Another fellow asked me to review Dungeon Crawl.
I posted this last year on Boardgamegeek.
This review below has been updated from the BGG version
In my quest to find the perfect dungeon crawler... I have UNCOVERED a gem. I made a self calculating character sheet for it which I can share via Google spreadsheets, because its one of my compulsions.
Dungeon crawl written by Alex Bermudez of Smackwell Games.
This game is a squad based dungeon crawl. It can be played cooperatively with a round robin dungeon lord (GM or what have you). Or, it can be played with a dedicated dungeon lord. Each squad member/character is defined at game start by the players. You can play it as either a strategy game or as a roleplaying game.
Like Fantasy trip and Gurps characters have four stats. Beef(Str). Zip(Dex). Smarts(Int). Health(HP).
You have a choice of 4 races: Human, Dwarf, Halfling, Elf, and 5 classes: Warrior, Barbarian, Rogue, Cleric, Sorcerer.
To create your hero you pick your race and then your class and combine the stats from both. Here's a human Barbarian
BEEF (str): 1 + 1 = 2
ZIP: 1 + 1 = 2
SMARTS: 5 - 1 = 4
HEALTH: 5 + 3 = 8
Life points are your starting health/hit points.
Adrenaline is beef plus zip plus 3. You use adrenaline to modify your attack dice or defense dice or movement or revive from death. There is a really neat chart of adrenaline maneuvers. Should your hit points get knocked down to zero or below, you need at least 3 adrenaline points to 'revive from death'. Or, you could take a life potion which also brings you back from death.
Attack dice is Beef + weapons damage. Roll # of attack dice. Count successes (4 thru 6). Damage is what gets thru your opponents Defense dice successes. Defense dice are calculated by Zip + armor. The defender also counts his successes.
At every even level you also get to choose a skill from your race or your class. The skills are well thought out and you don't have to take them in any order.
At every level I think you get a new spell to use for sorcerers and clerics.
On top of the Races and Classes, your character can join an adventurers guild which have deed or money requirements. It adds a lot of flavor to the game. You could get a magic weapon or item to help you in your quests.
Your sword and armor equipment pieces have a level requirements. At level one you can only take a small number of weapons. Artifacts are found during the scenarios and random dungeons and they are kept when found from scenario to scenario. I cant remember if they are unique. I will have to look that up again.
There is Character / Squad advancement. Each character goes up a level every 50 exp points.
Finessing the players.
Whats doing here? Playing a character is roaring fun. His Adrenaline figured stat allows him to modify his attacks, defenses and spells. You can spend as much or as little as you want on any action. When the adrenaline is gone its just gone. Its nice that the mage can used the adrenaline to beef up his spell attacks. Adrenaline comes back at the beginning of the scenario. It helps alot because the dungeon lord finesses as well.
Finessing the dungeon lord.
Whats doing here? The dungeon lord sets up a scenario or random dungeon. He can play characters with the rest of the group. There are rule setup for that. At the beginning of a dungeon scenario he draws the Anger Cards, marks down 3 anger points. Anger issues i guess. At the beginning of a combat around the Dungeon Lord always draws another anger point. These points are spent similar to the way adrenaline points are except they activate the anger cards. You can also spawn other critters and a variety of other heart aches for the characters. Yahoo. :)
You know I might say that this game has a lot of potential, but that phrase is often loaded with weird intent. The game is GREAT and it is CLEARLY complete. It is BEYOND the potential phase. Currently it is sold by the Author and artist himself through his website. So what do you get for fifteen measly bucks?
The main book is 148 pages. it covers Character Creation, Combat rules and options for the players and monsters. It comes with optional rules. A campaign section and a role play section.
The main book is not all rules. The actual rule section for dungeon crawl is 5 pages. That isnt to slim and it isnt too complicated. This guy doesn't wastes space and he writes well enough to keep some one like me interested. Since the question as been asked out side of the review, let me qualify the contents:
Page 1-50: Rules. It includes character and squad generation. You can get away with just printing the cfirst 25 pages of rules.
Pages 51-57: Campaign rules
Pages 58-64: Amory rules
Pages 65-83: Beastiary critters
Pages 84-94 Random Rules. Playing an entire game with out a dungeon lord
Pages 95-107: Deathblow arena. Coliseum type battles. This includes skirmish battles.
Pages 110-132: Artifacts
Pages 133-148: Roleplay Rules (optional)
You also get a 35 scenario Campaign book which is just phenomenal.
In addition you will receive a separate full color campaign book with 35 adventures in it. You also get a 90+ page game component book with about 160 print and play cards, Dungeon components (tables chests tokens standups) and a professionally developed tile set. I mounted mine using chipboard and laser labels. There are close to thirty 8 by 8 inch tiles. The work that went into the tiles is quite impressive. Finally there is another file containing play aids. I went to the authors forum boards and found a Tileset expansion for the tileset app. I dont have that program. Ill have to get back to you on that.
If you like darkcity.com games modules for TFT and Legends of the ancients, you could easily adapt those products to DarkCity's solo quests/group quests.
The game has a lot of heart, and smarts. It's obvious that this is a true labor of love, and I feel that it has to be lifted out of the shadows so that its can sparkle in all its humorous glory.
Content: 5 out of 5. No kidding. There is nothing missing. This game rivals the pros (Descent and warhammer quest). I hope he kickstarts.
Art: 5 out of 5. Professional quality components. Nuff said. (Aside: print the cards in black and white. You wont miss anything, and you will save costly color toner)
Quality: 5 out of 5. Very professional. Be prepared to print a lot of cards.
Gamplay: This is a very well thought out game. I ran through the solo and I cant see any problems.
Over all: I hope to be running this for a group soon.
I cant say enough good things here. I probably need to edit this review. I didn't look it over yet.
Ill do that later, Cheers.
Many thanks for that - an excellent review and on the strength of it I'll certainly be looking at this game
When men meet foes in fight, better is stout heart than sharp sword.
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