Gambrinous recently released Guild of Dungeoneering, a PC and Mac game that combines dungeon crawling, dungeon building, and roguelike elements in a fun, light-hearted way with a unique, hand-drawn look and feel.
The game begins with you heading out to start your own guild because the “jerks” over at The Ivory League of Explorers won’t let you into their stupid guild. Right off the bat, players are treated to the delightful hand drawn art over graph paper style that permeates the game. The music and song that accompany major milestones and upgrades really add to the feel of a lighthearted and fun gaming experience. Merlin from The Sword and the Stone combined with some Monty Python and the Holy Grail immediately came to mind when listening.
Your new guild has very humble beginnings–a single main hall. You receive a card, the Barracks, to start you off, which you can connect to your main hall however you’d like. You build up your guild by placing rooms you unlock as the game progresses. Each room type has a cool, unique look and feel, and you can layout your guild anyway you want, though how you lay it out has no impact on game play.
After building your initial Barracks, you receive the lowliest dungeoneer–a Chump. What else would you call someone you convinced to join a penniless guild and go adventuring? You can also change the auto-generated names of recruited dungeoneers if you’d like.
Clicking on Explore brings up the world map. At the beginning of the game there is only one location to go to that has two quests to complete. It’s funny that the guild hall is an elaborate castle on the world map since we know that it is nothing of the sort. This drawing seems to be a reflecting of your aspirations, not reality.
Once inside a dungeon, it’s up to you to build the dungeon using cards to either entice or deter your dungeoneer to complete the quest. The dungeoneer has a mind of her own, but will typically go towards loot. Each round you draw five cards. There are three types of cards–Tiles, Monsters, and Loot. You can play up to three cards each turn, but do not have to play any. Any unused cards are discarded. After playing your cards, your dungeoneer will then move and resolve any combat with monsters she may encounter. I built a passage way and then put some Loot and a Monster in the room.
While I could have just placed the loot, having your dungeoneer fight monsters will gain her experience and extra glory (glory is the in-game currency). Once in battle, you draw three cards from your Battle Deck. Most cards are either offensive or defensive, though some do both, and there are some special cards. They will get more complex and powerful as you progress through the game.
When your dungeoneer collects loot, you are given three options to choose from. Each option will fill one of your equipment slots and put new, hopefully upgraded, cards into your Battle Deck. If you already have an item in a slot, choosing a new item of the same type will replace your current item–you can only have one of each type at a time.
There are four loot slots on your character sheet–Head, Body, Weapon, and Offhand. The Skills at the bottom of your character sheet show you which additional cards you have in your Battle Deck on top of the base deck thanks to your loot. Another nice touch is that when your character sheet is closed, your character image actually reflects the items you have. While that’s usually expected in an RPG game, I was pleasantly surprised to see it on the sketchy drawing of my character. Also remember that this is a roguelike game. Level and Equipment are reset after completing each quest and there is permadeath. Don’t get too attached!
Once you’ve completed quests and earned glory, you can upgrade your guild. There are three main categories of upgrade–Might, Magic, and Loot. Might and Magic both have options to build new rooms or get special blessings. New rooms give new, more powerful character types. At the start of an adventure you can choose one unlocked special blessing to bestow upon your dungeoneer. Loot upgrades unlock more equipment for your dungeon building deck.
For my first upgrade I went with the Library which granted me the Apprentice (the lowest-level magic user) dungeoneer, Monet. Each time a character type is recruited, when a room is first built or after each permadeath, the name and look is randomly generated.
After beating the first adventure and its boss, I unlocked the Trophy Room and received a trophy. Each boss will add a trophy to the trophy room. Apparently, I kept the Rat King’s tail as a trophy. Hopefully they aren’t all as gruesome.
Three more dungeons were unlocked on my world map after beating the Rat King. I’m not yet sure where I’ll go next, but I can’t wait to keep playing. I know I’ll have a blast with whatever choice I make. Although I’m going to be the one playing this game in our home, Guild of Dungeoneering is definitely friendly for a wide range of ages. You absolutely need to go and get this game and start playing right now.
If you still aren’t convinced check out the official gameplay trailer.
Note: I received a review copy of the game but all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.