Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dungeon! - Fantasy Boardgame: an old-school vet vs a 5 y.o. newb

The time had come to introduce my boy to the wonderful world of Dungeon! the boardgame. He had been eyeing the box and he's been progressing nicely through many of my other old D&D related games and toys, so why not Dungeon!... the uhm ... fantasy boardgame.

So after taking a little time to review the rules (hey! it's been a long frakkin' time since I saddled up to this one), and taking a long walk down memory lane with the artwork on the board, the cards, and in the rules, I did my best to explain these rules to a boy who anxiously looked ready to solo The Temple of Elemental Evil itself:

Don't ask about the yellow duck hand-puppet...I guess it's part of some bizarre dice-rolling ritual.

One quick shot of some pure Erol Otus coolness in the pages of those rules:

We chose to play the Basic version of the game for now. Once he gets the hang of it, he'll no doubt wish to play one of the additional classes in the Expert version. Heck, he was thumbing through the Spell cards (expert version, Wizard class) while I was wasting our precious playing time reading rules. My fellow old-school gamers would have my head for that diversion. Rules-shmules! Oh the humanity!

Anyway, going the basic route, I let him pick his class. He liked the sound of being "better at killing crap" much more than he did being an "improved secret door finder." Silly boy.

So he took the Hero (blue pawn), and I chose the Elf (green pawn) and we were off to the Main Staircase/Start. Oh he also said that he'd take the blue one, because blue is his favorite color. In reality, red and brown (but mostly red) are his favorite colors. But I willingly suspended my disbelief. After all, we were playing Dungeon!... the "Fantasy" Boardgame, right?

Actually about half way through the game, I thought we needed a prop upgrade. So I snagged the two Reaper minis I've been using a lot lately in some 4e sessions (one of them for my current 5th level Cleric of Kord, and the other for my current 8th level Ranger). These two fig actually made perfect sense for use in place of the blue Hero pawn and the green Elf pawn. Bam! Cool game just got cooler.

At any rate, we took turns taking the lead, piling up our gp total with sweet treasure, while beating the smack out of the baddies. He luckily looted a "Secret Door" card, so he basically instantly became my Elf...just better. Bah!

Fate certainly didn't help me out either vs some Green Slime, as captured here with a pair of 1's:

I must say once he started to pile up the treasure, and we both were about to the midpoint of the 10,000 gp required to win, he developed a pretty brash strategy of dropping his buffing loot (+1 sword, secret door card, etc), in favor of keeping the highest gp worth loot. He took some major risks in doing so, and several times felt the pain of the monsters' attacks. However, we both passed 10k gold and beat-feet back to the beginning - with the 10k gold, whomever got back first would win.

Well, he had a clear shot back, all except for a secret door blocking his way. Without his cool "Secret Door" card, which fell victim to his boldness, he sat there for quite some time failing his rolls, and thus not being able to progress.

I on the other hand was a master secret door finder but I had to get past a few baddies on my way back to start. This was mainly due to being "slid" to a different level as part of a trap that tripped in one of the rooms. It turns out my Elf wasn't very skilled at taking on either of these two dorks, the Evil Wizard and the Black Pudding:

See that tiny little dash "-" there after the word Elf on those cards? Yeah that means I can't kill them. WTF?!?!?!?

I had no other way I could go to make it back to the beginning, so it was just a matter of time before my son put the final smackdown on me. And that he most surely and most triumphantly did, taking all of the glory and all of the loot!:

Guess who's lined up to beat sorry ol' Daddy next? You guessed it...


Chad Thorson said...

I remember this game, but never played it. It sounds like a great way to introduce kids to FRP.

James Maliszewski said...

Dungeon! is one of my favorite boardgames of all time. Simply awesome and it saddens me that it's no longer in print.

Narmer said...

Oh, how I loved this game in days of yore...

I wish I still had it. I don't even know what became of it.

Unknown said...

I recently got my daughter hooked on this game although thru the years i have lost all the little RIPS. She always seems to win (really lucky on the dice rolls). Too bad this isn't still printed :( it was like a gateway Drug to actual AD&D. Oh the hours used up while playing that beast. Thank god I dont play warcraft!!! I actually get to sleep at night

yoyorobbo said...


Very cool. Great to hear about others' youngsters beating them at this stuff too...ha!

I *almost* introduced me son to Heroquest this weekend. I know he would've freaked just seeing the box. Maybe next time.

Oh and if you're actually sleeping at night, then something's very wrong. ;>]

jonathan said...

Hey, do you have more Jeff Dee artwork? big fan of his artwork, one of my favorite parts of playing AD+D. I have begun scanning in, but of course all i have left from the old days are the manuals...

Soccer Dad said...

This was one of my favorite games growing up and a nice complement to AD&D.

I am looking to get one now for my 7 year old.
Your blog was perfect - thanks for posting!

mary said...


Plastic said...

You could take a picture and upload here instructions to this game? or send to
I really need it.. please help.

Bosk of Port Kar said...

Dungeon!, the original, was one of the coolest board games ever. Seeing the "R.I.P." markers pile up on the board was pure joy.

Until someone sneezed. Whoops! ;)