Tabletop Game: ‘Dungeon Roll’

Image: Tasty Minstrel Games
Image: Tasty Minstrel Games

Dungeon Roll is an opposed-press-your-luck strategy game published by Tasty Minstrel Games. Players form an adventure party to delve into the dungeon. Each round gets more difficult, and if they bust, they are forced to fight the dragon.

When I set Dungeon Roll up for the first time, I was a bit lost. With 87 pieces, not including rule books, Dungeon Roll will take some sorting out the first time or two. The premise was simple enough to start. Like many dice games, there are few core components. Roll the dice, put aside the red dice (dragon faces), and resolve your actions. Each turn consists of several levels of the dungeon. After all players have had three turns, players add up their experience gained.

Each of the turns starts at level 1, and levels get harder each time the player delves deeper. The Dungeon Lord (the player to the left of the current player) rolls the Dungeon dice to provide the challenges for each level. Players use their party members and treasures to kill monsters, open treasure chests, and drink potions. If players get three Dragon faces, they must face the dragon! If the player is unable to defeat the dragon, they must flee, losing all earned experience from that turn.

Image: Rory Bristol
Party dice (top) and Dungeon dice (bottom). Image: Rory Bristol

There are 15 total dice. Seven Party dice, seven Dungeon dice, and a spin-down D10. Here’s the rundown:

Party Dice

  • Fighter – The Fighter defeats one Skeleton, one Ooze, or any number of Goblins. May open one chest.
  • Cleric – The Cleric defeats one Goblin, one Ooze, or any number of Skeletons. May open one chest.
  • Mage – The Mage defeats one Goblin, one Skeleton, or any number of Oozes. May open one chest.
  • Thief – The Thief defeats one Goblin, one Skeleton, or one Ooze. May open any number of chests.
  • Champion – The Champion may be used to defeat any number of Oozes, Skeletons, or Goblins. May open any number of chests.
  • Scroll – A Scroll is used to re-roll any number of Dungeon and Party Dice.

Dungeon Dice

  • Goblins – Must be defeated to move to the next level.
  • Skeletons – Must be defeated to move to the next level.
  • Oozes – Must be defeated to move to the next level.
  • Potions – Drink a Potion to return a die from the Graveyard. You choose the face.
  • Treasure – Open a treasure chest to draw a treasure from the collection. If no treasures are available, players receive an experience point instead.
  • Dragon – Dragons are set aside. Rolling a third Dragon begins the dragon combat phase.
Image: Rory Bristol
Spindown D10. Image: Rory Bristol

Spindown D10 – tracks your level while you are delving.

The dice are color-coordinated. Fighters and Goblins are both green, for example. This makes it easier to keep track of abilities while you delve. Once a party member is used, they expire from the delve, and enter the Graveyard. If your party shrinks too much, beware: If you can’t face all of the monsters, your turn is over, and you get no experience.

Image: Rory Bristol
Two sides of one Hero card. Image: Rory Bristol

The eight Hero cards let you affect the game regardless of the dice currently in play, but only once per delve. After you get five experience, your Hero levels up, and your powers get a bonus. Heroes include Paladins, Necromancers, Dragon Slayers, and Mages. There are sixteen class abilities, including the leveled up Heroes.

Image: Rory Bristol
Treasures and experience counters (right two). Image: Rory Bristol

The 10 available treasures can provide critical bonuses. Six of them can be used instead of Party dice, the Town Portal and Ring of Invisibility let you escape any monsters while still earning experience, and the Dragon Bait lets you challenge the dragon immediately. The dragon scales provide bonuses at the end of the game.

Extra materials needed: I suggest a score-keeping method other than the experience tokens. The tokens have different values on the two faces, making it hard to accurately track earned XP.

The box is a bit awkward, because it’s shaped like a treasure chest. Difficult to stack, and comes open easily. This means that it can take up an inconvenient amount of space. The tokens can be roughed up a bit, and are awkward to dig out of the package.

The manufacturer suggests 8+, but kids need to be prepared to lose it all at a moment’s notice. There are no higher math skills, but there are many components to keep track of. The dice are easy to clean, but the cards and tokens are not mess-friendly.

The manufacturer suggests 1-4 players, but we’ve found that playing alone or with one other person is most fun. With two players, a game can be as short as 15 minutes, but four player games can easily last an hour, due to a limited number of treasures, and the time involved with coordinating. During any turn, only two people are participating, so other players may get bored waiting their turn.

Dungeon Roll costs $19.99 on Amazon. I would suggest waiting for it to be on sale. I feel like I get about $15 of value from the game, so it’s decidedly a good investment when on sale.

Disclaimer: Tasty Minstrel Games provided a unit for review purposes.

Rory is a newly appointed stepparent to two awesome geeklings. He also writes for mental health awareness at Terminally Intelligent.