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Subject: It's lunchtime, let's go on a dungeon crawl! rss

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Brian Frahm
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Though I am a fan of movies such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I haven't been very interested in the fantasy tabletop game genre. A few months back, Michael Coe pulled out an early prototype of Dungeon Heroes (pretty sure it had a different working title then) and asked if I'd be willing to try it. I was, and after one play I was rather confident that not only did he had a viable game on his hands, I might need to give dungeon crawlers a closer look.

Dungeon Heroes is a 2-player game in which a band of four heroes attempts to steal three of the four dungeon treasures before the dungeon's swarm of foreboding monsters does them in. Turns are made with four actions per side and two game phases (passive dungeon/active dungeon). Each side has distinct features that make them an interesting play.

The heroes, represented by die that reflect their hit points, are a powerful combination of dungeon crawlers. The warrior (d10) inflicts death wounds to any creature he faces (by landing ON the monster tile). The wizard (d4) reveals the traps, treasures and treachery that await his band. The cleric (d8) heals herself and other heroes should they fall into traps or face wounds from the monsters of the dungeon. Finally, the rogue (d6) is able to defeat traps that might slow down the quest.

The dungeon, "managed" by one of the players, is set up four square tiles at a time. Tiles are drawn from a shuffled pile (or bag), looked at by the dungeon master, and then placed face down on the board. Monsters, traps, poison clouds, tools and treasures are all part of the forty tiles that are laid out.

The dungeon master lays four tiles in any manner he/she chooses, then the heroes have four moves (no more than two per hero each turn). This play alternates, in what is considered the passive phase until all tiles have been played. During this phase, any revealed monsters are inactive - the warrior can slay them and they neither move nor retaliate.

Once all tiles have been played, the active phase begins, where revealed monsters are replaced with tokens valued at the strength denoted on the tile. These monsters can move one space per turn and can inflict damage to one ADJACENT hero. The dungeon master will try to construct a dungeon in which it is very difficult for each of the heroes to use their abilities to their fullest potential, in an attempt to protect the treasure until the monsters have destroyed the once hopeful band of heroes.

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My first four or five plays of Dungeon Heroes were against the designer, his wife, and His business partner Patrick. It has been great to see the game iterate from the first black/white prototype form to the great Bill Bricker artwork we now see on the current prototype.

This current prototype got play tested by my favorite gaming partner: my eight-year-old daughter. She has gotten in four or five plays and has made this the game of choice ever since our first play. I have been impressed by her ability to play both sides of the board - and she has beaten me as both the dungeon and the heroes.

I also took the game into work today and played it with a co-worker who has recently gotten into hobby gaming. We got one quick play in about 30 minutes. Verdict: the co-worker enjoyed the game a lot, could see the potential for strategy/replay-ability and took it home for the weekend to play with some friends.

I see this game getting many regular plays in our home on a school night due its quick play time, as well as being a great lunchtime game for our recently formed gaming group. The tension kicks in early on, when the number of unrevealed tiles start to grow. I have really enjoyed seeing games that look to be totally in favor of one side take a sudden turn towards the other. Thrilling finishes have made this an instant hit.

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Michael Coe
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It's come a long way from black and white huh!? It's always a lot of fun to see games develop. I'm recalling the fun we had standing at the various dice booths at GenCon for hours looking at different options. Hours... oh my indecision gets the best of me sometimes.

Thanks for the great review Brian!
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Brian Frahm
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mgcoe wrote:
It's come a long way from black and white huh!? It's always a lot of fun to see games develop. I'm recalling the fun we had standing at the various dice booths at GenCon for hours looking at different options. Hours... oh my indecision gets the best of me sometimes.

Thanks for the great review Brian!


I'll be excited to see the final product after all of your hard work!
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Patrick Nickell
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Thanks for the great review Brian! It's awesome that you've been there from the very beginning of Dungeon Heroes and it's been a pleasure playing it with you every step of the journey. It's an honor to have a fan like you and an even bigger honor to now be able to have you as a friend. Thank you very much for not only taking the time to play and review Dungeon Heroes but for sharing it with your friends.
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James Hutchings
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framebrain wrote:
The wizard (d4) reveals the traps, treasures and treachery that await his band. The cleric (d8) heals herself and other heroes should they fall into traps or face wounds from the monsters of the dungeon. Finally, the rogue (d6) is able to defeat traps that might slow down the quest.


The wizard's ability sounds more like something that, in D&D, would be done by elves or dwarves.
 
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Brian Frahm
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apeloverage wrote:
framebrain wrote:
The wizard (d4) reveals the traps, treasures and treachery that await his band. The cleric (d8) heals herself and other heroes should they fall into traps or face wounds from the monsters of the dungeon. Finally, the rogue (d6) is able to defeat traps that might slow down the quest.


The wizard's ability sounds more like something that, in D&D, would be done by elves or dwarves.


I tend to think of it as the wizard's staff lighting up parts of the dungeon, revealing the dangers that lurk...
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Patrick Nickell
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Brian,

That's exactly what we're going for. The Wizard may not be physically strong but his powers are great in other ways!
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