Kickstarter Tabletop Alert: ‘5-Minute Dungeon’

New next week on Kickstarter from Wiggles 3D Games – Connor Reid’s 5-Minute Dungeon!

Preliminary Box Art for 5-Minute Dungeon by Wiggles 3D. Used with permission.
Preliminary Box Art for 5-Minute Dungeon by Wiggles 3D. Used with permission.

Grab your weapon and follow me. We’re going on a dungeon delve. The catch: we only get 5 minutes. 5-Minute Dungeon pits player heroes against an array of flunkies and obstacles as they race to the final boss.

The Bad Guys
There are five bosses that players must face in order: Baby Barbarian, The Grime Reaper, Zola the Gorgon, A Freakin’ Dragon!!!, and The Dungeon Master. Each successive boss adds more door cards to the dungeon, as well as requiring more of the basic cards to defeat.

Boss Card Art. Used with permission.
Boss Card Art. Used with permission.

Each of the door cards contains a person like the “7 Unhelpful Dwarfs,” a monster like “Sir Fuzzylumps,” or an obstacle like the “Collapsed Ceiling.” Ten Challenge Cards feature mini-bosses like “The Rat King” and events like a “Sudden Illness.”

Monster Card art from 5-Minute Dungeon. Used with permission.
Monster Card art from 5-Minute Dungeon. Used with permission.

The Good Guys
Players choose from five double-sided player mats, with each side representing a different archetype: the caster, the ranger, the rogue, the paladin, and the warrior. Each player class has special abilities that trigger once the player discards three cards. Some abilities allow characters to defeat one of the villain types, and other powers allow players to draw cards from either their draw pile or discard pile.

Green Hero Mat (two-sided) and card back art. Used with permission.
Green Hero Mat (two-sided) and card back art. Used with permission.

The wizard can pause the timer while players determine the best next step and the sorceress can clear any obstacle. The paladin allows players to defeat a monster and the valkyrie makes every other player draw two cards. The ranger has the ability to defeat a person enemy and the huntress can choose another player to draw 4 cards. The gladiator can defeat a person and the barbarian can defeat a monster. Finally, the ninja can defeat an obstacle and the thief can draw 5 cards. A good mix of player powers among the players makes the game more manageable.

The App
There’s a free iOS and Android timer app that augments gameplay with an awesome dungeon soundtrack and narration by a disembodied dungeon master. The app has a giant pause and resume button and a choice between two voices for the dungeon master, and while it looks and sounds very polished, it’s still in beta. There is at least one Kickstarter stretch goal for more app enhancements.

Box art and App screenshots. Used with permission.
Box art and App screenshots. Used with permission.

Gameplay
From 2 to 5 players take on the role of one of 10 character cards, selecting the color-matched deck which contains basic resource cards, as well as unique action cards like fireball and backstab. Players choose the next boss in the stack, assemble the door deck based on the number of cards printed on the boss card, and draw their starting hand of three cards. The dungeon deck is made up of several of the three different villain types – person, obstacle or monster. Special challenge cards – mini-bosses and event cards – round out the dungeon and require more of the basic resource cards or make players discard cards.

Sample player cards. Used with permission.
Sample player action cards. Used with permission.

Someone starts the 5-minute timer (there’s an app for that!), flips over the first door card, and play begins. The gameplay is simultaneous, so players must communicate about which cards they can contribute to defeating the door card. Any player cards played to defeat a door card are discarded (along with the door card), and players reveal the next door card. If the players defeat all the cards in the Dungeon and the Boss before the timer runs out, they win and proceed to the next Boss in the stack. If the timer runs out before defeating any of the five bosses, players must restart at the first boss – the Baby Barbarian – and try again.

The Verdict
Had I not known ahead of time that this was a Kickstarter prototype, I would never have guessed that it wasn’t a finished product. If the production quality is any indication, the final product will be amazing! The art on the cards and mats is great and really makes the game.

While the double sided hero mats limit the player powers simultaneously available, it’s the only negative I’ve seen so far, and it definitely isn’t a deal breaker.

The game is easy to teach and relatively quick to get to the table, and gameplay is challenging and fun. Even after (narrowly) making it through all five bosses, I’m ready to play again whenever the opportunity arises.

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If you’re at all a fan of dungeon crawls, co-op card games, or having fun, check out 5-Minute Dungeon on Kickstarter, going live on November 1st and learn more at the 5-Minute Dungeon website.

New to Kickstarter? Check out our crowdfunding primer here

Gerry Tolbert, otherwise known as Ella, Lydia and Phoebe's Dad, started his geeky pursuits very early in life. While much of his time is consumed by introducing his daughters to Star Wars, table top games, video games, and gadgets, he spends his free time caring for people as a family doctor.