Summary: A great game with fun components. Not exactly the game you would expect…and that’s an AWESOME thing. 9/10
How I Found This Game: I was walking through the Origins Game Convention and saw one of the smaller booths. It was late in the day on Sunday and I saw a smaller booth manned by a single person. I struck up a conversation and was instantly enamored by the quality of the smaller miniatures. After looking over the small box game of Dungeon Heroes, I decided to buy based on the pitch of the salesperson. Later, while looking over the game, I saw the sales person was none other than the game designer Michael Coe. Its always great to buy a game from the person who made it. It shows the highest devotion to their product.
Mechanics: DO NOT THINK THIS GAME IS A SIMPLE DUNGEON CRAWL! The best game to compare this to is almost chess. If either player of this game players this game as just a tile laying/simple fighting game, you will lose badly. This is not a bad thing; it makes the game amazingly fun. The game has asymmetric game play, and for a game that plays in less than 15 minutes, it is amazing! The heroes have four actions per turn and they can spend those actions to move heroes or activate powers like the wizard which reveals tiles or the cleric that heals people. The rogue and warrior do immediate actions by disabling traps or killing monsters, respectively. The dungeon overlord first places four tiles each turn in the passive phase. How he places these tiles really makes the game and leads to a game of cat and mouse. What really makes this interesting is the game features a standard set of tiles and a random mix in of tiles so each game is different even if two games are played by the same people. When the dungeon overlord is out of tiles the game switches to the active phase. In the active phase, the dungeon overlord then replaces the monster tiles with little figures of the monsters. This is when it really becomes chess. All monsters only move one space a turn and only four can move. The game continues until the heroes find three treasures or until they are all dead. This is a fun mechanic and despite the complexity involved, it plays quick and doesn’t get stale despite how simple the game is or at least appears to be. Great mechanics supporting excellent game play.
Art and Theme: The theme of the game is a dungeon exploration of a group of heroes. It carries through pretty well. The art is pretty good. I like it, but some of the text is pretty small on the dungeon tiles. On the heroes, the icons do get the point across well. The true winner here is the figures. The game comes with a number of wooden cut painted figures. They are well done and look great. Recently, Gamelyn Games had a kickstarter for mass producing these figurines. It was funded, and based on this game alone, I gave them money because even if you bought the game and used the figures only, this is a value!
Packaging: This game was made by gamers who love you. You can tell this by what’s in the box. The life dials are dice. You do not use the dice as dice, but to keep track of hit points. There is no reason for the dice except to enhance the theme of a dungeon crawl with your friends. Besides this, the people who designed this game truly love you because of one reason; the game includes smaller bags for the tiles. As a gamer, when I see this in a game, it makes me think the people who made it care for me. The designers know I will need them to keep things in order and when they include it for me, it shows they are gamers who want their players to have the most fun with the smallest fuss.
Summary: This game is great, fun, and fast. I can’t underscore how much fun is packed in the smallest package. Give it a look if you see it for sale. 9/10.