How do you make a dungeon crawl into a board game?
I can’t think of a better way than Dungeon Run.
The players start by choosing a hero, and placing it on the single dungeon entrance tile. The heroes then move to new rooms and fight monsters. Eventually, someone will find the Summoning Stone, turning the game into a race to capture the Stone and return to the dungeon entrance.
The monsters are deadly when faced solo, encouraging cooperation among heroes to fight them off. However, at the end of the game, only one player will win, turning the game’s finale into a competitive scrum.
The build-up to that tilt is my favorite aspect of Dungeon Run. You know it’s coming and must plan for it. It colors your choices even while the game pushes you towards cooperation.
Drake’s Flames’ review complains about the game’s mechanics and dependence on luck, which I had no problem with during my one play. I wonder if the reviewer wanted a different game. Luck affects your experience, but skill remains important. Dungeon Run never struck me as a tactical game, so I didn’t miss its absence.
It’s a fast, loose board game that you can finish in an hour, complete with high-quality art and plenty of variety. I had a blast.