Saturday, November 19, 2011

Game Spotlight - Dungeon Run


Dungeon Run is Plaid Hat Games second outing with a big box game. They entered the game market with 2 small starter packs for Summoner Wars and when the game exploded, they were ready with lots of well play-tested expansions and then this summer, the Master Set, a big expansion in a big box with room for everything you already had for Summoner Wars. 

Now they have published a greatly expanded version of Mr. Bistro's print-and-play game, Dungeon Run. Why are you running, you ask? Because your friends are trying to kill you.

Here's why... Your party enters a dungeon for the ultimate prize in all of Itharia - a Summoning Stone.

Yes, Dungeon Run is part of the Summoner Wars Universe. Here you will battle Goblins, Ghouls, Ghosts and scads of things that don't begin with G, like Mummies, Skeletons, Fire Drakes, and Mole Ogres. The character that exits the dungeon with the Summoning Stone wins.

The credits of this game reinforce the fun factor. Designer: Mr. Bistro (fun name). Producer: Colby Dauch (Summoner Wars designer). Editor: Chris Dupuis (Heroscape fans will remember Sir Dupuis. He also worked on a little thing called Risk: Legacy...

The art is by Summoner Wars artists John Ariosa and Sergi Marcet and the figures were sculpted by Chad Hoverter.

Where the P-n-P version was a solitaire game, Mr. Bistro expanded the published version into a competitive / cooperative hybrid that is a whole lot of fun. There is a ton of options available which should keep the game fresh through many plays.

As an example, you can play with 1 to 6 players. There are 35 different encounter cards, 8 base characters (each with 10 different ability cards available), 26 treasures and artifacts, 4 bosses (the big baddies in the Dungeon), and 26 dungeon tiles.

The players can charge in and attack the dungeon together, or they can attack each other. Usually it will be some of each. Some of the baddies are tough enough it is worth it to help each other to kill it, especially the big game ending creatures, the Bosses. They are tough, but you don't want to weaken yourself too much fighting the Boss, because after the Boss is dead you will be fighting the other players.

Of course you could try to kill the other players first, but that may make it a whole lot tougher on yourself.

As the game goes on you will defeat monsters and disarm traps. You can trade the cards you earn to level up and make yourself more powerful. You do this by trading 2 of the creature and trap cards you have earned and drawing 2 ability cards - but you can only keep one. The other is discarded out of the game.

When more than one character is in a particular dungeon space each player can chose to assist, sabotage, or do nothing when the other character is in combat.

Dungeon Run is one of those games that creates stories that you will remember long after the play is over. There is yelling, cussing, and laughing. If you haven't figured it out yet, I think it is a great game.
Adding to the quality of the game are the terrific components, starting with the shiniest box I have ever seen. The cards are durable linen finished, the tiles and counters thick, the figures are great, and the art and graphic design sell the theme. There are 20 dice included as well. I happened to get a review copy from Plaid Hat Games, but you can pick it up at your local store or internet retailer. Miniature Market has it for $33. You get a lot of fun for that cheap a price.

Did I mention the figures are great? Yep I did and I'll do it again. The figures are great and Plaid Hat Games should be proud of the quality of this game. I am not alone in loving this game. 

Drakkenstrike said, "Dungeon Run was really one of my favorite games to be showcased at the 2011 Origins game fair… When having sat down at both events (Origins and Gen Con) to play demonstrations of the game with my wife, we agree that this was the best light dungeon crawler out there…"

Tom Vasel recently ranked Dungeon Run as the 48th best game of all time and said, "I love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love this game. I really, really do. The components, the miniatures are great, the variety is huge… The characters are very different, the combat system is neat, and the backstabbing element is huge…

There you go. If you like fun, this is it. Fun.

The game can be played by 1-6 players, but I would recommend 4 as the sweet spot. The solo play is ok, but it is much more fun with other people to mess with.

You can buy Dungeon Run Here.



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