Theme and What is it?
For some reason, you are one of those people that likes to hang out in dank, dark places. Fortunately, you found the perfect occupation that lets you spend all of your time in places like that. You are a dungeon raider. You spend your days and nights crawling through ancient tunnels, seeking treasures, and fighting grotesque creatures. Sure, the money is OK but the real reward is spending time in the dank darkness. Yeah, maybe the thrill of not knowing what’s around the next corner is fun too. Your latest discovery has been found by other dungeon raiders. After checking the area out, you feel lucky to have had a few other raiders discover this place at the same time; this is going to be rough, and there was no way you would have made it out alive. You will have to work together to clear this putrid palace; however, each of you know that when it comes to treasures, its every raider for them self. You may have to work together, but you don’t have to like it or share the wealth.
Dungeon Raiders is a dungeon crawling card game where players work together to clear five levels. But the cooperative nature of the raid is only skin deep. None of the raiders want a piece of the treasure pie. They each want the whole thing.
Dungeon Raiders is a strategy card game based on a dungeon crawling experience. Players have to work together to make it through the dungeon but there can only be one winner. I will discuss this aspect of the game later in the review. The cards are split into a few different decks. There are level cards and room cards that build the dungeon. The level cards show you how to set up each dungeon by providing players with information on which room cards should be laid face up and face down. The room cards have treasure rooms, monster rooms, trap rooms and treasure rooms. Once a level is complete, a new level card is drawn and the process is repeated. After players have randomly selected their character, they enter the first level of the dungeon. Da, Da, DAAAAAAAA! Each player has a hand of power cards. These are cards numbered 1-5. They can also have item cards which can be used in specific situations in the dungeon. Players each play a card from their hand in each room. In treasure rooms, the player or players who played the highest card, scores the loot. In monster rooms, if the players did not play high enough cards to kill the monster, then the player(s) who played the lowest value takes damage. The player with the most damage points at the end of the game is eliminated from the game and cannot win even if they have the most treasure. And I just gave away the ending, so…the non-eliminated player with the most treasure wins.
Dungeon Raiders has a fun dynamic. Players work together to make it through the dungeon, but everyone is secretly (or openly) trying to stab each other in the back. Only one player can win. I played my first few games with my kids. They picked it right up. It is light enough that explaining everything only took a couple minutes and we were right into the game. My daughter really loved to mess with people and then talk her brother out of playing something that would affect her. Overall the experience was great. We enjoyed our time together and both games were very close. Dungeon Raiders plays very fast so we were able to sneak both games in before bedtime. It can play up to five which can make it a great game for game nights because of the easy and the “gotcha” opportunities.
Game Build Quality
I wish the cards were just a bit thicker. They were not a poor quality at all. You will use all the cards a lot, specifically the power deck. There is a super easy way to make sure that everything lasts a good long time. Sleeve the cards. There is extra space inside the box and everything should fit just fine once sleeved. I may be over sensitive because my boy crushes everything he touches.
Dungeon Raiders has a really great overall theme. The art leans towards the cartoonish side, but not in a way that takes anything away from the dungeon crawling experience. The art is one of my favorite things about the game. It is cohesive and well thought out. The color scheme also captures the feel of theme. There is much to explore in the artwork and I imagine that you will enjoy it as much as I have.
There are elements of Dungeon Raiders that make it an easy, go to game. Simple rules and relatively quick setup. Marvelous art that lets you be involved in the experience. And a small foot print. This is a game that can travel well or go with you for a night out. It is a 3-5 player game, so this won’t work on date nights unless you can attract a few other people to your table. Which is bound to happen if you look like you are having fun. The game can feel a bit redundant because of the limited options of cards you can play. That can be overlooked because of the opportunities to mess with other players. If the game is played correctly and with the right people, it should have excellent replay value based on the amount of fun everyone can have.
Age Range & Weight
8+ is the recommendation for Dungeon Raiders. I have played it with my six-year-old son. The biggest problem at that age was not taking advantage of cards that would be a hinderance to other players. He wouldn’t play cards if it would be bad for someone else. I explained that it is part of the game to do that, but he didn’t want to be mean. To no one’s surprise but his, he ends up being the loser in every game he plays. Unless the kid is cut-throat they might get frustrated with this game. I would say that 8+ is a safe evaluation and having older players will make the game more intense for everyone involved.
Dungeon Raiders is a great game to add to your collection if you like games that can be quick and easy. The chances to take a shot at fellow players are plentiful and make the game exciting. It is not always mean stuff like you see in Munchkin, it is more along the lines of making sure you have the upper hand in certain situations. If you are turned off to Munchkin, I would still try Dungeon Raiders. I don’t think it is as “mean” and plays much faster. We have been enjoying it enough that it was time to sleeve everything up to make sure it lasts a good long time. Give Dungeon Raiders a shot and see what you think. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!