Stone Tablet Games has developed a tile-based dungeon crawl adventure game that places you in a race against other players to find the treasure and escape before anyone else does. Sounds simple? Along the way, players encounter obstacles, monsters, and rival adventurers in an attempt to be the victor.
Dungeon Escape Deluxe comes with 70 room tiles to form ever-varying possibilties for dungeon adventures. The game also comes with 6 scenario cards to offer a variety of different situations in which you will find yourself as you enter the dungeon. The game also comes with a deck of item cards: potions, enchantments, weapons, supplies, and treasures. There are 6 player pawns, all of them in different colors and shapes, 18 monster and event tokens, some tunnel tokens and 2 dice, a red one for the attacker, a blue one for the defender.
To set up the game, turn all of the tiles face down, shuffle and sort into their appropriate types. In the picture above, there are tile types E shown. Separate the item cards into stacks of their respective types and shuffle each stack. Next choose a scenario, read it, and layout the dungeon tiles according to the scenario card. Determine the first player by drawing treasure cards. After determining the start player, shuffle the treasure cards back into the deck.
At the start of each player’s turn, check for events if the scenario calls to use the event deck. Each player gets two actions on their turn. An action can consist of revealing a connected room tile or moving into a connected room.
To reveal a tile, players can flip a tile that can be accessed from a corridor in the tile they are in:
Once a tile is flipped it can be rotated and placed down in any configuration as long as the corridors match up. Any items or monsters in the rooms will then be marked my their respective cards and or tokens.
Players can use an action to move into the connected room of the dungeon. Once in the room, the player can pick up any items as long as they can reach them, meaning they are in the same hallway. A player can hold up to five items. Items are kept face down, and some items have a cost to them, but the cost only counts when the item cards is revealed to use. Players may drop items in rooms if they choose.
If there are monsters in the room. combat happens first. Players roll the dice, using the red dice for the monster. Add any dice modifiers and compare results. Who ever had the higher total wins. If the monster is defeated, the monster token is removed and players can then pick up items. If the player loses, they drop an item of their choosing and flee back into the room from which they came. One note, monsters can attack through walls.
Players can also choose to attack one another for the purpose of stealing items and treasures from them. In the case of player vs. player combat the winner may steal an item from the losing player’s inventory. Then they must choose either to sprint, by taking a free move, or scare the loser, forcing the loser to take a free move.
There are tunnels that can be dug in the dungeon too to connect rooms. They can be built by a few different means, and once build all players have access to the tunnel.
Play continues until the goal of the scenario is reached.
Looking at Dungeon Escape, to me this is a basic dungeon crawling adventure, exploring a dungeon, fighting monsters, overcoming obstacles, and collecting items and treasures. The added twist comes in a race to be the first player to escape with the treasure, and that means you may have to steal it from another player.
I do like the tiles that are used in the game and the artwork on the tiles lend to the feel of being in a dungeon or cavern. I like the fact that the tiles are somewhat randomized to vary the gameplay experience. And I like there are 6 different scenarios to play out Dungeon Escape.
I don’t care for the choice in components used in this game, as they just don’t seem to look good on the board. The player pawns are all different types of pieces rather than a uniform type of pawn. The monster tokens would look better as 8 or 10 mm wooden cubes over plastic chips. There are very small cards used in this game, to try to fit them on the tiles and even with the small size, they don’t readily fit onto the tiles.
The game play rules are straight-forward and easy to understand. My one question is……..WHY can monsters attack through walls? I didn’t write the rules for this game, but I think that rule is not a good one. The game play experience does offer some tension due to the hidden dungeon, so you never know what you will encounter. Sometimes, you may come across an obstacle that you cannot pass so you need to turn around and go find another way. I do like this in the game, it gives it a maze-like feel. And since this game is not only a dungeon crawl, but also a race, you certainly don’t want to lose a lot of time. The game does offer a lot of replayability with 6 different scenarios and a variable modular board.
To me, with Dungeon Escape, I feel lukewarm over it. There is nothing here that really excites me. Although the game has fun elements and I don’t dislike it, it feels like every other dungeon crawl type game that I have played, with nothing really new that stands out. I can appreciate the effort of the designer in trying to create a fun dungeon-crawl game, but to me I have played better games that are out there. I do see Dungeon Escape, with it’s level of complexity and fun, appealing to younger players who would probably enjoy this type of game. I also see this game suitable for families to play together, especially since the game can accommodate up to 6 players.
If you are interested in checking out Dungeon Escape Deluxe for yourself, you can click this link: https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/dungeon-escape-deluxe
Note: Stone Tablet Games provided a copy of Dungeon Escape Deluxe for the purpose of this review.