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THE GAME PIT: Episode 19 – D&D Board Games Pit Fight

Game Pit Logo - December 2013 (Y&G Dice)

This week Sean and Ronan throw the five recent D&D boardgame releases into The Pit and see which title comes out on top. Will it be the veteran wiles of Dungeon!, the vampires of Castle Ravenloft, the marauding hordes of Nerath, the skirmish troops of Dungeon Command or the regal Lords of Waterdeep?

They also look at what D&D gaming means to them and look at some non-licensed alternatives.
Email us with your thoughts at thegamepitpodcast@gmail.com
Follow us on Twitter @gamepitpodcast and also on Facebook
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Dungeon! (A Video Review)


Dungeon! is a fast-paced game where you and your friends can decide which way to go in the hunt for bigger and better treasure.

Will you stick to level 1 and clear out the Goblins and Kobolds? Or will you delve deep into level 6 and set your sights on the Purple Worm or the Red Dragon? Along the way, you’ll have to face off against such iconic monsters as the Black Pudding, the Drow, and even the Owlbear!

Featuring simple, straightforward rules that are easy to learn, Dungeon! is perfect for a fantasy game night, or a warm-up before your next epic game of D&D!

~ Wizards of the Coast


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Dungeon! – A Written Review

Review #46 – Thanks for reading 2D6.org!

Dungeon! By Chris Dupuis, Jeff Grubb, Steve Winter, Michael Gray, and Gary Gygax – Art Director Dan Gelon – Published By Wizards of the Coast

Eric: We’re outnumbered ten to one!

Diana the Acrobat: Alright then. You take two, I’ll take eighteen.

* * * * * * *

Dungeon! is a fantasy board game for 1-8 players ages 8+. Each player will take control of one of the iconic D&D classes, Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, or Rogue in a dungeon delve of chutzpah and luck in a race to see who can get enough treasure and exit before anyone else. The monsters get tougher as you go deeper but so too do the rewards grow! Do you play it safe and hover near the entrance feeding off the scraps of weak monsters or do you brave the deepest depths in search of great danger and even greater rewards? Either way press your luck or play it safe whoever can get enough gold and gems and escape the dungeon in one piece will be declared the winner… the rest… will be food for the Dungeon Denizens!

Are you a mighty hero or a meek little mouse? BRAVE the Dungeon, grab the loot, and escape! Just make sure you don’t overstep your bounds and get defeated by the denizens for they would like nothing more than to take their treasures off your dead lifeless corpse!

What’s In The Box

Dungeon! comes in a 14”x 10 1/2”x 1 1/2” box that could almost pass as a copy of Parker Brothers Monopoly on your game shelf. While there isn’t a fancy divider in the box, there really isn’t a need for one either. This harkens back to the old days where you had some rubber bands handy and Ziploc baggy to keep everything organize. The box itself is pretty sturdy and should fit quite nicely laid flat or tipped up on its side.



Game board

8 Hero standees

2 Human Fighters, 2 Elf Wizards,

2 Halfling Rogues, 2 Dwarf Clerics

165 cards

*61 Monster cards

*80 Treasure cards

*24 Spell cards

139 tokens

*12 Number tokens

*11 Lose a Turn tokens

*111 Cleared tokens

*5 Magic Sword tokens

2 6-sided dice

All of this gaming goodness can be yours for $19.99.  You are more than welcome to dodge the Dragons, sneak past the slimes, traverse past the trolls, and follow this map to the greatest gold! 

Cardboard Components: Dungeon! has quite a bit of cardboard included in the box, tokens for explored rooms, tokens for lost turns, tokens for rooms with active monsters, and even cardboard stand-ups for the heroes themselves. All the cardboard included in the game is pretty thick and durable, the tokens are relatively small but they are double sided and full color. The cardboard hero stand-ups are monochromatic but come with good artwork and as a nice touch each hero class has a male and a female stand-up, something you don’t see too often in games. Being made out of cardboard though the stand-ups do wear out fairly quickly, especially if you remove the bases when you store the game, so you will probably want to have a few strips of scotch tape handy.

Cards: The cards are colorful with backings designed to quickly and easily separate them into their piles to play. Each card uses large easily readable fonts front and back and each card has full color artwork representing monsters, treasures, spells, and traps. These are very small cards though measuring a mere 2 inches tall but at least they feel decently made and should last a while. You won’t need to sleeve these cards, which is probably a good thing since I don’t think they make sleeves this small. The artwork is classic Dungeons and Dragons with artwork depicting dragons, dark elves, evil wizards, and dozens of other nefarious creatures you would find in a classic Red Box dungeon crawl.

Dice: The box comes with 2 regular six sided dice with the standard engraved pips. The dice feel like they are made well and they roll pretty well and evenly.

Game Board: The game board is full color depicting a classic dungeon that will bring back warm memories for anyone who was weaned on classic hack and slash role playing made famous by the original Basic D&D boxed sets. Each “Level” of the board is color coded to match the backs of the cards so you know what pile to draw from. Unfortunately though the rooms are not numbered so anyone with color blindness issues will have difficulties here in discerning what rooms are part of which levels. The board itself is large, made out of thick cardboard, and even has a sidebar that summarizes most of the game minimizing how often you will need to refer back to the rulebook during play.

Rulebook: The rulebook is a double sided fold out piece of paper that explains the rules on one side and the game components on the other. It is made out of standard paper but everything is full color and the rules are laid out well and are simple to understand thanks to numerous diagrams.

Components and Presentation Verdict: 8.0/10 – While for some, the components might seem to be on the light side, you need to remember this is a $20 game that most people will buy online for $15. Having said that, the components are actually fantastic for a game that can be purchased so inexpensively. Sure we all love our blinged out games but sometimes it’s nice to not have to balance the checkbook to see if I can afford a new game.

How Does It Play?

Dungeon! is a game of guts and luck with a dungeon delving theme. Players will need to go deep into a dungeon to defeat monsters and grab treasures. The deeper you go the tougher the monsters become but the rewards are also greater! It’s actually impossible to win the game by staying on level 1 so you have to go in and fight the tougher creatures. The heroes will traverse corridors and explore rooms where they will encounter random monsters. Players will roll dice in an effort to defeat the monsters. If they succeed they can randomly win a treasure depending on how tough the monster was. If they fail to defeat the monster it gets to attack back, potentially causing the hero to lose one, some, or all of their hard earned treasure. The lost treasure(s) stay in the room with the monster for the hero to try again or another player to come along and steal your treasures from you if they can defeat the monster before you! The heroes are not evenly balanced though, the Rogue is weak and is unable to tackle the monsters in the deeper depths yet the Wizard can face off against the mightiest of dragons. It is balanced though by requiring stronger heroes to gather more treasure, the Wizard needs 30,000 gold to win while the lowly rogue only needs 10,000 gold to win the game.

The mighty Fighter will need to fight the creatures in levels 3-5 if they expect to find 20,000 gold and win. While the Cleric will be exploring levels 2-4 searching for 10,000 gold to win. The first player to get enough treasure for their hero and make it out of the dungeon wins! Of course there isn’t anything in the rules preventing you from being really brave and going for the great score or being a coward and slumming on weaker creatures… Remember though fortune always favors the brave… Dragons also favor the brave, especially with barbeque sauce.

Component Breakdown

Monster Cards: Each level of the dungeon has its own stack of monster cards to draw from. Level one creatures are weak and easy to kill for the Fighter and Wizard, while level 6 creatures are extremely tough and nearly impossible to kill for the rogue and cleric. Each card has the monsters name, an image of the monster and a row of target numbers to defeat that creature on 2 six sided dice. From left to right the target numbers are for Rogue, Cleric, Fighter, Wizard, Wizards Fireball, and finally Wizards Lightning Bolt. Simply find the target number for your class and roll equal to or higher than that number on 2D6 to defeat the creature and earn a draw from the treasure pile. Fail and the monster gets the chance to fight back.

Heroes: Each player gets a hero cutout to represent their hero. Each class has a male and a female hero and each hero has a symbol on it that matches one of the six symbols on the monster cards.

Tokens: Dungeon comes with hourglass tokens, grave markers, number tokens, and Magic sword tokens. The hourglass tokens are gained from traps and represent how many turns a player must miss. If a player has an hourglass token when they start their turn they must discard one hourglass token and then end their turn. Grave Markers are used to show rooms that have been successfully explore, a room will not repopulate once its guardian is defeated. Number Tokens are used to signify rooms with monsters that were not defeated and possibly now guard treasure that once belonged to another player. Magic Sword tokens are used whenever you find a magic sword. The token signifies how much you add to your roll when fighting while you possess the sword.

Treasure Cards: Each treasure card like the monster cards is separated into 6 piles matching the six levels of the dungeon. Whenever you defeat a monster in a room (only in a room not in a chamber) you draw a treasure card that is the same level as the monster you defeated. Some treasures grant special abilities and all treasures have a gold value even if equipped to use their special powers. Keep a running total of the total gold value of all treasures you have once you have enough, exit the dungeon with them, and win the game.

Wizard Cards: Wizards gain access to Spells that they can cast during the game. As a Wizard, you start the game with a certain number of Spell cards in your hand. You can play only 1 Spell card per turn. When you do so, discard the card. Each Monster card includes icons for the Fireball and Lightning Bolt Spells. Use the number below the icon for the corresponding Spell to determine the dice roll needed to hit. If you destroy the Monster, move your Hero into its room or chamber and loot as normal. If you miss, the Monster does not strike back, since your Hero is not in the same space. The Monster stays in that room or chamber until it is destroyed. The Teleport spell lets you take shortcuts in the dungeon. You can cast Teleport only if your Hero is in a chamber, and only before combat. When you play the Spell card, you remove your Hero from the chamber it is in and place it in another chamber on the same Level or one that is 1 lower or higher.


Setup is extremely simple even if you are using the solitaire play rules.

Each player rolls to see who goes first, re-roll ties.

In order from Highest to lowest roll each player picks a hero and places them in the Great Hall space on the board.

Any Wizard players roll to see how many spells they start with and then takes that many spell cards of their choice from the Teleport, Fireball, and Lightning spell cards.

Separate the tokens into piles within easy reach of all players.

Shuffle the Monster and Treasure decks by level and place them next to the board within easy reach of all the players.

You are now ready to play.

Rulebook Turn Summary.

*On a players turn they must do the following in order*

1. Move – Move up to 5 Spaces. Moving Zero Spaces is an option.

2. Encounter – If in a chamber with less than 3 tomb stones or a room without any tomb stones draw a Monster Card based on the level you are on. If there is already a monster in the room or Chamber, encounter the monster. Wizards can encounter monsters while standing outside of rooms and chambers if they are willing to use (discard) a spell card.

3. Combat – Look at the Monster card and roll 2 dice adding them together. If you roll equal to or higher than the number listed on the card for your Class or Spell used (if any) you defeat the creature. If you fail to defeat the creature roll 2 dice and consult the “Monster Attacks” chart on the game board to see what happens.

4. Loot – If you defeated the monster draw a treasure card for the level of monster you defeated. Also take any treasure(s) other players may have lost if they were defeated by the monster.

A sample game might look something like this:

Game turns are extremely quick in Dungeon! taking a minute at the most unless a little alcohol is involved then the taunting and chest thumping can prolong it a little bit. In this example it is a 4 player game with each player playing one of the four hero types. It is the Rogues turn and they are on level 2 of the Dungeon looking at a handful of almost 8,000 gold coins. It is a close game and the Rogue decides to press their luck a little bit. Especially since the Wizard player seems to be making a mockery of level 5 and might be close to their 30,000 gold! The Rogue walks out of a room just north of the kitchen, moves 4 spaces, and then enters a level 3 room near the pantry. The rogue player draws a level 3 monster card and reveals… A Slide Trap! The Rogue draws a treasure card and reveals a Huge Emerald worth 5,000 gold! Unfortunately the trap then activates tossing our intrepid Rogue down a chute into a Chamber on level 4! Fortune is with our Rogue though because the Fighter and the Cleric have been doing a great job one upping each other on level 4 and the Chapel already has 3 Tombstones in it. The Rogue haughtily slides to the Chapel knowing they now have a clean break for the Great Hall and a coin purse filled to the rim with well over 10,000 gold worth of treasure. Now to play it cool before the other players realize the Rogues plan…

Simplicity of the Rules: 9.0/10 – The rules are really simple. Anyone who can count to five and add up the results of 2 six sided dice can play this game. My four year old son can play this game as long as he has someone keeping a running total of his treasures (mathematics using thousands starts next week in preschool…).

Daddy Why’s This Guy Got A Sword In His Belly?

 As a father of 2 future board gamers, a large concern of mine is how secure am I in letting my eldest son play and or rummage through a game box. Granted, BGG and board games themselves very clearly tell you a minimum age, they don’t tell you exactly why that minimum age was chosen. My hope is to arbitrarily tell you why I think this age range was chosen for this game and then hopefully give a few ideas I might have for a game to make it easier on the young ones. Finally I will close with what seems to be the “sweet spot” for number of players and if the game has solo rules I’ll comment on those too.

Dungeon! is a fantasy game of exploration, fighting, dice rolling, and luck for 1-8 players ages 8+. The basic game play is very simple to understand, any child who can count to 5, add up the value of two dice, and compare greater than or less than numbers can figure out how to play. There will be some difficulty in the inclusion of first grade math though. Players will be required to add up numbers in increments of 250 and keep a running total up to 30,000 (depending on the class chosen). This can be mitigated some by letting the younger players stick with the Rogue who only needs 10,000 and can hover around level 2 which seems to lean more towards numbers in the even thousands. I would recommend keeping the Wizard away from younger players due to his 30,000 gold requirement and the slightly more complex spell juggling that is required to play the Wizard. If you as a parent are willing to either teach a child how to use a calculator or don’t mind sitting back and giving a youngster a running total they could easily play the game. One other caution is in the artwork. The artwork on the cards is full color and what I would expect to see in a full fledged Dungeons and Dragons RPG monster manual. Zombies look like high fantasy Zombies, Trolls look savage and feral, and Mummies look like something out of a nightmare. Each monster card has a full color image of a monster on it and it isn’t really possible to hide the imagery. It isn’t overly gory but I would rate it as mature artwork versus cartoon-ish artwork.

Overall I would say that mechanically a 5 year old could play this game with some parental assistance with the math as long as you are fine with the imagery and the artwork included with the game. Otherwise I would say 8-9+ is a great suggested minimum age for this game.

Family Friendliness Verdict: 8.25/10 – Dungeon is a great family game thanks to simple straightforward mechanics mixed with fairly quick game play and enough random luck that children feel like they have a chance versus mom and dad. As a bonus this game plays up to 8 players making it perfect for any sized family.

Game length and perfect player count opinion

Dungeon! plays in about 30 minutes on average but that can fluctuate some with a monster sized 8 player game or some terrible luck with the dice. There isn’t any player elimination per se, if a hero is killed the player loses all their treasure and simply starts over at the dungeon entrance from scratch. They might be behind the curve ball at this point but lady luck is fickle and a win isn’t out of the question at this point. I have seen an occasional game make it over the 1 hour mark but that was a 6 player game with multiple player deaths mixed in with some absolutely heinous dice luck. Our new game quote is “What are the chances I’ll roll 2 sixes after rolling snake eyes?” apparently very good… Honestly though the game is designed to play very quickly especially if anyone is playing a Rogue or Cleric. Their low gold total of only 10,000 to win keeps the Fighter and Wizard on their toes and keeps them from slumming too much. A four player game using Rogues and Clerics will definitely end in 30 minutes or less. There are included solo rules and while I have only dabbled with them they too seem to hover under 30 minutes.


* Fun game to play with kids

* Great Beer and Pretzels game

* Simple mechanics

* Price

* Good artwork

* Great “Press your luck” fun


* Very little strategy

* Luck based game play

* Dinky little cards

* Simple mechanics

But Is It Fun?

Dungeon! is a fun game with the right audience. Not to wax nostalgic here but Dungeon! and Talisman were the 2 games that really got me into board gaming as a young child (then I discovered Heroquest but that’s a different story) and the 30+ year old game play mechanics haven’t changed much since then. Dungeon! isn’t pretending to be a deep Euro game or complex strategy game, it is at its heart a press your luck game full of randomness, luck, and chutzpah. If you go in expecting to analyze statistics and probabilities your going to get frustrated when the person to your left gets a little gutsy, rolls box cars, and loots the Jade Statue to win the game. Alternately you just might have a night where the dice hate you, make fun of your ancestry, and then kick sand in your face.

What Dungeon! is, is a great game to play with your kids. Children from 7 and up can easily play this game without having to worry about outsmarting daddy. They know that everyone is at the mercy of the dice the real question is who is going to be brave enough to go for the big score! Children will cheer when they get that lucky roll against near impossible odds and score the big treasure. They will laugh even more when the parents get their teeth kicked in by lady luck repeatedly dropping treasures all over the board. It is all in GOOD FUN.

Dungeon! also makes a great Beer and Pretzels game almost like a simpler faster playing Dungeonquest which is another game that can be very fickle when it comes to the whims of lady luck. After a few beers everyone will be taunting each other for lack of guts (other words might be used though…), insults will fly as the dice fall, and players will cheer when they get the lucky box cars on the dice. Sometimes its just nice to play a game where fate can slap you around some but you know that all is not lost until someone crosses the finish line. Plus as an added bonus the game plays pretty quickly.

It’s also hard to overlook the games price. It retails for $19.99 but I have seen it online for $15.00. Sure you can complain that the components are nothing impressive but you would be foolish to do so when you are looking at a game that is less than a $20 bill. I got my moneys worth out of the game from one house party. The fact that my kids love the game is just icing on the cake. If you want a cheap way to add a little bling to the game nab the D&Deeples (bonus if you already own Lords of Waterdeep) they actually spruce up the board quite a bit!

Overall Final Game Verdict: 7.5/10 – The game isn’t perfect, its very luck driven, the heroes are not 100% balanced against each other, and the cards are pretty small but it is simple enjoyable fun especially for kids. Just realize that this is a game about being the luckiest and the bravest person at the gaming table.





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Dungeon! Video Review

Dungeon! is a fast-paced game where you and your friends can decide which way to go in the hunt for bigger and better treasure.

Will you stick to level 1 and clear out the Goblins and Kobolds? Or will you delve deep into level 6 and set your sights on the Purple Worm or the Red Dragon? Along the way, you’ll have to face off against such iconic monsters as the Black Pudding, the Drow, and even the Owlbear!

Featuring simple, straightforward rules that are easy to learn,Dungeon! is perfect for a fantasy game night, or a warm-up before your next epic game of D&D!

~ Wizards of the Coast

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Dungeon! Board Game and Ed Greenwood Presents Elminster’s Forgotten Realms Released!

Press Release:


A classic board game of dungeon exploration returns! Dungeon! is an exciting, fast-paced fantasy board game where you and your friends can decide which way to go in the hunt for bigger and better treasure. Play a Fighter, a Rogue, a Cleric or a Wizard searching for lost treasure in a dungeon filled with monsters. Along the way, you’ll have to face off against such iconic monsters as the Black Pudding, the Drow and even the Owlbear! Only your magic, your weapons and your wits can protect you!

Dungeon! plays like the classic board game with an updated look and feel and features easy-to-learn rules that make this a perfect game for the whole family (MSRP: $19.99).

Ed Greenwood Presents Elminster’s Forgotten Realms – A Dungeons & Dragons Supplement 

The Forgotten Realms is the most successful and widely known Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting ever created, and it owes its existence to creator Ed Greenwood. This 160-page hardcover book describes the campaign setting as it lives and breathes in the imagination of its creator. Through the alter ego of Elminster, Archmage of Shadowdale, Ed Greenwood presents the Realms as a setting where companies of crazed adventurers are born and have rich lives, and where they get to call the shots.

In this book, Ed presents a world where friendships are forged, endless intrigues unfold, and heroes wage war against the monstrous inhabitants of famous dungeons and untamed wildernesses (MSRP: $39.95).

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