I missed my big chance to play Dungeon Heroes at Gen Con with Crash Games' Patrick Nickell and Michael Coe. They had two copies of the two player game, which pits good vs evil, in a quick-to-learn, yet deeply strategic dungeon crawl. Before I knew it, the night was over and I didn't get a chance to play.
But even just watching this game was a blast. Players choose to be the good side (a group of 4 classic heroes represented as polyhedral dice, trekking their way through a traditional dungeon) or the evil side (a secret, sneaky puppeteer controlling the layout and placement of upside down item, trap, and enemy tiles throughout the dungeon). Seeing the actions of an evil dungeon lord pan out is very exciting, but not as exciting as when the good player can overcome the calculated plans of his opponent.
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Playing the game is a blast as well. As the good/hero side, you must take very careful and calculated moves in every step. You have 4 very different heroes with unique special abilities. The wizard is amazing. He flips over tiles to see what is on the other side. And at the same time, he is a very weak 4 sided die. (the number on the die face represents his health). To round out the rest of the heroes, there is a Cleric (heals heroes) a Warrior (fights monsters) and a Rogue (disarms traps). Each has a different movement style as well, some have orthogonal movement and others can move diagonal.
On the evil side, there are two phases, Passive and Aggressive. The first half of the game, the evil player will place the various tiles face down in the dungeon, strategically deciding where to place the gold (which will give the heroes a win, if found) and where to place traps and monsters. After the tiles have all been placed, the Aggressive Phase begins and the monsters can start to move throughout the dungeon. If you thought it was tough for the good side in the beginning, it gets much, much harder in the end.
The game plays very different on both sides, and it's very hard not to switch sides and play again as soon as a game ends. There is this addictive quality to the game, and it's one that I can see playing on a regular basis with a variety of gamers. I played a few sessions with my wife, and she also wanted to jump right into it after the game ended.
Crash Games has been calling this your "lunch break dungeon crawl" and at first I thought it was a pretty niche tagline, but after playing, it feels pretty accurate. The game is small and compact, and plays in about 30 minutes. You could set it up and get a game in with time to spare.
This was the Kickstarter preview prototype, so the components weren't finalized, but it don't pull away from the experience at all. I'm looking forward to the final components, and from what we've seen so far from Crash Games and from Dungeon Heroes, they are shooting for a high quality product. Take a look at the character illustrations, they are really nice.
I'm very excited to see this hit Kickstarter next week, and wish the best of luck to Crash Games. Their first release Rise is up for the Board Game Geek Award for Best Strategy game, and I can see this one following right in its footsteps.
Keep an eye on Kickstarter and http://www.crashgamesaz.com.