Fun Dungeon Crawling and Building With 'Guild of Dungeoneering'

Geek Culture Reviews Videogames

Guild-MainGambrinous 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.

Guild-IntroThe 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.

Guild-GuildYour 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.

Guild-StartingCharacterAfter 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.

Guild-StartingMapClicking 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.

Guild-DungeonBuildingOnce 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.

Guild-BattleWhile 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.

Guild-ChooseLootWhen 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.

Guild-CharacterThere 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!

Guild-UpgradeOnce 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.

Guild-UpgradeChoiceFor 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.

Guild-DungeonCompleteUsing my Apprentice, Monet, I headed back into the first dungeon. I defeated the Rat King with my Firestorm and completed the second and final quest of the first adventure.

Guild-TrophyAfter 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.

Guild-NewMapThree 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.

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4 thoughts on “Fun Dungeon Crawling and Building With 'Guild of Dungeoneering'

  1. from what I’ve seen of the game, the atmosphere is very good. but any “review” only talks about the first hour of the game. can you give a little more insight into whether the end of the game is more challenging. one card per turn battle seems like something that will rapidly get old.

    1. I recently picked it up on Steam. The first few hours are quite fun, but it grows repetitive in short order without introducing new mechanics. You also can’t replay old dungeons, so you can’t change course mid-stream from developing your Fighters to Mages instead unless you don’t mind grinding and dying over and over again for hours in the new dungeon for a scant few pieces of gold. Once you’re in the late game, you should have enough money to afford everything, but the lack of choice is significant in the mid-game.

      1. I would expect the same (late in the game, you should be making enough to afford everything). Maybe they are anticipating the expansions and don’t expect you to be able to unlock everything in just the base game? I think maybe the idea is you can have multiple guilds with a specific focus or a broader focus, in which case you won’t get the most powerful stuff.

    2. I’m still on the second dungeon so I wish I could give more but I’m not there yet!

      I will say that the different dungeons have different goals (kill X monsters, kill the boss, get X treasure chests) and that they do get harder. I’ve actually just died three times trying to complete the last quest on the second dungeon! You have to move quickly enough and gain enough XP and loot before the boss catches you–something I’ve not yet been able to do 🙂 If there is enough interest, I may do a follow-up post when I’ve gotten further in the game.

      One more thing on the combat as well. The longest battle I’ve had has only been a couple minutes even with one card at a time. As the game progresses, you get better cards that do more things and/or damage. For example, I beat one battle with just two cards in my current dungeon because I’ve upgraded my gear. The same battle the first dungeon with my starting character took me 7 or 8 rounds!

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