-Dungeoneering (push your luck) crawlers
-1 vs Many crawlers
-Adventure based crawlers
-Out of Print crawlers

Perspective definition:

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group – this bunch of friends/family range from age 8-50. Have little or no experience with tabletop board gaming. Usually have trouble sitting for long gaming sessions. Always prefer quick gaming options which do not require much brain power. (I usually have to overlord/DM for this group)

The ‘Casual’ gaming group - this bunch of friends/family range from age 18-40. Have some experience with tabletop board gaming. Ideally like games that run from 1-3 hours per session. Like high production value games, easy to learn games, but still need a challenge and favour tactical choices. (Overlord/DM roles rotate)

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group - this bunch of friends/family range from age 21-38. These are board gaming snobs, and are highly critical of mechanics and gameplay. Have absolutely no trouble sitting down and gaming for the entire day. Prefer highly customizable, challenging, and a good balance between fiddlyness and streamlining (the cost of fiddlyness must have a comparative benefit, not just fiddly for the sake of being fiddly). I fit into this group and am one of the older players in this group.

*Depending on which type of gamer you are, you should fit into one or more of these 3 categories.


Ratings:

Please never bring this out again
I’ll play if I have to
I enjoy this game
Save me a seat for next week!


Now on to the games we’ve played. (We’ve omitted some that we didn’t think would be relevant, but if anyone would like us to add to the list, let us know. If we’ve played it, we’ll try and add it)



Aeons End

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
While not really a gateway game, this can be introduced to new players if you are good at teaching. Mechanics will take a while to understand, but gameplay is simple. Somewhere along the same lines of Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle. This group enjoyed this game, with the exceptions of those that didnt like the artwork (mainly just 1 person).

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
We were late to the Aeons End bandwagon. But since we played this, some of us also jumped on the expansions. The artwork could be improved, but this is a solid game. The mechanics are new and interesting. Every new expansion adds something new and exciting. Everyone in this group was eager to play this again, and that is definitely a good sign.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
This group also enjoyed it the game, albeit not as much as the casual groups. They did feel this game got a little repetitive and were worried about replayability. New content and expansions definitely helped with keeping games interesting, while introducing new gameplay elements.


Arcadia Quest (All expansions and KS extras)

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
This game reigns SUPREME for best competitive crawler to get your girlfriend/wife to start gaming. Easy rules, cute minis and an attractive board. Kids also take to this game very well, but usually prefer Mice & Mystics and D&D adventure series as those avoid direct conflict. Women on the other hand will take every opportunity to stab you in the back and steal your gold (in the game of course)devilninja

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Really enjoyed this game. AQ has a great balance of difficulty, choices made and never overstays its welcome. It’s the game that gets everyone jumping out of theirs seats because you have that 1 friend that stabs you in the back after getting what they want. It also has enough meat and content to appeal to those who like campaign play.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Surprisingly, hardcore gamers did not mind playing this game (albeit not their go to choice). If you have hardcore gamers and they bring their wives, this is the game to bring out. Not to say that females don’t enjoy more gritty games, but the chibi characters are always a bonus.


Betrayal at House on the Hill

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
I dont consider this crawler, but am including anyway due to demand. This is an easy game to teach and learn, and the newbies love this game. It has a very attractive art-style and the growing board is very immersive.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
This group was moderately entertained by this game. While it was more in line with a filler, than an actual main game, it did have enough theme to pull you in. The biggest issues with this game is the swingyness. Straight off the bat, you tell half the scenarios are wildly imbalance. If you are in it for beer and pretzels, then go wild, but if you are in it to win it, look somewhere else.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Do not attempt this with a hardcore group. Its too light, with insufficient meaningful decisions, and has not been play-tested enough to warrant focused strategic thinking. There are much better games out there. Mansions for Madness is superior to this in every way.


Bloodborne: The Card Game (non-campaign play)

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
This one barely classifies as a crawler, but is a fast and fun game. This group really enjoyed the lite nature of the game. This is not a game for kids however. It plays extremely fast, and is similar to a dark gothic version of Ultimate Warriorz/Arena for the Gods/King of Tokyo/Gekido, although not as random.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
One of the casual groups played this, like 5 times in a row. It quite addictive once you get into it. The push your luck mechanic provides a good balance of risk vs reward. While not the best Eric Lang game, its a solid game. Its small 'Tiny Epic...' like footprint and fast setup, makes it highly portable to take to parties.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
There were those in this group which were die hard Bloodborne fans, yet didnt like this game. Its limited decision making, and randomness, put off many of my hardcore friends.


Claustrophobia/Claustrophobia 1643

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
This group enjoyed the game, although the rules were slightly more complex than what they were used to. After game 2, everyone was familiar with the rules. The best 2 player game with your significant other, bar none (maybe Arcadia Quest… maybe).

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
This was the go-to fantasy, 2 player competitive crawler for everyone in this group. Great choices, straight forward and streamlined rules, fast gameplay, good duration, and last but not least one of the only games to offer pre-painted minis! (The new edition doesnt have painted minis, but has more mini sculpts, and much better detail)

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
The perfect filler game for those who have an hour waiting on friends to arrive. Many preferred the art style and design of the older version, but preferred the minis and components of the new edition. Our groups use a combination of both. Mostly the old version with the minis from the new edition(painted of course).


Conan

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
I’m not sure if it was the artwork, the Conan theme in general, or the rules (which are very straight forward), which puts this group off. I know I enjoyed being the overlord.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Ok, before I say anything, let me say that this is a fantastic game. But it essentially has one flaw that may or may not apply to your group, and unfortunately it applied to mine. EVERYONE wants to be Conan, and because there is only 1 Conan, this is a huge issue. I’ve only played this with a single casual group, so I cant attest to this being a common problem, but otherwise this is a fantastic game on par with Descent or IA.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Really enjoyed this game. I don’t have KS stuff and this game is fine without it. It feels snappier than most other crawlers of this depth. I personally am a Conan fan, so my opinion may be biased, but those who are not that familiar with Conan seem to enjoy it more than those who do (avoiding the "I want to be Conan" syndrome), but since I always Overlord it isn't an issue for me.


D&D Adventure Series (Ravenloft, Ashardalon, ToEE, ToA)

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Absolutely loved this series. The younger the player the more they liked it. It resonated very well with the under 20 year old gamers. They loved the production quality and the simplicity. This and Mice & Mystics are tied for best crawler with kids.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Enjoyed this game. Not the first choice, but always willing to play. Best crawler with beer and if you don’t want to use any brain cells playing.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Hated this game. No choices (not meaningful ones at least), limited progression, linear gameplay, and too simplistic.


Darklight: Memento Mori

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
This was a tough game to get a hold of. This game is not newbie friendly at all. From the messy rulebook, fiddly bits, dice driven process, and clunky modifiers. You can absolutely tell the rulebook was not edited by a professional team. Best to avoid this with any newbie players.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
After several test rounds, and frustration from the poorly written rulebook, the game mechanics itself becomes more pliable. Casuals were divided into the ‘diehard thematics’ and the ‘get me into the action now’ players. The casuals that love thematics enjoyed this game, as it has a waft of nostalgia attached to it. The younger casuals who wanted instant gratification were less impressed, in a lack of streamlining. You can’t help but feel this game is screaming for a v2.0, as there is huge potential here.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
The theme resonated well with the hardcore group. You might as well call this game ‘Diablo’ the board gamedevil, with all the blatant references. When Skorn Berserker was taken out of the box during setup, the first comment was “Is that Diablo?”. Darklight would have been a fantastic game 'if' it was released in a different time. The game mechanics lends itself to nostalgia, and feeds of the memories of games long past. The game itself is dicey and fiddly, yet the industry and the hobby is slowly moving to less randomness(or at least controlled randomness) with streamlining becoming the forefront of most designers. Darklight was designed for hardcore gamers in mind. And yet (with the exception of gamers which value the nostalgia), have now, in the light of modern board games, a low tolerance for clunky and random game engines. So in essence this alienates its target market.



Dark Souls (non-campaign play)

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Hated this game with a passion. The most common feedback was that it was waaaay to long. The theme also didn’t fit well with this group, the board was too dark and uncompelling.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Enjoyed this game. Didn’t like the grindyness as well, but used the bonus xp house rule to compensate (eg: 4 players, single run-through, zero sparks, 24 souls per tile, 96 souls total). Feedback was that there wasn’t enough enemy types to keep re-playability up. May change when expansions come out.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Didn’t like this game much. The only positive feedback was a very well designed boss encounter. Won’t likely see much table time in future, unless as a short one off, but then again we prefer Doom for that. I purchased this primarily to paint the minis, which are 'absolutely outstanding'.


Dark Souls: Card Game (non-campaign play)

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Similar to the board game, the theme and art style of this game is probably too dark for kids. Adults did enjoy this somewhat, but the since none of them knew about this particular IP, they weren't very invested.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
This group enjoyed this game very much. It is hands down, superior to the board game version. If this has minis and a bigger board, it would take it to the next level. This is what the board game should have been. This is my groups WarhammerQuest Card Game replacement (Since we have no new WHQ CG content). Hopefully, the same thing doesnt happen here, and we'll cross our fingers for expansions, but as it stands, very satisfied in its current form. Easy to learn and teach, and plays relatively fast. The group really enjoyed the 'summoner wars' like, tactical decisions in this.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
This group was a mixed bag. The ones who were familiar with the IP, enjoyed the game. The ones that did not, found it too restrictive in 'space'. The box formation does feel a little claustrophobic. However, it does make for a good filler, or portable holiday entertainment.


Deep Madness

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
The horror genre in crawlers is not something new, but there is horror, and there is 'DM' horror. DM is grotesque and unapologetic about it. This game makes Mansions of Madness and Dark Souls feel like sunshine and rainbows. Rules are a little too heavy for the newbies. Best stick with MoM 2nd Ed for newbies, both young and old.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
The casuals enjoyed this game very much. 'Cinematic' was a common descriptor used to describe DM. Everything including the artwork, cards, board, oxygen dial, minis, all add to the immersive tense atmosphere and sense of dire urgency. The alternating turn order (reminiscent of Mice & Mystics)is an interesting mechanic, which requires mathing out some strategies, before executing your plan. DM is a punishing game, and doesn't hold anything back. Its a game that is out to get you, and you feel it come through in the thematic gameplay. Definitely one of the most enjoyable Sci-Fi survival horror crawlers that have ever graced our tables. Many of our members pledged for the KS reprint after playing their first session, so take that for what its worth.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
The hardcore groups also really enjoyed DM, albeit not as much as the casuals. They found the game unnecessarily fiddly, and could potentially use some streamlining. Downtime at 6 players was noticeable, and is best played at a player count of 4. Many has initially thought that this was a lovecraftian version of zombicide, but they were all surprised at the depth and strategy it possessed. A small complaint was the cardboard tokens were susceptible to wear.


Descent: Journeys in the Dark

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Boy oh boy, when this game first came out, every kid on the block wanted a piece of it. It was hailed as the next D&D. Gamers everywhere, newbie and hardcore alike, wanted to take this out for a spin. The enjoyment of Descent 1st Ed for a newbie group if extremely dependent on the knowledge and expertise of the Overlord. That being said, its not a game you'd want to introduce as a gateway game. Even with 2nd Ed, the learning curve is quite steep for those not accustomed to heavier style games.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
If you had a great Overlord, IMO Decent 1st Ed is probably one of the best modern D&D board game representation, with minis around. You really get the feel of questing and exploration, that the 2nd Ed only hints at. However, having said that, if you had a mediocre Overlord, Descent 2nd Ed will yield a much better gaming experience, due to the more refined nature and app support to reduce gaming overheads.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
I know this will upset a lot of gamers, but hey, this is just my opinion and everyone is entitled to theirs. Descent 1st Ed to me, if played with only Hardcore players, is far superior to 2nd Ed. It feels more real, more EPIC, more dangerous! I love D&D, and this is the closest I've ever felt to playing D&D in a board game. In summary, if you want a massive and truly epic experience, and have a whole day (maybe week) to spare, 1st Ed is your best bet. If you are time poor and prefer small missions, that add up into a bigger campaign, and like coop with friends, then go 2nd. (PS: If you are torn between the two, get the conversion kit)


Descent 2nd Ed

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Didn’t resonate well without the app. A much better experience with the app. A little too long for this group, but enjoyable nonetheless.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Enjoyed this very much. Exclusively app only since it was released. Still the benchmark for all dungeon crawlers. Excellent production value, great mechanics, good progression and has a wealth of available expansions to choose from.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Enjoyed the game, but was not the best experience. While the mechanics are great, it wasn’t as streamlined as it could be. Probably the best in terms of overall design, but it doesn’t excel in any one thing very well.


Doom 1st Ed

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
The grandfather of FFG crawlers. The one that started it all. Easy to teach and learn 'if' you are not the DM. Not a game that newbies would like to get back to the table.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
A masterpiece when it was first release, this hit the table very frequently. With the emergence of its successors Descent, Mansions of Madness, Imperial Assault and Doom 2nd Ed. Doom 1st Ed, is left collecting dust in a box somewhere in the attic.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group -
While many of my hardcore players have a fondness in their heart for this game. Many of them cant wholeheartedly recommend this game to anyone. For nostalgia's sake, or if you just feel like being a merciless DM, it may still serve a purpose, but aside from that, there is a mountain of better alternatives.


Doom 2nd Ed

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Loved this game. Easy to teach and learn. I always (had to) play the invader, and wasn’t bored throughout the entire game. This game feels powerful and explosive. If Michael Bay made a board game, it would feel like this.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Also loved this game. Excellent minis and mechanics, but wished the board was bigger. Preferred this to the 1st edition. Was the go to game when people were in the mood for blowing stuff up or high octane action.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group -
Enjoyed the game. Would play anytime, but was a little too streamlined for this audience. Many preferred the 1st edition's mechanics and setting. Another nit pick was the lack of character progression, which left a sense of unfulfillment. However, this does make for an awesome filler. Its fast paced, high action, and card play makes it easier to get to the table.


Dungeon Alliance

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
This is definitely not a game for new players. The rules are moderately fiddly, and require a considerable commitment of time for a game of this type.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
This group enjoyed this game the most and would play again, but that's being generous. Its an interesting concept, and its a decent game. But the rules are more complex than it needs to be, the length of the game is about 1 hours per person (which is quite ridiculous), and the downtime between turns is really bad. Maybe with a few more plays this would improve, but not by much. Few have mentioned it reminded them of a very complex version of Masmorra: Dungeons of Arcadia.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
This group found this game mediocre. Playable, but could use a lot of polish. Maybe a second edition would make this more streamlined.


DungeonQuest(Revised 4th Edition) / Clank! (Deckbuilding game) / Clank in Space

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
If you have 3-4 players, and want something competitive, but still want that crawler feel. This is the way to go. Kids love these games. Slightly more serious that Arcadia Quest, but provides a great dungeoneering experience with great push your luck mechanics. Younger kids preferred Clank, while teens preferred DQ.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
DQ was too simplistic for this audience, but can still enjoy this game as a filler. Clank appealed to this audience more, and Clank in Space is a fantastic next step.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Avoid all except Clank in Space, which turnout really engaging even to the hardcore group. Its more complex than the regular clank and has a nice 80's star trek vibe to it.


Dungeon Saga: Dwarf King's Quest

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
The mechanics of this game are not hard to teach or learn, but is not very intuitive. The mechanics are clunky and dated. While it tries to borrow elements of Heroquest into it, the newbie group has no attachment to this game.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
For those in the group that remembers the games on old. This game definitely delivers on nostalgia. What it doesnt deliver is gameplay. Once the nostalgia of childhood memories fades, this game falls flat very very fast.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Similar to the Casual group, some liked the nostalgic novelty of the game, but the majority criticized of what this game 'could be', but didnt achieve.


Endure the Stars

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
This group has been anticipating this for a long time. Ever since it was touted as Zombicide in space. The group did enjoy the new mechanics, and overall did have an overall positive feeling towards the game. Not as popular with the group as the original Zombicide.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
This group enjoyed the game, but thought the resolve mechanic requires more work. It seems like a half completed game, with little challenge. Difficulty similar to Massive Darkness. I know a v1.5 is on the way and the new weapon mechanics may rectify this issue, but we'll reserve our judgement upon its release.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
This group didnt like this game at all. No challenge and limited options. Level 7 Omega Protocol and Galaxy Defenders scratched that horror sci-fi itch much better.


Fireteam Zero

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Gave this game a whirl, just the core without expansions. The theme was a little lack luster for this group. Rules were a little fiddly and hard to teach to a younger audience. Gave up within 15 mins.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
This group probably enjoyed it the most(but that's not saying much). For the majority who liked Gears of War, also enjoyed this. Mechanics are similar yet have their differences. If its a choice of theme, GoW definitely wins, but if its down to mechanics, this one may edge out slightly. Having said that, given the option, this group would rather play other crawlers.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
While this group somewhat enjoyed this game, its mechanics seemed more puzzle that strategic. No matter what you do, all the monsters will still have to be placed on the board, giving the illusion of progress through combat, but not really. Its an 'ok' game, with 'ok' rules and mechanics. The most common feedback was 'boring and repetitive'.


Folklore: The Affliction

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
We decided long and hard whether this game would be better placed as an adventure game, or as a dungeon crawler. After, much discussion, it was decided while this has an top level adventuring map, the action all happened at the ground level, and was better suited as a crawler(but it could honestly go either way). With that said, this is probably not one for the newbies.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Most crawlers have the core heart of the game as ‘a crawler’, with only hints on an overarching adventure view. Folklore Affliction, pushes this envelope, with a more focused overarching adventure view, and following it up with crawling, over a variety of areas. This makes the breadth of FA more open, and really drive what we feel is a very compelling narrative. We did wish this game was longer, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. It suffers from the same dilemma as Arkham Horror LCG, which is heavily focusing on the narrative. This focus however, means that because so much of the experience is entrenched in the story, that once you finish the game, there is little left to do, but to wait for the next expansion.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
This game fills a very good niche in the market, and the hardcore group can appreciate that. The game itself is quite a random affair. However, due to how it handles death, it is a little more tolerable, as you soon realize its part of the master design. What the hardcore group believes this game does well (similar to the D&D Adventure Series), is that it provides the sandbox tools for hardcore DM/GMs to create and flesh out their own custom campaigns.


Galaxy Defenders

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Didn’t really like this game. Steep learning curve. Length of the game was too long. Easier than S&S though.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Enjoyed the game. Had a steeper learning curve than most games they’ve played, but caught on quickly. It seems like a complicated game, but in essence it really is not. Really really appealed to the older gamers which played the XCOM video game.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Enjoyed the game. Was a go to crawler for those who preferred scifi over fantasy. The only negatives in this group were that they should have more enemies or different sculpts, and not just re-use green, blue or red variations for the enemies.


Gloomhaven

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Horrible. Didn’t get to play this. Lost them in just explaining what this game was.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Luke warm with this. Many didn’t like standees, and puzzle like aspect of calculating the damage (it doesn’t help if you have accountants in the group). Liked the campaign mission variation, but was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the campaign content available (not a bad thing in my books)

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Really enjoyed this. Pros: production quality, campaign content, combat design, theme, progression, reoccurring characters. Cons: no minis, destroying cards, price, availability. Arguably the best experience with a crawler (not the best crawler, but the best experience with a crawler).


Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
This may not seem like a dungeon crawl at first glance, but it has exploration (through different locations), leveling up, battling increasingly difficult monsters and villians, collecting weapons, buying items, casting spells, and recruiting companions, and adventuring through a campaign. All of which are hallmarks of a Dungeon Crawler. This game was easy to learn and teach. Kids love this game, and adults who enjoy Harry Potter did too. Closest thing I'd put this akin to would be 'Thunderstone Quest' light. My girlfriend's favorite game (auto +1 star).

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
This is essentially 7 of the books played sequentially. A great filler for gamers, and those who love Harry Potter. The expansion for this adds the much needed difficulty to keep the older casual and 'some' hardcore gamers engaged.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Those that like the Harry Potter universe enjoyed it, those that didnt hated it.


Heroes of Terrinoth

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
This game is a smidgen more streamlined than its predecessor Warhammer Quest ACG. So while it is not difficult to teach and learn for newbies, many would prefer other games.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
There were many in these groups that were praying for a successor to WHQ:ACG, and this game delivers in spades. However, the same issues with WHQ:ACG also plague HoT. This game 'will' require a constant output of expansions to keep gameplay fresh and exciting. But for those who love the Terrinoth IP or this game system, its a worthwhile investment.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Similar with its predecessor, HoT feels very puzzly, and with little replayability. However, now with FFG using its own Terrinoth IP, expansion content is only a matter of time. With that in mind, the hardcore groups will use HoT as a worthy filler.


Imperial Assault

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Didn’t take well. Everyone loved the theme, but similarly with Descent was a little too long and complicated.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Loved this game. Similarly with Descent, did many things very well. The new app makes this game fully coop, and is an absolute blast. Waiting for more content releases.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group -
Loved this game. Theme is very strong. Many preferred this to Descent. In terms of sci-fi crawlers for this group, it was either this or Galaxy Defenders (as the go to crawler), or Level 7 Omega Protocol, if we felt like a 1 vs all.



Massive Darkness
(non-campaign play)

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Enjoyed this game. Was easy to teach and learn. The miniatures were well praised. Having said that, many preferred Zombicide BP to this, due to the progression feel and late game ramp up.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Didn’t like this game. A common complaint was that the game was too easy, and that the light and dark aspects were gimmicky.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Hated this game. Common feedback was, too easy, unpolished, unbalanced, not play tested, and too light.


Mansions of Madness

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
When this game came out, it was all the hype. Unfortunately, the amount of book-keeping involved heavily disadvantaged its play-ability. It was almost impossible to teach this game to a newbie group. This is no longer the case with the 2nd edition.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
At the time of release, everyone really wanted a good Lovecraftian game, that anything with the 'cthulu' theme sold pretty well. Looking back, the group definitely agrees, that the 1st edition should never have been released, and it was more like a version 0.5, an unfinished product, and the 2nd edition should have been released from the start. In terms of appeal, Betrayal house on the hill had more going for it than MoM 1st Ed. This was completely reversed with the release of the app and 2nd edition.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
To the hardcore gamer, 1st and 2nd addition are more or less identical, with the exception of expansions and the app. Purists that prefer to control every detail will prefer 1st over the 2nd, but for me and my groups, anything that helps get a game to a table faster is a welcome addition, and 2nd edition gets to the table much faster, and plays much faster.


Mansion Madness 2nd Ed

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Love the theme. Slightly harder to learn and teach, but got there eventually (the app was a new addition for them). Resonated better with the older players (25-35).

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Loved the theme as well. This game really needs the expansions for replayability. Excellent production quality. Most common feedback is “not enough missions”.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Surprisingly, loved this game as well. Had the same expansion feedback as the others. Unlike any other crawler here, this game was actually well received by all 3 groups. All 3 were willing to play this anytime (albeit not their first choice).


Mice & Mystics

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Similar to the D&D series, this group absolutely loved this. The younger the player, the more they liked it as well. It resonated very well with the under 18 year old gamers. They loved the production quality and the simplicity. This and D&D are tied for best crawler with kids.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Luke warm with this. They would play it, but didn’t particularly like it. It was overly simplistic. Although the women in the group, did enjoy this considerably more than the men. Probably a great gateway crawler if you are trying to get your girlfriend into board gaming.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Didn’t really like this. Single play only. On to bigger and better things.


Nemesis

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
This game has a steep learning curve, and suffers from fiddliness. There are lots of tokens, keywords, conditions and items, which have typos/errors, and the rulebook may prove confusing for new players. There are many things to keep track of, and this was overwhelming for newbies.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
The component quality for this game was top notch, with the exception of the minis. The minis were' average'. Sculpting was great, but the molding process was sub-par. All our heroes were deformed, but most of the Intruders (Aliens) were ok. The game excels in suspense and tension, especially in the non-coop version. This game is absolutely not about combat, and combat should be avoided if possible (They 'will' kill you). Conserve ammo like you life depended on it. It has the tense atmosphere of betrayal like Dead of Winter, the feeling of helplessness like Mansions of Madness 2nd Ed, the noise generation of Zombicide, and the ammo conservation of Resident Evil 2. Overall, it was a unique experience we enjoyed immensely, and cant wait for expansions.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
The hardcore group were not as excitable as the casuals. They pointed out the game was great, but had flaws. The playtime varied greatly from 1-5 hours. It excelled only at higher player counts, for the non-coop version. Tokens are very hard to see on the map, as everything is so dark. Translation to english was not done well. Minis suffered from mold problems. Player elimination was 'possible', but never 'really' happened in our 20+ games (except for the last few rounds). Despite all its negatives, even the hardcore group was keen to get this back to the table more often. That in itself was a good sign.


One Deck Dungeon(All Editions)

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
This game is fun and light, 'if you are in the mood for it'. It is highly random, and you will play it repeatedly the first time round. But after that, you will not likely touch it again.
However, having said all that. With the addition of standalone expansions, this increases variability and re-playability many times over. An excellent game for kids, both solo and coop.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
This games best quality is its artwork, which cute and fun. Gameplay on the other hand, is mediocre. The theme feels plastered on. Its 'ok' if we need a portable game, otherwise it does not get table time.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
The RNG gods will not shine on you. If your hardcore group doesnt like randomness, might as well throw this in the bin. This game is based almost purely on luck. Even King of Tokyo feels like a less luck driven game.


Order of the Vampire Hunters

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Zombicide was a hit with the newbies, and The order of the Vampire Hunters was no exception. It was more or less a direct re-skin, with some minor tweaks. The theme excels, and the minis are very attractive. Card stock is mediocre, and could have been better. The newbies found this game better than the original Zombicide, but preferred to play Black Plague, when given the option.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Casuals also enjoyed this game (to some extent). Although, the biggest detractor is the hard timer attached to the game. It is no longer is a game of survival, but a racing game, which is not what you want from a game like this. The turning mechanic is also a negative, similar to the Zombivor in Zombicide, while interesting on paper, doesn't translate well 'in game'.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
The hardcore groups found this game mediocre. It tries to improve on Zombicide, but fails to do it in an elegant way. It a better attempt than 'Endure the Stars', but is still not there yet, perhaps a 2nd edition will do it justice.


Others 7 Sins

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Ok. Since I included Arcadia Quest, I had to include its darker brethren. This plays very similar to AQ, but is attuned to a more ‘mature’ audience. The rules are similar, but a little more fiddly. Not recommended for newbies.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
A great game, if you like the theme, and don’t mind a little problem solving. This game is more of a puzzle than a crawler (think pandemic), but it shares so many similarities with AQ. Definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but everyone agrees on one thing. The minis in this game are one of the best sculpted in the industry even by CMON standards.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Pass on this game. There are many better games on this list. Choices you make while deceptively open, are actually quite linear.


Resident Evil 2

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
RE2 was easy to teach and learn. However, it was not suitable for children, so this was only tested by our adult members. Many in this group were not familiar with the franchise, and have no emotional attachment with the IP. For these newbies, it was a plain move and shoot game, with bad pacing and forgettable missions. Many preferred zombicide if they wanted to play something in this genre.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
There were a lot of RE fans in this group. With many growing up on RE2 the video game. This game hits all the nostalgia spots, and does a good job of emulating the video game. However, many noted that the game mechanics were flawed. There was one time where the entire party died in the first corridor with the first encounter. While this emulated the video game very well, it did not translate well into a board game. Having said all that, when asked if they'd like to play this game in the future, the response surprisingly 'yes'. I feel nostalgia may superseded any negatives, that this group may have encountered.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
This group found this game appalling. SFG at this point has a very salty reputation with my hardcore groups. Despite having well produced minis, the other components in this game were very average. Artwork was almost impossible to see, and bland. Replayability was minimal. And gameplay was as random as it gets. Probably the highest detractor for this game was its price. Many felt this should have been priced at half of RRP.


Stuffed Fables

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Similar with Mice & Mystics, this is great for kids. Very easy to teach, and easier than Mice & Mystics. I've noticed that if you have a mix of kids both boys and girls, the boys will prefer Mice & Mystics, while the girls will prefer Stuffed Fables. Both of these are the best crawlers for kids... 'period'.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
If you are an adult, this may not do much for you. Unless, the theme really grabs you. Its very simplistic, but has a great story to tell. If you like hacking and slashing, or blowing up monsters, better look elsewhere.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
No takers for this game. :/


Sword & Sorcery

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Hated this game. Very hard to learn. Didn’t end up playing.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Were neutral to this game. Was definitely not the first choice. Overly complicated for what it needed to be. The story element was too choppy (eg: read this line then jump to line XX, then to line XX, etc..).

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group -
Enjoyed this game. They liked the choices that were available. Didn’t enjoy this as much as Galaxy Defenders though. Loved the theme, ghosting, miniatures and board.


Shadows of Brimstone

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
No resonance whatsoever, both in theme and ruleset. Too complicated to learn, never made it to the table.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Luke warm with this group. Would play, but very low on their list. The theme didn’t appeal very much. Rules were overly fiddly for what they needed to be. Production quality was not as good as some of the other games here.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Also mediocre with this group. Probably the only game that didn’t appeal to any of the 3 groups. I believe it’s the theme. The old west theme is niche genre. That aside, the game was not as streamlined as it could be, but provided a good gameplay experience. Looking forward to the Forbidden Fortress version, which looks like it has a stronger theme appeal.


Space Hulk(4th Edition) / Death Angel (Card game)

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Didn’t really like this game. Steep learning curve. Length of the game was too long. No one liked the theme either.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Enjoyed the game. The theme in this game is really strong, and you’ll either really like it, or hate it. 40k fans will love this, others not so much. Many preferred Claustrophobia as the go-to 2 player competitive crawler. Death Angel was also preferred to this.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Enjoyed the game. For Games Workshop fans, this was probably the best crawler for them. Some liked the variant where one player takes the role of each ‘spess mehreens’, but I found that too time consuming.


Space Cadets: Away Missions

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
This game is not hard to learn or teach, but it is fiddly. There is a lot of stuff, which is both good and bad. This group had fun with this game. It was straightforward, and ‘seemingly’ light-hearted. This game appears like walk in the park, until you get kicked in the b*lls, and get brutally murdered, by a tweety bird from space angry. Try and get a good deal on the price though. RRP at the FLGS ($170 at mine) is daylight robbery. Luckily we had a friend that was able to get it for cheaper.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
This group loved the theme. Gameplay was fun and fast (depending on player count). We felt that this game was not designed well for 5-6 players, but for a 3-4 player game, it was great. Similar to GD, this game can be quite tactical, so those who are AP prone, or suffer from alpha gamer syndrome, need not apply. This group was 50/50 on Galaxy Defenders vs this.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Still a little too random for a main game, but with 3-4 players, this game is a great filler. It won’t win any awards anytime soon, but for what it does, it does well. Playing 8bit Star Trek music in the background, really adds to the theme . While this group is ok bringing this to the table again, GD > SC:AM.


Space Marine Adventures

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
This game is very light, and as such, good for kids to be introduced to the Warhammer 40k universe. The promo minis are a treat for collectors (only available in Japan prior). Gameplay is akin to a Pandemic/Defender of the Realms/Ghost Stories type survival game, in a dungeon crawling environment. Great for kids, not so great for adults, unless you are interested in the exclusive minis.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Casuals enjoyed the game for what it was, but there are far better alternatives in the market. If you wanted something in the 40k universe, get Space Hulk instead.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Avoid. Too light for this group.


Street Masters

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
This game is fairly straight forward and easy to learn and teach. Adults will enjoy this more than kids, as there is nostalgic value to this game, that kids are unable appreciate yet. The artwork is also an acquired taste.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
This casuals found this game very surprising. Many were blown away after their first game. This was an unexpectedly well thought out coop game. It isn't overly strategic, or complicated. It uses simple movement and combat mechanics, coupled with interesting card play, and a token resource system, as the game's main currency. Production quality was average, but this game is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. The nostalgic value alone is worth the price of admission, and was a bonus to many in the casual groups. Of all the wannabe retro beat em ups out there, this one definitely stood out among the rest.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
The hardcore group also found this game surprising. Many had not expected such a well designed game from the look of the box cover. However, some (30/70) critiqued the fiddly tokens, and unbalanced gameplay, which may have felt swingy at times. This was despite the risk mitigation of tokens, which felt slightly unthematic at times. This game is definitely a worthy filler when squashed in around an hour, and 'if' everyone moves fast, and downtime is kept at a minimum.


Super Dungeon Explore(Forgotten King)

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
This game was designed to be cute and casual, but none of that come out in the gameplay. The group was completely lost when it came to the rules. This game while has a great production value alienates their target market with a convoluted rule set.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Enjoyed the game. Similarly with the newbies, found the rules more complicated than it really needed to be. It’s almost as if it the game was designed to sell minis, and the rules was just an afterthought. Significant amount of house ruling was required to make this game palatable.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Didn’t even bother. Many didn’t like the theme, the girlfriends and wives at the table wanted to move to Arcadia Quest instead. Played halfway then stopped and moved to Arcadia Quest which is superior in every way.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (SotP)

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Learning and playing will require some hand holding for younger children, but is relatively easy, after a single play. Production quality is good, and gameplay is fun. This is a game that, both kids and adults can play together and enjoy. Cowabunga!ninja

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
The casuals enjoyed the interesting dice mechanics. Many found this game very similar to Imperial Assault, that is plays more like a skirmish game than a crawler, but feels like a crawler. More encounter variety was definitely something that was raised, as well as more tiles. Expansions would most definitely be welcomed for this game system.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
This game is a dice fest, and mitigation elements are minimal. For my hardcore groups, they felt that they had little control of tactical decisions, and the dice led the paths they would take. Having said that, the dice system was enjoyable enough to warrant this as a meaty filler. Many mentioned, if they wanted a TMNT game, this would be the one they'd get.


Thunderstone Advance

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
While not difficult to learn or play, there are many better gateway games for this group. Clank! would be a better alternative for any age group.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
A decent deckbuilding crawler. This group would play it if it was on the table, but given a choice, would always pick something else. The mechanics, artwork and production quality are all good, but its just not engaging enough.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
This group would play it as a filler to main event, but I think the design of this game is starting to age.


Thunderstone Quest

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Similarly with Thunderstone Advance, there are better alternatives. But having said that, it is better than its predecessor.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
This group enjoyed playing this. There is a mountain of cards in this set. Its a little fiddlier than Thunderstone Advance, but plays smoother and is much more thematic.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
If you want a decent filler, and want to play a dungeon crawl deckbuilder that doesnt burn too many brain cells playing, this is definitely a good option. Best played with beer involved, but be sure to sleeve those cards first.


The World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch

(Post Updated Errata Pack)

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
This game was riddled with errata. However, that was its biggest detractor, and this has been rectified. The rules and text are now straightforward. The production is beautiful and its eye catching on the table, typical of the CMON extravagance. If we wanted a '1 vs Many' version of Zombicide, this is it. Although now, we almost want a coop version of this game as well. Nevertheless, it now hits the table frequently.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
The casuals loved theme. It was steampunk with a touch of sci-fi (eg: a Victorian lady with an alien gun) *Queue Carnival Horror Music*devil. This game was what we wanted 'The Others: 7 Sins' to be, but never accomplished. While we had initially rated this game only 'good', the rules clarification and errata update pack, has turned what we had originally called an "unpolished and unsupported" (similar to Massive Darkness), now to a more complete package. We have now given this game a chance to shine, and it is definitely a hidden gem.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
For the hardcore group, this game is a little too random, and it doesn't have any standout elements that make you want to play it over other games. Unless you are a die hard steampunk fan, as a hardcore player there are many better options.


Warhammer Quest Series (ST, SoH)

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Enjoyed, but wouldn’t like to play again. Again similar to Space Hulk the theme is very strong, and some who dislike the universe prefer other games.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Enjoyed the game. Many found this more palatable than Space Hulk. It felt more crawler like instead of a tactical competition. Painted miniatures were gorgeous. Many felt the map tiles jarring at times. Funny enough everyone preferred the WQ: ACG to this. I chalk it down to the high fantasy vs the traditional fantasy theme.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Despite many GW fans in the group, many did not enjoy this game as much and preferred other games. It does become a tad simplistic after a while, and Gloomhaven and S&S were better options.


Zombicide BP/Green Horde

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Loved the game, played every quest multiple times, easy to learn and teach. Green Horde is no exception and takes it to the next level.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Also, loved the game. It was thematic enough to keep this group coming back for more. Had a good ramp up of difficulty, and just enough tactical choices and progression to keep everyone satisfied.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Somewhat enjoyable. They enjoyed the theme and production quality, and would be happy to play it, but it definitely would not be their first choice. I found with this group, house ruling a lot of the quests and adding in custom campaigns helped bring this game to the table more often. Otherwise, this game would not be likely to make the table with this group.


Zombicide Modern (All Seasons)

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
This is a tried and true classic. It has survived all the naysayers, and still proves to be one of the best intro crawlers for newbies. Not as solid a game as ZBP, but a worthwhile game nonetheless.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
'Somewhat' enjoyable (if you are in that casual mindset). Here is where we see the game truly falling behind its successor. The old v1 rules (eg: the infamous shoot your buddy rule), can be easily house-ruled to accommodate the updated ZBP ruleset. While this does change the in-game meta (ranged vs melee), there are ways to increase difficulty (eg: more spawn points, abom hp, etc...) that can really make this shine.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Ok, we all know where this is going. The highly critical hardcore gamers pick apart all the games flaws. Better stick them with meatier crawlers like S&S and GH.


Other Games already covered in my other Collectors Series'


-Warcraft TCG (Raids & Dungeons)





EDIT: (As requested)

[b]Best Out of Print Crawlers


Gears of War

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
While not a complex game, was probably a little too fiddly for this group.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
As one of the earlier coop crawlers I played, this used to be the sci-fi go-to crawler. It is an awesome game, and is still very good by today’s standards. It has since been surpassed by IA and Doom, or GD for full coop. Not saying any of those are better games, but the casual gamers in my groups have evolved to prefer it than GoW. The one thing that wasn’t well received was, the more you did in GoW the closer you were to death.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Enjoyed this game, but much preferred GD, IA, or even Doom for that matter.


Heroquest

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
The grand-daddy of them all. Heroquest was a childhood dream come true, and holds a special place in my collection. Having said all that, does it hold a candle to modern board games? Unfortunately, not. We have come a long way, since HQ was first released, and every generation of Dungeon Crawler since has been improving it s formula. While I will forever immortalize HQ in my collection, it will never hit the table.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
See Newbie

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
See Newbie


Kingdom Death Monster

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Do not attempt.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
This group loved the production quality and the fantastic artwork and miniatures. Truly a work of art. Sadly it was a tad too heavy for this group.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Ok, first off, ***NO SPOILERS*** and I’d like to caveat that I don’t own this game, and we played friends copy (*and only 1 hardcore group had a chance to play this). Therefore, I do not have an emotional attachment to the game, and the hefty price tag it carried. I’ve been looking forward to this for a very very long time!!! Hailed as Dungeon Crawler to end all Dungeon Crawlers, I don’t think there has been a game in existence which has had more hype than KDM. After a weekend of gaming, we all looked at each other, and we all had the same expression on our faces. “Was that it?!” this game was clearly very ambitious and takes many aspects of gaming to a whole new level, but at its core (…and I know I’m going to get flamed with endless hate mail and death threats for this), it’s just a litany of ludicrously random dice chucking, fiddly bits and bookkeeping, and excessive playtime. It is a draining experience. I do not doubt that there is a good game somewhere in there, but as it stands at the moment, KDM was an utter disappointment. This game could use a major design overhaul in the dice mechanics (better yet, diceless) to make it less random. Overall, it wasn’t a horrible experience, just very disappointing. We all really just expected more, much much more. Knowing all I know now, if I went back in time, would I back KDM v1.5? Absolutely not (unless you only wanted the minis, and didn’t care for the game) Would I back it if they completely redesigned the mechanics? …maybe.


Level 7 Omega Protocol

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
Don’t even bother. This is like GD with all expansions included. Way too complex for newbies.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
A fantastic game! This group was definitely very sad when the publishers decided to stop supporting this game. This and GD are phenomenal in recreating that tense XCOM feel. You’d probably have to be the Overseer for this group though.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Hands down the BEST 1 vs all sci-fi crawler released to date. Comprehensive tactical decisions, forward planning, group delegations and dripping in theme. If you liked Galaxy Defenders, and are able to get a copy of this for a reasonable price, you MUST get it!
PS: If you are having trouble painting these due to stickiness or bendy plastic, dip them in quickshade first then prime them again. It stiffens the plastic and makes it non-tacky.


Project Elite

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
As one of the more unique games in my collection, this definitely had a novelty appeal. It was easy to teach and learn, and the timer kept everyone on their toes. The choices you have to make in this game are pretty linear, but serve its purpose well.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Enjoyed this game. But I must say, if you have those in your group who suffer for analysis paralysis, please avoid this game like the plague, or you will be caught bickering over the time limit clock constantly. There needs to be a very casual mindset when playing this game.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
Appeals to some (just for the novelty), but for this group, I’d classify this as a weak filler.


Warhammer Quest ACG

The ‘Newbie’ gaming group –
While not impossible to teach and learn to newbies, most newbies would rather play something more streamlined.

The ‘Casual’ gaming group –
Casuals really enjoyed this game. This game has very unique gameplay mechanics and balance. You definitely get the dungeon crawl vibe. The artwork and production value, really helps with immersion and the theme. This group really hoped that there were more expansions, but unfortunately it was discontinued by FFG.

The ‘Hardcore’ gaming group –
The hardcore did enjoy the gameplay, but commented on the lack of replayability and the reliance on expansion content to keep the game fresh. While many enjoyed their first session, 40% will not be returning for another game.


What it all comes down to…

Recommended, if you are a Newbie gamer,

-Arcadia Quest
-Betrayal at House on the Hill
-Claustrophobia
-Clank!
-Clank in Space
-D&D Adventure Series
-Doom 2nd Ed
-DungeonQuest
-Endure the Stars
-Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
-Massive Darkness
-Mansions of Madness 2nd Ed
-Mice & Mystics
-One Deck Dungeon
-Project Elite
-Stuffed Fables
-Space Cadets: Away Missions
-The World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch
-The Order of the Vampire Hunters
-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
-Zombicide BP
-Zombicide Modern


Recommended, if you are a Casual gamer,

-Aeons End
-Arcadia Quest
-Bloodborne
-Conan
-Clank!
-Clank in Space
-Claustrophobia
-Dark Souls Card Game
-Death Angel (Card game)
-D&D Adventure Series
-Dark Souls
-Descent: Journeys in the Dark
-Descent 2nd Ed
-Deep Madness
-Doom 2nd Ed
-DungeonQuest
-Galaxy Defenders
-Gears of War
-Folklore: The Affliction
-Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
-Heroes of Terrinoth
-Imperial Assault
-Mansions of Madness 2nd Ed
-Mice & Mystics
-Nemesis
-Others 7 Sins (If you like the theme)
-Project Elite
-Resident Evil 2
-Space Cadets: Away Missions
-Street Masters
-The World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch
-Level 7 Omega Protocol
-Thunderstone Quest
-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
-Warhammer Quest Series
-Warhammer Adventure Card Game
-Zombicide BP
-Zombicide Modern


Recommended, if you are a Hardcore gamer,

-Aeons End
-Arcadia Quest
-Clank in Space
-Conan
-Descent: Journeys in the Dark
-Descent 2nd Ed
-Doom 2nd Ed
-Deep Madness
-Death Angel (Card game)
-Galaxy Defenders
-Gloomhaven
-Heroes of Terrinoth
-Imperial Assault
-Level 7 Omega Protocol
-Mansions of Madness 2nd Ed
-Nemesis
-Sword & Sorcery
-Shadows of Brimstone
-Space Hulk(4th Edition)
-Street Masters
-Thunderstone Quest
-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


Not Recommended for any groups
Mansions of Madness 1st Ed

-Doom 1st Ed
-Dungeon Alliance
-Dungeon Saga
-Fireteam Zero
-Super Dungeon Explore(Forgotten King)


Games on my ‘to buy’ list:

-Cult of Barnacle Bay
-Star Saga
-Siege of the Citadel
-Resident Evil 2
-Okko Chronicles
-Joan of Arc
-Too Many Bones
-Perdition Mouth
-Chronicle X
-Middara
-Batman Chronicles


Games I have no intention of getting for now: (due to minimal interest)

-Catacombs & Castles
-Secrets of the Lost Tomb
-Krosmaster Arena 2.0
-Krosmaster Quest
-Jagged Alliance
-The Undercity
-Dungeoneer Series
-Myth
-Secrets of the Lost Station

*I only have about 16 hours of gaming time a week, and limited resources, so I can’t try absolutely everything out there.



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MORE CRAWLERS COMING SOON...


If there are any questions about any of the games' miniatures sculpts, plastic quality, board graphics, dice, rulebook, etc. Please let me know.

*Special thanks to individual group leaders, and their respective groups:
Andrew, Christine, Nikki, Ju, Justin, CW, Yat, Neal, Andrea, John J, Judy, Kai, David, Linda, Ray, Lewis, Timmy, Casper, John L, Des, Paul, Lily, Zac, Chris, Anthony, etc...

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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
Reserved
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Trent Boardgamer
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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
Interesting read, thanks for the share.

I've tried a lot of those with similar type groups and had similar experiences.

The only one that was better received with my players (casual and hardcore) was Shadows of Brimstone, however it's because we love the wierd wild west theme. From your experience this game does seem to be made or broken on the interest in the theme. It's also got a few clunky rules. Additionally there is no appeal in my groups for one shotting this game, only campaign play (I should also disclaim I have a crap load of content from Kickstarting this, which certainly helps sell it).
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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
Thanks for commenting. I missed the kickstarter boat. Maybe it would have changed my opinion, but I doubt it. The ruleset was just not polished enough. I'm really hoping the Forbidden Fortress is better, and the theme for that looks much stronger as well.
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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
What about older games like Citadel of Blood or variants like Mistfall?

The first is a dungeon crawler and the other is similar to one but in the open air.
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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
anijunk wrote:
What about older games like Citadel of Blood or variants like Mistfall?

The first is a dungeon crawler and the other is similar to one but in the open air.


I didnt include games that are out of print, or card based. I havent played Citadel of Blood, 1980 is looooong out of print. But if I did include OOP games, my top list for:

Newbie gamers - Project Elite
Casual gamers - Gears of War
Hardcore gamers - Level 7 Omega protocol

...and if I had a choice for card based fantasy for any of the groups it would be Warhammer Quest card game.
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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
What cards are you destroying in Gloomhaven?
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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
Pretty sure there are events that say to destroy the card. However I'm just going to archive these to the box. I destroyed stuff in Pandemic Legacy and certainly would again so destruction in general isn't my issue.

I don't want to hurt a good game like Gloomhaven though.
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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
Kentharious wrote:
anijunk wrote:
What about older games like Citadel of Blood or variants like Mistfall?

The first is a dungeon crawler and the other is similar to one but in the open air.


I didnt include games that are out of print, or card based. I havent played Citadel of Blood, 1980 is looooong out of print.

You can do a PnP of that game. Todd Sanders did a revamp of the components (among others) and the Ares magazine can be found on archive.org.

Much cheaper than a new game. whistle
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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
Hmmm....This makes me just a touch concerned for my own group. We originally started out playing DnD but I wanted to get some RPG stuff that would allow me to play rather than just DM, hence the interest in the dungeon

I've got City of the Ancients, Swamps of Death, and Caverns of Cynder in the Shadows of Brimstone Universe. I think these will go over fairly well because everyone in my group is a fan of Westerns.

Mice and Mystics I figured would be simplistic but I think if the story is immersive enough, they'll all enjoy playing through the campaign once and even if they don't my nephew is 5 now so he may get a real charge out of it in a few years when he can understand what's going on.

Massive Darkness could go either way. If it's as simple and light as you indicate, my group may not enjoy this one all that much. On the bright side, if they do hate the game I can cannibalize it for parts and use them in my own RPG campaigns.

Gloomhaven is the one that most concerns me. My group is either going to love or hate the game due to the math-y puzzle like aspects. I'm just hoping that at least I love it because then I'll at least get to play through it solo.

The only other dungeon crawler I have that's not mentioned above is Myth. I know this one has some serious issues but I was aware of the issues when I bought it and got a good deal on it ($30 USD) so I'm not all that worried about it.

I do have one more on the way though, Deep Madness, that thematically is perfect for my group, but I'm not sure how it'll go over mechanically. It's a huge unknown in that regard.

I figure worst case scenario, I'll have a lot of solo play ahead of me. I mean, I did recently acquire another table so it won't be an issue for me to set up a game and leave it set up.



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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
Interesting.

Dungeon Crawls and fantasy adventure games are almost all I buy.

I guess I'm "hardcore," but older - 42. Been playing hobby games since early 80s.

My favorites of what you listed are MoM 2e and Shadows of Brimstone. My least favorite, by far, is Gloomhaven - too puzzly, not enough adventure, nothing to do outside of combat.

Shadows of Brimstone is the closest thing we have to Warhammer Quest, in print, and with enough expansions that game is incredible.
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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
boardgamesdotEXE wrote:
Pretty sure there are events that say to destroy the card. However I'm just going to archive these to the box. I destroyed stuff in Pandemic Legacy and certainly would again so destruction in general isn't my issue.

I don't want to hurt a good game like Gloomhaven though.


That's how I do it as well.

morris9597 wrote:

Massive Darkness could go either way. If it's as simple and light as you indicate, my group may not enjoy this one all that much. On the bright side, if they do hate the game I can cannibalize it for parts and use them in my own RPG campaigns.

I do have one more on the way though, Deep Madness, that thematically is perfect for my group, but I'm not sure how it'll go over mechanically. It's a huge unknown in that regard.



Haha. Thats the same reason why I purchased Massive Darkness as well. In fact, thats also why I purchased Others 7 Sins. More for the minis than the game itself, which was 'meh...'.
Oh yes, I'm very excited for Deep Madness as well. Not sure if it classifies as a dungeon crawler. Will have to wait until I get my copy.

D_Davis wrote:

My favorites of what you listed are MoM 2e and Shadows of Brimstone. My least favorite, by far, is Gloomhaven - too puzzly, not enough adventure, nothing to do outside of combat.

Shadows of Brimstone is the closest thing we have to Warhammer Quest, in print, and with enough expansions that game is incredible.


I agree. Gloomhaven is very puzzly. Although, in some circumstances its not a bad thing. But you do get those group members that are absolutely OCD on calculating out every single damage point and the game comes to a screeching halt. Why is why I still like 'some' dice rolling to help mitigate that.

As for Shadows of Brimstone, its not a bad game. In fact, none of them are, if not I wouldnt have purchased them to begin with . But each has a very distinct audience, and with SoB, you really need an audience that connects with the Wild West theme enough to overlook its pitfalls. Unfortunately, that was not present in any of my groups. I'm hoping Forbidden Fortress will do better. I really like the Ancient asian theme.
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Wow, I wish I could get my numerous dungeon crawlers played with as many groups as yours!
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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
This was interesting to read, thanks.
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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
Tyndal wrote:
Wow, I wish I could get my numerous dungeon crawlers played with as many groups as yours!


Getting new friends for gaming is like training pets. You lure them in with the promise of free food and drinks at your place(no one passes up on free food and drinks ) Once they are hooked on the games, you stop the freebies. It works for me all the time.
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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
Thank you Ken. This is a great starting point and reference for me as we starting diving deeper into these types of fun games!!!

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What a great format! I really found the different audiences reactions interesting.

I've always had a tough time finding people to commit to much in a dungeon crawler, which is ironic as most of these same people are in my D&D 5e group and have no qualms about spending multiple sessions stomping around dungeons in that format. I do like to load up my adventures with a lot of narrative elements. Maybe a crawler that was heavier in that aspect might get more traction. Do you feel any of these are particularly strong in that respect?

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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
Party Hats wrote:
What a great format! I really found the different audiences reactions interesting.

I've always had a tough time finding people to commit to much in a dungeon crawler, which is ironic as most of these same people are in my D&D 5e group and have no qualms about spending multiple sessions stomping around dungeons in that format. I do like to load up my adventures with a lot of narrative elements. Maybe a crawler that was heavier in that aspect might get more traction. Do you feel any of these are particularly strong in that respect?



It depends. Do you prefer self narrative options, or narrative provided by the game? For the former, I'd go with Sword & Sorcery, and Gloomhaven for the latter. Both would appeal to D&D RPG fans which like a heavier games. With S&S someone really needs to take the reigns in the narrative. Like mentioned above, the narrative provided in the book is really choppy, and you really need someone with a flair for narration to really bring it out.

Of course, if you want to sandbox and create your own games, I'd recommend the entire D&D Adventure series. They may not be good on their own for your purpose, but they are a wealth of maps, monster & hero minis, etc. That you could use for your D&D RPG scenarios.
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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
I love the idea of the dungeon crawler, I keep on buying them, but in reality there is only one that I really like: Level 7 [Omega Protocol].
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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
ed95005 wrote:
I love the idea of the dungeon crawler, I keep on buying them, but in reality there is only one that I really like: Level 7 [Omega Protocol].


Thanks for commenting. Level 7 OP is a solid game. It used to be my go to sci-fi crawler for the 'Hardcore' group. Sad that its now out of print. Was really hoping for some more expansions. That being said, if you havent tried 2nd edition DOOM, I recommend trying it. It plays well regardless of the type of gaming experience you have. Very balanced (if you know what you're doing). Both the players and the overlord feel very powerful. Not as tactical as L7OP, but definitely more streamlined. For a more tactical experience, Galaxy Defenders is a good choice.

Streamlining:
Doom > L7OP > Galaxy Defenders

Tactical Choices
Galaxy Defenders > L7OP > Doom

Fun Factor:
Doom > Galaxy Defenders > L7OP
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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
My take on Galaxy Defenders (I have both that and Sword & Sorcery) is that it takes too long for a game that is so random. I've had heroes stuck in combat with the same alien for multiple turns, which is boring. Things need to die faster so that the game moves at a more appropriate pace (maybe remove a shield from the defense die).
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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
ed95005 wrote:
My take on Galaxy Defenders (I have both that and Sword & Sorcery) is that it takes too long for a game that is so random. I've had heroes stuck in combat with the same alien for multiple turns, which is boring. Things need to die faster so that the game moves at a more appropriate pace (maybe remove a shield from the defense die).


Easily rectified. I had this problem too. But with the stances adding up to +2 to attacks and enabling the 'high impact' rule. Combat became much quicker, and completely changes the pace of the game(from slow mexican standoffs, to fast run and gun action) . If you dont want to buy the expansion, just print out the stances on paper and use tokens to signify usage.
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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
Great job!

As you play more games, mebbe make this into a geeklist.

Anyway, good to see recommendations what games I would like. Getting too jaded on dungeoncrawls!

If any of you have Myth, have the hardcores give it a shot. OOP (but easily available secondhand or free online) 4th edition D&D plays very much like a boardgame, so might be good for the casual and hardcore groups. Song of Blade and Heroes has a Song of Gold and Darkness dungeoncrawl version (use with Deep Dark Dungeons fan supplement) the casuals should have fun with. Frostgrave also has a dungeony Breeding Pits supplement I don't know much of, but Frostgrave itself is a popular accessible miniature skirmish game.
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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector
Sam and Max wrote:
Great job!

As you play more games, mebbe make this into a geeklist.

Anyway, good to see recommendations what games I would like. Getting too jaded on dungeoncrawls!

If any of you have Myth, have the hardcores give it a shot. OOP (but easily available secondhand or free online) 4th edition D&D plays very much like a boardgame, so might be good for the casual and hardcore groups. Song of Blade and Heroes has a Song of Gold and Darkness dungeoncrawl version (use with Deep Dark Dungeons fan supplement) the casuals should have fun with. Frostgrave also has a dungeony Breeding Pits supplement I don't know much of, but Frostgrave itself is a popular accessible miniature skirmish game.


Thanks for your feedback. Sounds like a good idea. Maybe when this list hits 25.

Unfortunately, I missed the KS boat on Myth, and I cant justify the $$$ on the secondary market. But from what I've heard from friends in my groups, the Myth ruleset is very convoluted. I do like the premise though. Maybe when they do a new edition.
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Re: The Dungeon Crawler Collector

Really great analysis and thoughts. Thanks for that.

One you might consider adding is Perdition's Mouth. Very high quality design and pretty unique campaign feel. Decisions made in scenarios have carry over effects creating interesting risk/reward decisions for the players. Strictly hard core as far as your groupings go.
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