This is my first game review so go easy on me. First off, perhaps a bit about me may be in order. It's only in the last 4 years or so that I have taken up board gaming as a hobby of mine. It started with Settlers and then onto Railroad Tycoon, Caylus, Heroscape etc... I have a modest game collection of 40 games (extravagent according to my wife, "why would anyone need so many games" she says . To me it's kind of like my CD collection. As a music lover , they are all unique and satisfy and move me in different ways. 40 CD's would never suffice, dear, and by the way have you see your shoe "collection" lately), but I digress.
So, onto Dungeonquest. I had never heard of it until I started seeing the ads here on BGG a few months ago. The idea was intriguing, having the tiles for a never the same twice dungeon to explore. I didn't have any dungeon exploration games in my collection so I was looking for something to satisfy my slow, growing itch, and for something that was accessible and quick enough that my 12 year old son and I could play. I'm here to say that Dungeonquest has scratched that itch in quite a satisfying way.
I have played approx 10 times , mostly 2 player , and several 3 player games, and each game has indeed been different and exciting. The main objective is to exit Dragonfire Dungeon with most treaure, ALIVE. Getting treasure is relatively easy, getting lots is more dangerous, and finally to actually get out of the dungeon, with your treasure is very satisfying, because more times than not, you will die. But truly dying has never been this fun.
I won't go over the rules here, but rather my impressions and experiences with the game.
1. Simple, easy to teach/learn rules.
I like complicated games. Ones with lots of rules, varying strategies to win, ie: Caylus, Le Havre. But sometimes I'm in the mood for something simple, that won't burn my brain. In Dungeonquest there is no real strategy except survival and that is mostly out of your hand. You draw a dungeon tile your character enters the room and you draw a card (sometimes more) and see what happens. Sometimes good things, but usually something bad.
As far as the rules, I read them over once and had 80% of the game down. During our first play there was some rule book checking (mostly combat), but nothing that held the game up for more than a minute. The rule book is pretty well laid out, easy to read, no complaints. The combat rules are not terribly intuitive, and take some practice, but overall are not as bad as i was expecting, based on some other reviews. I like that you have at least some choice of cardplay in a game that you are generally a victim of chance. Occasionally the combat can drag slightly if you are fighting a high health demon or the like but that has been a rare happening in our games. Usually the combat lasts no longer than 1.5 rounds, and in 2 player games you both have something to do so there is no downtime for combat. 3-4 player games you can take turns on who will play the creature for combat.
2. Quick and suspensful gameplay.
Our 2 player games typically last around 30 min, so it's easy to at least play 2 games without a huge time investment. I don't have a ton of time for games ( I wish I did) so I really appreciate a game that sets up and plays quick.
Our 3 player games took about 45 min. But even with the short playing time there is a lot of things going on, from finding unexpected treasures, secret doors, creatures from the annoying to the deadly, rooms that cave in, traps, to enter or not enter the catacombs and lots more.
Just this evening I introduced my non gaming brother to Dungeonquest. We played a 3 player game with myself and my 12 year old and he had a blast, and requested a second game as soon as we were done. In the first game my brother was sure he would win with his 4000 value treasure card he pulled from a crypt, and in the last room before exiting the dungeon encountered a swinging blade trap and died. Awesome. We all died that game.
But he loved it, because you just never knew what the next room held. In the second game I tried the catacombs and could not exit for 9 turns! I got a little treasure along the way but finally exited and won only because my son , with a crapload of treasure, was 2 spaces away from exiting as the sun set. Goodbye son. My 40 treasure card won the day.
How my brother enjoyed the game was part of the inspiration of this review. It is a fun game. It took me 5 minutes to explain to him, and we were off exploring. Sometimes I dread teaching a new game ( this grain here , you can bake bread to get more food, on your next turn, but first you need an oven that you can get on this turn. No, it takes a whole turn to bake bread......got it?), but Dungeonquest is a breeze.
3. There are lots of colourful bits.
I'm a bit of a sucker for bits and there is no shortage here with 336 various cards such as traps, dungeon, treasure, searching cards and more. There are 117 dungeon tiles that make up the rooms to explore. In a 2 player game we may use 1/4 of the tiles, so truly, every game looks and plays differently. I must admit that I was slighly drawn to Dungeonquest by the included heroes that can be used with Runewars , complete with cards. I have actually put the heroes in my Runewars box and use D&D minis for Dungeonquest. For owners of Runebound, and Descent there are included cards to use the heroes in those games as well. I'm glad i enjoy Dungeonquest as much as I do, but I don't like getting my extra Runewars goodness this way. I feel FFG may be preying on some of us afflicted with a completist syndrome.
I wholeheartedly recommend Dungeonquest for anyone with even a bit of an itch for a quick ,easy to learn, not rule heavy, dungeon exploration game with lots of variety.
Please, I welcome any comments and critiques. Thanks.
This was a great review. I liked the way you wrote about your session. It sounds fun, now I want to play it
Gardens by the Bay
This is my first game review so go easy on me.
Please, I welcome any comments and critiques. Thanks.
Nice first review.
Good review. I liked your focus on the play experience and your positive portrayal of the "random" elements of the game. It sounds like the boardgame equivalent of watching a good movie for the first time--you don't know what might happen next, and "anybody" could get whacked (no "The Matinee Idol Must Survive" syndrome).
I agree with your point about the "Runewars" crossover. While I appreciate FFG's supplemting original "Runewars," I believe this should be done in such a way that RWs players don't have to buy a whole game to get the supplement.
In my case I can't honestly say whether I'd buy DQ for sure if the RWs addition wasn't in it. Still haven't found one at a price I'm willing to pay but hope to do so soon.
It is good to plan this knowing that I'll enjoy the game in the box, not just the supplement for another game.
FFG makes a new game in the descent world, and makes some new characters.
what is the more preferable scenario.
a) only use the new characters in the new game
b) give rules so the new characters can be played in the 3 other descent world games
c) offer 3 separate expansion packs for sale for the 3 different descent world games, so that if you like each game and wanted the rules to play all 4 games with the new characters, you would need to buy all three expansions, and end up with 3 extra figures for each character
d) offer 1 expansion which included figures and rules for the new characters for the other three games.
a means no fun
c means lots of redundency and wasted money
d means extra cost and people who already have dungeonquest get screwed into spending more on redundant figures to get the extra rules.
CLEARLY option B (the course that FFG chose) is my favorite option. Can anyone think of a better option?
FFG decided, in a really cool way, to expand the descent/runequest/runewars/dungeonquest world AS A BONUS, that provided free stuff for people that buy dungeon quest, instead of greedily trying to separate them into separate expansions.
they could have easily done far less, and no one would have noticed or complained, but instead they act in a way that, while trying to encourage people to want to try their new game, is also generous in a way that I've never seen another game designed and sold, and people moan...
lets see Gamesworkshop sell a new model and provide all the Mordheim/fantasy battle/40K/Necromunda/Bloodbowl/Epic 40K/etc.. rules and stats so that unit can be used in all applicable games
Try and think of a reasonable option for introducing new characters that can be played in all 4 games with as much value and less redundency.