Tag: Area Majority

Point of Order: The Last of 2020

Point of Order: The Last of 2020

So, there was one final order in 2020, as Miniature Market did an end of year sale on their sale items. Now, I will say, I didn’t only pick up sale items, but I did pick up two games that I’ve been looking at for 

The Collection A to Z: NOPe Games

The Collection A to Z: NOPe Games

What, that seems wrong, how are there no games? No, it’s just that there aren’t that many games out there. So instead I’m looking at games with the Letters N, O, and P. The Collection Numbers A’s – B’s – C’s – D’s – E and F’s – G and H’s – I, J and K’s – L’s – 

Board Game Styles: Dungeon Crawl

Board Game Styles: Dungeon Crawl

So last board game mechanic I was talking about area control or area majority and Dungeon Crawls got mentioned in that article. I said I was going to do something about that mechanic, but when it comes down to it, it’s really not a mechanic. It’s more of a style or a category of games, and I think it’d be worth talking about some of those as well, so we’re going to start taking a similar look to what I’m doing in my Board Game Mechanics series, and look as well at different styles of games.

So, what is a Dungeon Crawl?

A dungeon crawl game is generally going to be a one versus many or game versus many sort of game where the players are going through a dungeon and clearing out the monsters in that dungeon while also trying to possibly complete additional objectives depending on the scenario that is given. Generally you’ll have your character, the monsters, and anything else important on a map and you’ll use in the scenario. Generally these sorts of games are going to have a fair amount of combat. This combat can be done through card play but very often Dungeon Crawl games are going to have you rolling a bunch of dice to see if you hit or how much damage you do. That will be how you defeat traps and sometimes you’ll use different skills for things like overcoming obstacles or disarming traps as well.

Imperial Assault
Image Source: Fantasy Flight

One thing to note is that when we say Dungeon Crawl, it doesn’t have to be a dungeon per se. There are games out there where you’re going through a mine in the old west or fighting through a lab to get some secret plans. Dungeon Crawl definitely comes from fantasy and RPG roots but it’s something that’s been placed onto a lot of different settings. The term really refers to the idea that you enter the scenario at one point, you fight the monsters or bad guys, and you complete the objective.

Dungeon Crawls also generally fall into the broad category of Ameritrash games. This means that most Dungeon Crawl games are going to have some higher level of luck to them. Most often this will be in combat where you are rolling dice to see if you hit or not. For some people this can be off putting because if they roll poorly they might not be able to do anything about it. But a lot of these games also have something known as dice mitigation. This basically means that you have ways to manipulate the dice, either by rerolling them to see if you improve your result or the ability to change the face of the dice. Also, I would say, a lot of these dungeon crawl games have moved away from a simple pass or fail on an attack. Yes, an attack might not hit, but even on a miss they generally try and supply some sort of benefit.

Let’s talk about some games that fall into the style:

Gateway Games

Mice and Mystics – Now this is one that I actually haven’t played but that I’m quite familiar with, and I think provides an interesting feel and a good introductory point for a dungeon crawler. This game is not a massive game like a lot of dungeon crawlers are and the theme is really targeted towards kids and families, which is ideal for a gateway game as that means that it is going to be rules lighter. In this game you play as a band of mice who are fighting off monsters and completing a storybook of quests and missions. This works well as well because everyone is working cooperatively together against the game.That means that for younger players or people who might not be following all the rules, it’ll be easy to help them mid game, just don’t end up taking their turn for them.

Image Source: Fantasy Flight

Medium Weight

Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition – Now, I think the 1st Edition is hard to find at this point so I probably don’t need to specify, but I still like to anyways. In this game it’s a more story immersive dungeon crawl as you are going to a location to complete a specific story driven element on the game. You’re trying to solve the mysterious goings on at a mansion, or people disappearing at the seaside, or maybe even there might be some time travel. But there is something going on. This is another fully cooperative game as there is an app that directs you in what you need to do for the monsters and how the board changes as you reveal new map tiles and explore finding cultists, monsters, or clues that you need to stop the disappearances or ritual. This game has more complex rules, though most of your actions are pretty simple, but the app with the game makes it so that it walks you through a lot of stuff that could be a potential downfall. It’s a really fun game with a lot of expansions and scenarios.

Heavy Weight

Gloomhaven – Now, I was tempted to put Gloomhaven as the medium weight game on my list. I do not think that it is highly complex, but compared to Mansions of Madness and Mice and Mystics, it is more complex and just because of the volume of stuff in Gloomhaven, it is way more intimidating. This one, unlike Mansions of Madness which is one off scenarios, is a massive campaign game as well as you go through scenarios which are intertwined together to create a massive story of monsters, mystery and destruction. In this one the combat is less random because you have a modifier deck that you are using. Yes, you could still hit your null and do no damage, but you can improve the odds of doing well as you level up your character.

Image Source: Kickstarter

There are a ton more Dungeon Crawl games out there, I mentioned wild west, Shadows of Brimstone, if that theme is more interesting, there’s Reichbusters about being a crack team going in and basically fighting Nazi zombies. Or you could play through missions in Star Wars: Imperial Assault around the events of the original trilogy or play as Gimli and Legolas in an adventure in Lord of the Rings: Journeys In Middle Earth. So there are Dungeon Crawls for everyone out there and some are very complex and have massive rule books, while others are more simple.

What is your favorite dungeon crawl game? Are there any that stand out to you as being better than the rest? If you haven’t played a Dungeon Crawl game, what’s keeping you from playing one?

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