In Defence of The Adventurer
I have read a few negative reviews of this game, most of which are accurate. I wanted to offer my own viewpoint. This is definitely not a game for everyone, but for a few people this may be worth a look.
A brief background on me - I have a wife and two boys, ages 8 and 4. The wife has no interest in games, so that leaves my sons as my only real gaming partners. I have been working on my 8 year old since he was little. However despite my best efforts, he is not one of those gaming savants you occasionally read about here on BGG. He likes games, but he doesn't like anything too complex or anything that takes more than about 30 minutes. My 4 year old loves games, but he is still in the Hi-Ho-Cherry-O, memory games phase. I am always looking for a games we can all play together.
I had seen The Adventurers before on BGG and thought it could be a good fit for the family, but never got around to buying it until I saw it on one of the auctions here. It was relatively cheap, so I figured I would give it a shot. I am glad I did, because it turned out to be a good fit for our family.
The gameplay is very simple. The only components are a deck of cards and two 6 sided dice. At the beginning of the game, everyone picks out a character to play with. The characters are basically identical - there is no advantage to choosing one over the other. The only difference between characters is that each one has a special trap they can bypass during the game if they happen to draw that trap card during play. Then everyone takes turn drawing cards. There are several types of cards in the deck. Most are monster cards, where you have to battle. To battle, you roll 2 six-sided die for the monster and 2 for yourself. Each monster will have an attack bonus from 0 to six that you add to their total. You also add your bonuses to your roll. If your total is higher, you have killed the monster and get whatever item is on the bottom of its card. If the monster's total is higher you take one point of damage and discard the monster. You start with 4 health points. If you lose all 4 points, then you "die." The only penalty for dying is that you lose half your treasure you've collected, then you restart at full health again. The items/treasure you collect after killing monsters are usually weapons that let you add points to your attack roll, or armor that makes it less likely for you to get hit. You can also sometimes get healing potions.
Other cards you can draw are traps, which make you either lose a turn, or can occasionally cause damage, healing fountains, or unguarded treasures which can give you even more bonuses to your attack or give you the ability to re-roll some of your attack dice.
The goal of the game is to kill Count Lordac, a vampire in the castle. He is a special card in the deck. He is tough - the only monster with +6 attack. Also, to kill him you must have a wooden stake that you must have obtained after defeating other monsters previously in the game. That's it - if you kill him, you win. Otherwise he is reshuffled in the deck and you must face him again later. So the whole point of the game is to be constantly building up your strength, so that when you do face him, you have a chance of killing him.
So that's basically the game. The question is, how fun is it? Well, it depends. As I said before, its very simple. You're just flipping cards and responding to what the card says. There is no strategy or really any choices to make. So as an adult game, I can't recommend it. It might would be fun once or twice, but I can't see there be much replayability here. However, those same flaws make it ideal for my kids. I love dungeon crawlers in general, but most are too complicated for my kids, especially my 4 year old. But this game is so straightforward, it's easy for him to play on a level playing field. As a parent, it's so much fun to see them jump up and down after killing a zombie. There's just something about slaying a monster even a 4 year old can appreciate - you don't get near that level of excitement after spinning a 4 on Hi-Ho-Cherry-O. I think this is a good way to get kids, or maybe even new gamers in general, interested in dungeon crawlers. Once my kids are a little older, though, I don't see us playing this very much. Right now, though, its perfect for us.
I also wanted to mention that this is a review of the base game. There are 2 expansions for this. I have actually just ordered both, but have not yet received them. They are supposed to add more strategy and depth to the game. I am hoping these expansions will add a lot to the game without making it so complex, my kids won't be able to enjoy it. I will let you know after we get them, and play with them for a while.