A lightweight tile-laying dungeon crawler, that’s plenty of fun and comes with bags of playability.
During the lockdown, many of my games have unfortunately started gathering dust. With physical game nights out of the window, multiplayer games (which makes up pretty much 90% of my collection), just weren’t viable anymore. I needed some new titles in my life, something that still captured the excitement of a good dungeon crawler, but for one player – and Bag of Dungeon does just that.
In a time when board games are getting bigger both in size and price tag, Bag of Dungeon is a refreshing alternative to those games that come in boxes so big it takes two to carry.
This small yet mighty dungeon crawler uses a simple tile-laying system, allowing players (or player) to create a unique dungeon every time they play. The aim of the game is to traverse the hidden depths of the dungeon, while battling monsters in a bid to find the Ring of Creation and defeat the Red Dragon who guards the exit. Players take on the role of one of four fantasy characters; Elf, Fighter, Healer and Dwarf. Now, I did find the character choices a bit odd as it seems to mix class and race, however functionally, they work well.
If you’re playing with friends, you can do so co-operatively (to begin with), joining forces to defeat the monsters that could be hiding behind every tile. Once the Ring of Creation is found however, all bets are off, as players are encouraged to backstab each other in order to make it out safely of the dungeon. The first one out, with the ring in hand, claims victory.
The mechanics of the game are simple and quick to pick up. Each character has their own pool of Action Points, which are used for moving, laying dungeon tiles, fighting and using some items. As you explore the dungeon, you’ll discover a range of equipment that will help you on your journey, as well as monsters you’ll need to defeat.
Combat is dealt with through dice rolls and modifiers. Each character has its own set of dice and combat is resolved with a simple ‘who rolls highest wins’. The difference between the two rolls is how much damage is done to the losing roller. The fight continues until either the player or monster’s health is depleted. If you fail to defeat a monster, knock a life off your character sheet and return to the start tile. If this happens two more times, the game is over and you’re forever trapped in the dark depths. There are a few other surprises along the way, but I’m not going to spoil those.
Bag of a Dungeon has a familiar rouge-like feel, making it instantly replayable. On a first playthrough, we had some bad luck with the tile draws, as we hit monster after monster, before finding any items that could boost our stats. Unfortunately, we didn’t survive our first run-through but immediately set the game up for a second attempt, determined to make it through.
I’ve described the game as simple a few times, but that is in no way a bad thing. Having a rulebook you can read from cover to cover in under ten minutes is incredibly refreshing. But just because the rules are simple, doesn’t mean the game is an easy ride, which once again adds to its repeat playability.
Bag of Dungeon is a great lightweight dungeon crawler, which is as much fun for a single player as it is a group. If you’re planning a gaming night, it’s a fantastic warm up for the evening. It’s quick to pick up and literally bags of fun. I can easily see this being a staple game at many tables.
Bag of Dungeon has been published by Gunpowder Studio and designed by Tim Sharville and Russ Law. You can pick your own copy up from www.gunpowderstudios.co.uk