Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The New New Dungeon!

I picked up a copy of the Dungeon! boardgame that Wizards just released and played with a few friends. It was great to get a new copy, because I threw away my copy of New Dungeon! during my last move, since it was missing too many pieces(foolish in retrospect, the board would have been worth keeping if nothing else!)

I'm enjoying the new release a lot and I feel like it captures the original pretty well. I'm particularly glad that there's no optional player ambush rules, because those used to just lead to hurt feelings more than anything else. My only problem is the new Wizard mechanic for relearning spells. It's a lot more friendly than the original 1975 game's "Wizards start with 10 spells, and when they're done, that's that." In the new game, wizards start with 1d6 + 6 spells and they can relearn one per entire turn spent at the starting staircase. That means you have to get to the staircase on one turn, then take an entire turn of "spell memorization."

This might not seem harsh in comparison to the original game, but as someone who grew up with New Dungeon! where you start with 6 spells and you regain all 6 the moment you reach the staircase, it seems a bit rough. Our first game ran long and it still seemed like the wizard was having difficulty against me playing the rogue (the new name for elf, actually a halfling on the card) and another friend playing the fighter. We both hit our required treasure totals around the same time and the fighter made it back to the stairs first. In the next game I played, we used the New Dungeon! rules for the wizard, and another footrace back to the stairs saw me as the victor over the wizard(a narrow victory!)

In either case, I prefer games to be fun, so I figure we'll just tell people playing wizards about both versions and see which one they want. It'd be interesting to see a game where two wizards use different styles. More up-front spells or faster memorization make for very different playstyles, and in any case, I'm delighted to see this game on shelves once more. I might even have to make some new cards on my computer to add to the game if it becomes as popular as I hope amongst my friends.

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