Dungeonquest


Games Workshop, 1987, 1-4 players, ages 12 and up. Another Games Workshop game that I really like. It's simple dungeon crawling, pulled off well. Each player starts in a corner square of an empty grid which will soon become the dungeon. Each turn starts with a player blindly drawing a dungeon square and deciding where to place it in relation to their character (you build your path through the dungeon as you go). Dungeon squares can contain rooms, corridors, traps, etc. If a room tile, you draw a room card which may be a monster you have to fight, or a treasure you found, or a trap, or some other bit of entertainment. Built yourself into a dead end? Well, you can search for secret doors or backtrack and try building your dungeon route in another direction. The game has a limited number of turns, at the end of which any players still in the dungeon are killed. At the center of the dungeon is the dragon's lair where you try to sneak fabulous treasures away from a sleeping dragon. There is very little player interaction (in fact, the stock rules don't really allow for any player interaction). Basically it's beat the clock to see who can escape the dungeon with the most treasure and their lives intact. Each player plays a different "character", basically differentiated by different stats for health, strength, agility and armor. Combat is handled through a simple rock-paper-scissors system that is surprisingly fun (yelling out MIGHTY BLOW with great gusto quickly has become our favorite part of the game). It's totally beer and pretzles, but great fun. The game pieces are typical Games Workshop- lots of flimsy paper punch cards and relatively sturdy cardboard tiles (nice graphics). Overall a very entertaining game, and highly recommended.

In the Games Workshop tradition, there are a couple of expansions sets for Dungeonquest. One is worthwhile, one is not. Dungeonquest Catacombs adds new cards, dungeon tiles, magical items, monsters and other bits of fun to the game. We especially like the Amulets (your opponent knows what it does, you don't). Heroes for Dungeonquest adds a dozen or so new characters with new special abilities to the game (as well as nifty pewter playing pieces). This expansion is ridiculous. The special abilities are way too complicated and specialized. Having special abilities keyed off a single type of dungeon tile or monster you encounter or trap you set off or whatever is just too hard to keep track of (hell, one of the character's rules take several pages of the rule book to cover). The figures are fun, but they should have kept the special abilities simple and easy to remember (in keeping with the general flavor of the game).

As is the case with other Games Workshop games, Dungeonquest lends itself very well to rules tweaking. Here's some in-house rules that we currently employ:

- Any player may exchange any 1 item at any time to move the time counter 1 space in either direction.

- Players may encounter each other in combat. The winner may take 1 life or 1 item.

- You need a minimum of 1 item to be eligible to win.

- You need to have visited the dragon squares to be eligible to win.

- You may trade 1 item at any time for 1 life point.

- Potions heal D12 life points.

- The Ring of Healing heals you to full health.



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