Review: Dungeon Fighter – fat, slow and farsighted

Dungeon Fighter - packaging

A small bespectacled wizard rubbed his lenses. „Where is the troll?“ he said with a squeaky voice. The answer came, but not from his guide, who suddenly disappeared. Nearby there was a loud bang and the crumbling stones covered his tousled hair with dust.

Man began to frantically look through his little notebook, which hanged around his neck as a pendant. Doing so, he strangely moved it closer further, as if he was trying to read, what is actually written there.

„Ahem..,“ coughed magician. But that drew attention of troll again. Little wizard waited several seconds – only few inches away, troll roared into his face so loudly, that his eardrums fell flat upon the ground. At the same time, his face got covered with hideously fat pile of saliva, which smelled awful. Disoriented little man slumped to the ground, defeated..

Dungeon Fighter - game is ready

Believe it or not, but not all heroes are same, as we know them from fairy tales. Some are round, others do not see well. But that does not make them any less fighters and neither it does not herald their courage. They have to commit heart to their quest too. Maybe even more, than armed to their teeth muscular ones.

But this time, they chose the wrong cave. It is not full of rats, rabid dogs and jagged hares. Much bigger evil is hiding in here. Which one? We do not know, monsters are taking shifts of guarding, what’s beyond there. Dangers that was lurked in there for decades. And it should be you, who will descent to hell on the third floor with them and allow them to experience the battle, they were waiting for all their lifetime. Fight with the final boss..

All this and much more will be offered, once you open magic box of Dungeon Fighter board game. Its publisher is company, which is able to prepare always some surprises for us. After exploring the sewers in Sewer Pirats (review), handing out gifts in GiftTrap (review) and visiting royal feast in Das Letzte Bankett (review), we set off into the dark, cold and wet caves. But this time, our lives will be at risk.

Dungeon Fighter - game is ready

Dungeon Fighter is child of trio of authors , and Lorenzo Tucci Sorentino, authors of 1969 (review). You will be guided safely on the right path, that the game will not take itself seriously, with illustrations created by Giulia Ghigni. Game has also other distributor – italian .

These hints of humor are evident already from lid of the box. On the red and white target mark, there are heroes and their adversaries drawn. Skinny dude with an axe, ancient wizard with glasses or crazy crouching thief. They welcome you with open arms and urge you to open the box and see, what is hidden inside.

The most important thing for you will be game board. It has quite unusual shape of five concentric circles with a dot in the middle. This will serve as your target, when your blow or shot should hit the enemy. That would have been nothing out of the ordinary, but four bones are sticking out of the circle (yes, you read that correctly!). And the board is randomly equipped with several holes, making targeting even more demanding. The entire board is assembled of four parts and there are also numbers indicating final strength of the attack. The closer to the center you get, the more powerful your hit will be.

Dungeon Fighter - game is ready

Beside the board, box includes also other components – a total of twelve dice. Three of them are colored red, green and blue, while remaining nine is white. Players use a six black pawns, which serve to indicate number of lives of your heroes. Last red pawn indicates health of monsters, you fight.

And then there are cards of different sizes and shapes. Larger ones will show heroes portraits. They are standing in front of a gate with an arch over their heads. Dots on the archway indicate number of lives and in the lower left corner contains special abilities. There is nine of these cards and tenth belongs to actual monster from the moment, you meet it. This is place, where its health will be tracked.

More importantly, however, there are cards with brown background. They represent various caves, your heroes can visit. There are two double-sided cards of floors. You always use only two of these four images, and they alone provides some variability. To finish your quest, you also need four cards of final boss levels. Of these, only one will be waiting at the end of the dungeon and creates final, third floor. There is a monster waiting for you in the last room of this level.

Dungeon Fighter - game in progress

Bunch of punched chips is dominated by chest card in size, but you also gain tokens for special skills and especially semi-circular counters of scars. Your heroes must earn their status of celebrated fighters. For every injury you get during combat, your number of lives will drop and its loss will also worsen your ability. Some of them are overlapped with scar pieces.

Finally, we got to most important thing or two in component types and both of them are closely related. We refer in particular to pile of more than a hundred cards. They are equally divided in half among monsters, that will stand in your way, and items, that will help you in your adventures. But there are also four cards of final bosses. Only you (and luck) will determine, which one of them will wait for you in the final room.

This deck of cards would normally just lay on the table next to the board and wait, until you accidentally reveal monsters during play. But this time its really different. In support of the theme, you’ll find a pieces of cardboard tower, which must be assembled using few simple steps in the manual. Complete tower will easily fit back inside box, without any disassembling. It has five floors and roof and will be used to store card decks and tokens of gold, which will be dropped by monsters and we forgot to mention them during components description. Yet, here they are..

Dungeon Fighter - game in progress

Now this tower will guide you through the game. Cards of monsters are divided into four colors according to their back and therefore also difficulty. You can choose toughness of match according to your own demands. Rules recommend you exactly three setup levels, but its only up to you, how will you mix the cards. Easier game gets you less points in the end, but you will get them only in case of successfully completing the game.

According to the chosen difficulty, you randomly draw monster cards of specific colors and scatter them in different floors of the tower. Just like with dungeons, also with tower you must proceed from top to bottom. This means, that at the very top floor under the roof are green easy cards, then come tougher yellow ones, blue and nera the end, deep inside the dungeon, you encounter red monsters. The lowest compartment is used for storage shuffled cards of equipment and therefore is also bigger in dimensions, since it will hold the largest pile of cards. All the way up to the roof is put a pile of gold and with this step, tower is ready to began spewing opponents at you.

You obviously put a game board in the middle of the table and all remaining tokens near it. On the chest card indicating common equipment of heroes, they are carrying with themselves into the dungeon, you place one white cube of extra attack and two gold tokens. These are your starting funds.

Dungeon Fighter - game in progress

Players can choose a hero for themselves. They take his card and black pieces to mark immediately maximum number of lives of hero’s board. Everyone is entering the cave in joy and good health. However, it will change soon, you’ll see. You know, its beginner optimism. And these are true freshmen, you can tell from the pictures.

Most important in preparation itself, is to build environment, where you will be headed. It consists of randomly rotated cards dungeons, they are then finished with one random card with the boss. At the end of the descent, in the very last room, you will have to defeat him and this is where you put his card, hidden for now. All floor cards are put next to each other, so that they logically follow each other and their corridors tie together. Starting point will now get a token indicating your party’s location.

We actually did not even mention, that Dungeon Fighter is a game, in which you will compete together against the game. You will be friends and buddies in the cave, so you must also act accordingly. Survival depends on the decisions of each individual, but also on strength of the whole group. If Dungeon Fighter puts real emphasis on something, then it’s your dexterity..

Dungeon Fighter - game in progress

And how is this game actually played? Players around the table do not alternate in moves. Their common goal is to survive journey to the center of the labyrinth. As an inexperienced adventurers, you have not some easy taks and game also forces you to have a good dose of luck.

You must first vote for group commander, who is selected by joint decision (possibly voting) at the beginning. He has final word in what should group as a whole do and which path are they going to try. The crowd of heroes is represented by small hexagonal tile with eye symbol, travelling trough cards of dungeon floors.

Party may move always only in the direction, like arrows show you. Always forward, never back. In each floor, you can choose one of two (or even three) paths. Each goes through some room towards finish and ladder downstairs. Sometimes is one way faster, but it may be harder given environment, you have to fight monsters in. It is only up to decision of the group, which course would you take. Your move ends immediately, when you arrive into another room or descent into lower floors of caves.

Dungeon Fighter - cards

Believe it or not, but there are stores with weapons and equipment underground too. No one has so far failed to find out, who purchases from these shops beside some lost heroes . This mystery will probably remain unsolved, because most shopkeepers are silent, and even if they can talk, they are really antisocial and talking with them is a risk you do not want to take. Just point at that weapon, pay for it and go away.

Besides these, you also come across fountains or treasures in some rooms. But there is something, you must count with. Each room is occupied by one monster, more or less terrible. And you have to work together to defeat it. Heroes scatter and immediately begins second phase of the round – fight. Here course of the game already follows player’s order around table, but first you must examine, what monster is actually standing in your way.

This means, that you reveal top card in the tower in first non-empty compartment. Then you gradually work your way down from basic, simple enemies, over those with more teeth to the really dangerous ones. It can be easily recognized by floor, which you take the card from. As the decks are emptied, we get lower and lower.

Dungeon Fighter - game in progress

And when you enter, uninvited, a cosy apartment of some creature, it is understandable, that it becomes enraged. Who would stay calm, when someone walked with his dirty boots on just swept floor? And so he decides to show you, what’s what and get you to clobber. Any such creature card bears name and type of monster. In heart picture, there is a number indicating lives monster has. You must mark this value on health bar (board with numbers from zero to twenty) and lay number of gold coins on its card. Monster’s treasure corresponds to last number in the circle on monster card.

The last number, between health and coins, shows damage points. You will suffer that much wound, when monster hits you. The basic desire of heroes is, that this would never happen. But unfortunately every time your hero misses, he gets just as much damage in return.

But how do you hit a monster? You’ll fight. But unlike real heroes with swords and crossbows, you need only dice. With their help, you try to hit a target. That means, that dice stopps at the circle as closest to the middle as possible. But there are holes in it to hinder you.

Dungeon Fighter - cards

It seems pretty simple so far, but what if we tell you, that before dice hits the target board, it must bounce once off the table? Did I hear a nervous swallow back there in the audience? Do not worry, that’s not all. The harder monster you meet, the more difficult throws you must do to hurt it. Although sometimes you can make monster start laughing, when its looking at you, trying to accomplish the show, but this unfortunately does not count as damage. Instead, you roll dice standing with back towards board, throw it under your leg or even from a jump!

So I think now we disillusioned everyone. But only utnil you begin to really play the game. At that moment, you will probably not stop laughing until its over, which will likely be cause by your death. Reaching the final boss needs a real workout. Only then can you say, that your group of heroes succeeded and properly celebrate victory. But that’s not part of the game..

Dungeon Fighter is an incredibly entertaining action party game, that shoots of heroic epics as we know them in books or in movies. Everything goes with ease and humor well and it really works. Absolutely brilliant idea of rolling the dice at a target simply can not be the source of much laughter, than it already is in here.

Dungeon Fighter - cards

Yet the game itself is no feather to learn. Although we explained the basics, the rules are in fact a little more complicated, that that. Players decide about successfully hitting monster with roll of the die and after defeating collect a reward in the form of finance. You then purchase better equipment for them, in accidentally discovered underground shops.

But such a victory is not produced itself. Throwing the dice is really hard and require great skill and luck. Each hit deducted lives of a monster, but a bad blow hurts you. And as it happens, as your wounds grow, your abilities decrease.

Players enter each battle with at least three dice, plus any bonus white, that can be bought. But to defeat each monster, you have only two rounds (two blows per player). After that, whole party was humiliated and driven out of the dungeon. In other words – you lose!

Dungeon Fighter - cards

Each of the heroes has special abilities, that can be used, when you roll correct icon on dice, when fighting monster. It often helps you, but there is a basic assumption – roll shall be successful. During the game, your heroes can even advance to the next level and improve their fighting skills!

At the end of the game, you will know, how successful you were, thanks to easily calculated quest points. This number is based on difficulty, number of players, but also on gathered (and unspent) gold coins. You count everything, and look in rules with resulting number falling in some range. This tells you, how well you have done. It is not enough just to win, though, believe us, it will be initially the only thing, you can and will long for.

But back to the rules. Dungeon Fighter must be learned and this is not so easy, particularly because of its party focus. Yet, because it is a cooperative game, it usually takes only one player, who knows the rules and others will then follow his lead as he tells them, what to do.

Dungeon Fighter - cards

A separate chapter is the difficulty of the game, when victory is concerned. You need luck. And not just in dice rolls, but also with drawn monsters, items in the store and everything. There will be no deal without at least a little bit of luck. But chance here is cornerstone for total success. Each match is completely different, due to the large number of monsters, and a unique rolls of dice.

Game time is in no way dizzying. Within an hour, you leave with folded arms defeated or cheering and chanting, glorifying the victory over the final boss. Everything runs beautifully and the entire group is constantly involved in the game, because they must do joint decisions.

But although Dungeon Fighter is a party game, you can play it in two players. And it’s still fun. While you lose effect of issuing a large party of heroes on an adventure here, it is still an interesting game. Just note, that the fewer players there are, the more difficult game bcomes, as would be such a design in real life.

Dungeon Fighter - cards

Processing is perfect and lightweight. Just a game board itself is amazing – a round target with bones crawling on four sides. And then there are cute monster drawings and great tower, serving as a cards reservoir. Just everything as it should be and maybe even one step better.

Dungeon Fighter is an amazing entertainment for those, who like to laugh. Its simply an amazing fun, quick for all kinds of players. Game is not language-dependent, which is really important. If you love adventure and want to experience some really special and unusual one, then you are obliged to reach for this game.

DesignerAureliano Buonfino, Lorenzo Silva, Lorenzo Tucci Sorrentino
ArtistGiulia Ghigini
PublisherCranio Creations, Edge Entertainment, Fantasy Flight Games, Galápagos Jogos, Heidelberger Spieleverlag, Horrible Guild, IELLO, Kaissa Chess & Games, Lucrum Games, More Fun Co., Ltd., One Moment Games
Year Published
# of Players1 - 6
User Suggested # of Players Best with 6 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 players
(77 voters)
Playing Time60
Mfg Suggested Ages14 and up
User Suggested Ages8 and up
(33 voters)
Language DependenceNo necessary in-game text
(32 voters)
CategoryAction / Dexterity, Exploration, Fantasy, Fighting, Humor
MechanicCard Drafting, Cooperative Game, Dice Rolling, Drafting, Modular Board, Point to Point Movement, Turn Order: Progressive, Variable Player Powers, Variable Set-up
ExpansionDungeon Fighter: Black Sheep, Dungeon Fighter: Bonus Cards, Dungeon Fighter: Elder Dragon, Dungeon Fighter: Fire at Will, Dungeon Fighter: Jean Solo Promo Card, Dungeon Fighter: King Cobra Bonus Card, Dungeon Fighter: Marielle, the Mermaid, Dungeon Fighter: Rock and Roll, Dungeon Fighter: Ser Geek Bonus Card, Dungeon Fighter: Sir Dummy / The Hooded Hero, Dungeon Fighter: Stinkerjell, Dungeon Fighter: Stormy Winds, Dungeon Fighter: The Big Wave
FamilyComponents: 3-Dimensional (3D), Game: Dungeon Fighter, Players: Games with Solitaire Rules
Primary NameDungeon Fighter
Alternate NamesWojownicy Podziemi, 地城勇士

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: Dungeon Fighter – fat, slow and farsighted
Final word
Dungeon Fighter is a party game, which makes each game a real experience with an additional attack on your funny-bone. A unique battle mechanic is to blame. It provides means to defeat one monster after another. Players quest is to infiltrate the cave and reach to its very bottom on the third floor, where a sweet reward is waiting. But they have to still kill main boss waiting there. All fights are decided with dice, but its not so important, what you roll on them. Its the place, where they land, which counts the most. As true fighters, you aim at target with these dice, trying to hit monster and lower its life points. Dice must rebound once on table, before it lands on the board. You are throwing dice with different difficulty and tricks, which are here to complicate things. They makes watching others as they play the game a true spectacle. There is an enormous amount of monsters, you will encounter during your task, they hurt you and block your character skills. Difficulty of the whole game is really high and getting near the finish line is really a teaser. The more players there is in your group, the easier all this is. Luckily game includes method to adjust difficulty, so it suits your needs. Just watch carefully for a little more difficult rules, than is habit in party game. Dungeon Fighter is making fun of genre, which he alone represents, but is really not joke at all. On the contrary, its an outstanding party game, which should not be missing in any playing group, because it will hit the table really often..
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
amazingly fun party game
thoughtful battle structure
variability of monsters, floors and items
makes fun of all hero games
excellent processing, including supply tower
fun in all number of players
you must practice to succeed
Cons
more difficult rules for party game
unbalanced difficulty with more players
4
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