Dungeon Roll - A Double-Take Review

Let them leave you, up in the air.
Let them brush, your rock n' roll hair!
Let the good times roll! Let the good times roll!
The the good times ro-o-oll!" *cue synth solo*

--The Cars

Today we're taking a look at Dungeon Roll (not to be confused with Dungeon Ro-o-oll, which isn't a real thing...) from Tasty Minstrel Games. Dungeon Roll is a dice rolling dungeon crawler for 1-4 players, that will have you delving deeper and deeper into the dungeon in order to gain VP and loot, while looking out for the looming threat of facing the dragon! Let's delve a little deeper, shall we?

The Components

Dice! There are 15 dice in the game that break down like this:

7 Party Dice -These are the dice you roll to see who will join you in your dungeon delve.

7 Dungeon Dice - Rolled by the player left of you, which determine the baddies you're facing in each level of the dungeon.

1 d10 Level Die - This displays what level of the dungeon you're currently in.

8 Hero Cards - One of these will be your character for the game.

36 Treasure Tokens - Various tokens that give you either abilities or extra VPs

14 Victory Point Tokens - These are... well, victory point tokens... If you have the most you win!

1 Rule Book

1 Book of Heroes - a history of the heroes and any rules clarifications for their special abilities.

1 Sweet Treasure Chest Shaped Box - This holds all the Treasure Token during the game.


The Setup

The setup is quick and fairly easy. 

Set the Victory Point tokens in a pile off to the side, stuff the box with all the Treasure tokens, and then either choose randomly or select a hero for each character. Choose a starting player (which is suggested to be the person who has most recently been underground) and give them the Companion dice, the person to their left takes the Dungeon dice and sets the level die to 1. You're ready to roll...


The Dice

Since there are custom dice and this IS a dice roller let's take a minute and discuss the dice themselves and what they do.

Dungeon Dice - The Dungeon Dice consist of the following: Three sides are monsters (Skulls, Ooze, and Goblins), one side is a Chest, one side a Potion and the final side a Dragon. The three monsters when rolled must be defeated, while the Chest and the Potion may be opened or quaffed but it is not mandatory. The Dragon heads to the Dragon's Lair, and then comes out in the Dragon phase--more on that later.

Companion Dice - Consist of three sides of "ordinary" companions (Cleric, Mage, and Fighter), one side of a Thief, one side of a Champion and one side of a scroll. The Cleric, Mage, and Fighter can each kill one monster of any type, OR all of the matching monster that they are strong against (Cleric/Skulls, Mage/Ooze, and Fighter/Goblin), while a thief can also kill any one monster or open as many chests as are in the level, and the Champion can destroy any amount of matching monsters or open any number of chests. Scrolls allow you to reroll any number of active Companion dice or Dungeon dice.

Jeremiah--The dice are quality, and the icons really pop. If you're ever confused as to which die is stronger against which dungeon die, they're conveniently color coded! I imagine they are fairly color-blind-friendly as well... But I'll let Firestone comment on that...

Firestone--As the resident color-blind person, I can attest that the colors here are just fine. It's obvious which heroes can fight which monsters. 

The Turn

At the beginning of your turn, take and roll all 7 of the Companion dice, this is your party delving into the dungeon with you. The Dungeon player--the person to your left--takes the level die, sets it to 1, and rolls a number of Dungeon dice equal to the level number you are entering. You may have an ability that allows you to reroll a number of dice--either Dungeon or Companion--but if not, then what you roll is what you get! If one of the dice is a Dragon, it's immediately placed to the side in the "Dragon's Lair".

Once your party is set and the Dungeon dice have been rolled for your current level you must then defeat the level by first facing monsters, then choosing to unlock treasure or quaff potions, and finally by facing the Dragon--if there are three Dragons in the lair. Once the level is cleared the player must decide whether or not they want to go to the next level BEFORE the Dungeon dice are rolled, no take-backs! You score a piece of treasure from the chest if you unlock a treasure, which is sweet and can sometimes score you a few extra VPs. Once you decide to end your turn and not proceed to the next level, you score VPs equal to the last level you completed this turn...

Jeremiah--This is a cool turn mechanic that keeps two players very involved, but if you're playing with 3-4 players, there will always be at least one player left out, and turns can take some time. This was both my favorite and least favorite aspect of the game, for a two-player game it's perfect each player just swaps roles, but when you're that player that is left out in a 3-4 player game you might just want to use it as a bathroom break.

Firestone--The downtime was way too much for me in the 3- and 4-player games--especially with kids...and a barely game-tolerant wife. I'll only ever play this as a 2-player (or solo). 

Each hero has an ongoing ability that they can use as well as a "Once per turn" ability, they also can level up once you hit a certain amount of VPs which gives you better abilities! 

Once each player has had three delves, you add up points and the player with the most points wins!

Jeremiah--I also got ahold of the expansions for the game that included more heroes, one of the expansions is the "Winter Heroes" pack featuring heroes like Ebenezer Scrooge, Sugar Plum Fairy, Jack Frost, and Saint Nicolas, which I LOVED playing with. Their abilities are really fun and thematic.

Firestone--I didn't get the expansion, so I have to nothing to add to that conversation. Why did I even write this?!

Jeremiah--The dice are really cool too, the icons of the hero dice are color coordinated with the monsters they are more powerful over, and there's that cool d10 that shows what level you're on. Everything is custom and the game box is also the treasure chest that you pull treasure from, it's all very aesthetically pleasing!

Firestone--The custom dice are very cool. The font choice on the d10 is a case of form over function, as the 6 and 9 are difficult to tell apart, but that's a small complaint. 

Jeremiah--Like I said before, the game can get a little bogged down with more than two-players. My youngest loves the game but can get a little bored waiting for a turn that he gets to do something. But I really love that this game is TOUGH! We've played it a TON and never once have I seen anyone make it to level 10. It makes your decisions that much more important and really makes for a tense game! 

Firestone--I wish there were more decisions in the game. It's almost always obvious what you should do at any given "decision" point. As such, this is a filler I'm only ever going to play with my kids. Having said that, the kids love this. Dice! Monsters! Fighting! They're totally into that stuff. I did try out NuMystic's variant that increases player interactions and decisions, and after one game with that, I'll likely only play using that variant. I rarely like house-ruling games, but in this case, it changed Dungeon Roll from a game I'd likely trade away to one I'll keep and play.  

Firestone's Final Verdict--This is a decent filler that the kids and I have had some fun with. The price is right. The theme is interesting. And the dice-rolling is great for young ones. Don't go in expecting anything deep, and you'll find this a fun dungeon to roll into. 

Jeremiah Final Verdict-- Dungeon Roll is a great dice roller, like most dice games it fits into the filler/start the game night off role, it's a lot of fun with 3-4 players, but it's absolutely terrific with 2! The expansions and new heroes are great, they add variety to the game without changing the way the game plays. Dungeon Roll is a must for any fan of dice rollers!

Theology of Games would like to thank Tasty Minstrel Games for providing Jeremiah with a review copy of Dungeon Roll. (Firestone bought his copy.) This in no way affected our opinion of the game.