I have been writing about quite a few games of deception and fooling other players. The Resistance is a pure social engagement game, Coup is a game that requires both social interaction and keeping track of cards, and The Mind requires players to communicate without actually communicating. Welcome to the Dungeon finds a way to integrate all of those concepts while also including a fantasy theme into the mix. Enter Welcome to the Dungeon, a game of chance, keeping track of cards, and trying to convince other players that you’re helping (or hurting) the cause.
Welcome to the Dungeon is for 2-4 players, takes approximately 30 minutes to play, and is for ages 10 and older.
Setting up Welcome to the Dungeon is done in just a few simple steps. Randomly choose an adventurer to play in the first round (Rogue, Warrior, Barbarian, Mage). It is recommended that you play the Warrior if this is your first time playing the game. Put the six equipment items for that adventurer in a line underneath them. Shuffle the Monster Deck and put it where all players can reach it. Each player gets a Player Aid with the white side face up. Put aside 5 success cards. Randomly choose who goes first and the game begins!
The object of Welcome to the Dungeon is to be the first player to successfully enter the dungeon two times OR be the last player alive. You do this by taking turns drawing cards from the Monster Deck, choosing to either add them to the dungeon or discard them, and then deciding whether to traverse the dungeon or pass on it.
Each round of the game is comprised of two phases: Bidding and Dungeon.
During the Bidding phase, you follow the same path, but the choice you make is what dictates how the dungeon is formed. When it is your turn, you can do one of two different things. The first option is to pass your turn. When you do this, you no longer get to participate in the round. You are effectively finished until after the Bidding and Dungeon phase for this round.
The other option is to draw a card from the Monster Deck. Don’t let anybody else see what you drew. After you draw from the deck, you now have two options.
Add Monster to Dungeon
Discard the Monster
If you choose to add the monster to the dungeon, simply place it face down in a designated spot on the table. This newly added card is the start of the Dungeon Pile. After you place the card in the designated pile, it is now the next person’s turn.
If you choose to discard the monster instead, you place it face down in front of you and then discard it by sacrificing one of the pieces of gear underneath the adventurer. Simply take one of the equipment pieces, place it on top of the face down monster, and then set it to the side. Once you’ve done this, it is now the next person’s turn.
Once all but one player has passed and decided to opt out of the round, the remaining person must now take the adventurer through the dungeon with all remaining equipment.
The first step to the Dungeon phase is to add up all of the HP (health points) from the equipment and adventurer card. If we use the Barbarian from the picture above and all equipment pieces are still there, he would start the dungeon with 11 HP. If the Chainmail had been discarded earlier in the Bidding phase, then he would only start with 7 HP.
Grab the Dungeon Pile. You will then go through the dungeon by flipping over each monster one at a time. If you have a piece of equipment that allows you to beat that particular monster, then discard the monster to the side and continue. However, if you don’t have a piece of equipment to defeat the monster, subtract the monster’s power from your HP and then continue.
Continuing with the Barbarian, let’s assume you turn over a Skeleton. The Skeleton only has a power of 2, and let’s assume the Torch is still there for your adventurer. The Torch says you defeat monsters with a strength of 3 or less. The Skeleton is 2, so you automatically defeat it. Next, you turn over the Lich. The Lich has a strength of 6. Unless you use the Vorpal Axe (which allows you to defeat a monster after you draw it), you have no other way to beat it. So, you subtract 6 HP from your overall HP and move to the next monster.
If you lose all of your HP, you die. If you defeat all of the monsters and/or have HP remaining at the end of the dungeon, then you succeed.
If you die, flip your Player Aid over to the red side. If your Player Aid was already on the red side, you are now out of the game. If you succeeded, take one of the Success Cards that you set aside at the beginning of the game. If you now have 2 Success Cards, you have won the game!
If nobody has won, then shuffle all of the monsters back into the deck, and the player that went through the dungeon in the last round chooses a new adventurer for the next round. The player that goes first in the new round is the player that just recently went through the dungeon.
Welcome to the Dungeon is a game of simple strategy and convincing other players that you have either padded or hurt the dungeon. You have to take chances with what you put into the dungeon and choose to leave out. It’s a constant game of cat and mouse as you try to convince other players (and make deductions yourself) as to the strength of the monsters in the dungeon in comparison to the remaining equipment for the adventurer. While the game is more based on strategy, watching and talking to the other players to figure out if they put a weak or strong monster in the dungeon and why they discarded a monster is the best part of the game. It’s simple, strategic, social, and a quick game to use as a filler when you’re tired from the three hour Catan and Lords of Waterdeep marathons.
Welcome to the Dungeon is waiting for you, adventurer!