|As long as there are handrails. Safety first.|
And I honestly don't know why. Possibly because I had an aversion to eBay for many years. Possibly because I had originally balked at a $65 price tag on what was originally designed as a beer and pretzels death-fest for the FFG version. I really have no idea.
But late one night, amidst one of my regular insomnia bouts and through a haze of exhaustion I found myself on Amazon and, without any provocation I can remember, had typed "DungeonQuest" into the search bar. What came up was an entry for the FFG version at under $40 and with free shipping. Apparently it had been decreed, after such a long time pondering its merits, that I would own this game.
|"OPEN THINE WALLET!"|
Not being one to deny divine providence, I ordered it and 4 days later it was in my possession. I have owned this game for 4 and a half days and I have played it about 20 times now. I simply cannot get enough of this beautiful game.
|Look at it. Look, and weep at its beauty.|
Now, I don't call it beautiful because FFG has lavished it with great artwork and top-quality components. I really want to pick up a copy of the Games Workshop version from the mid-80s at some point as well, with all of its gritty, simplistic glory. I admire it so because the game is an elegant portrayal of a classic dungeon deathtrap. At its core, it has no airs. Your goal is to grab as much gold as your greedy hands can carry while dodging traps and fighting monsters, then legging it as quickly as possible out of the dungeon before you are trapped forever at sundown.
|This is what the origin of woe looks like.|
Gameplay is quick and simple: draw a dungeon tile, move there and draw a card and it tells you what you encounter. Some rooms are empty, but most have some horrible effect. It is actually rare that you win a game. Between the sun going down (fast) and ending the game, and all of the nastiness that goes on, there is maybe a 10% survival rate. I have only won 2 games so far and of those, one was due to sheer cowardice (I left after only a few rooms with a tiny bag of gold without ever reaching the dragon's lair). However, it is the times that I died, and their awful manner, that I have loved the most.
Since I have acquired the game I have:
- Been cut in two by a swinging blade trap in the very first room
- Fell down a bottomless pit
- Crushed by a golem
- Murdered by poisonous gas
- Eaten by rats in the catacombs
- Trapped at sundown countless times
Every minute was glorious. There are so many ways to die and so little chance of surviving, that you spend the entire game wondering how it will happen.
|Dead end with no chance of escape? Boring...|
The best thing about the game, for me, is the ability to play solo. It doesn't lose a whole lot (except player and monster powers) and has the same range of possible death and dismemberment. I have played all of my games solo at this point and can't wait to share it with others, but I would be happy playing by myself forever.
A lot people complain about FFG's take on combat and I can sort of see their point. It uses a deck of combat cards and is way more complicated than the rest of the game. Seeing as the original had a sort of rock-paper-scissors, chart-based system, the playing of whole hands of cards with counter-attacks and powers seems needlessly slow and confusing. An otherwise fast paced game grinds to a halt when combat occurs.
Personally, I like the card system. I find it more tense and a little deeper than matching card types to a chart or rolling a couple dice. You have to decide if you will pay the highest number card you can or a slightly less powerful attack with a chance to counter. Do you play a huge swing card or try to nab extra damage with a deathblow? It all depends on the risk you wanna take. And for those that like the original system, FFG has included those too in the rulebook, along with several other variant rules to make things more interesting (or for cowards) less deadly.
|This should be you at the end of the game, nancy-boy.|