Dungeon Command is a two-player skirmish game that uses Dungeons and Dragons minis. Each player builds their army (or uses a faction pack) and attempts to reduce their opponent's morale to zero. To start the game, each player takes a leader - which gives them a certain number of character cards and order cards in their hand; as well as a starting leadership value, morale, and a special ability. Using your starting character cards, you will play forces - with a total value up to your leader's leadership value. Now, you are ready to play. Each turn, you can activate each of your units once. This includes moving and attacking, playing an order, or activating an ability. You can also play any number of "minor" orders on a minion each turn. When attacking, damage is simply dealt to the targeted creature - there is no die rolling to determine success (and, if you destroy them, then their controller loses morale). However, the defending character has the option of playing orders from his hand, or he can "cower." If he chooses to cower, then he loses morale equal to the amount of damage that the minion would have taken (divided by ten - for example, 20 damage loses two morale). Once you are done activating all of your characters, your leadership value goes up by one and you have the option of playing more forces - again, up to your (new) leadership value. Play continues until either only one player has troops on the board, or until one player has run out of morale. The last leader standing is the winner!
My first pro for Dungeon Command has absolutely nothing to do with Dungeon Command. When Wizards made this game, they decided to make all of the characters valid to use in their Dungeons and Dragons adventure games (like Legend of Drizzt and Castle Ravenloft). That is absolutely amazing! Plus, my biggest complaint with the D&D adventure games was that it felt like you were playing the same game each time - there were only so many monsters, and you encountered them repeatedly. Buying all of the different adventures helped a little bit, but not terribly much. However, now with Dungeon Command, you have the ability to play those games with a lot of different monsters! I applaud Wizards of the Coast for doing this - I think that it is a brilliant business model, and it also is something that is great for their customers. I am also hoping that they decide to make all of the enemies in Drizzt and the other adventure games playable in Dungeon Command, but I haven't heard anything about that yet.
|A formidable army|
Speaking of cowering, I think that it is another positive element to Dungeon Command. I don't know that I've ever played a game where you can just flat-out ignore damage. Granted, it hurts you considerably to do this, but it is still an option. If I have a gigantic dragon that is about to unleash a massive attack on my opponent, but he gets attacked for just enough to kill him, I can choose to just take the damage as morale hits and then proceed with my attack. Now, it is very important to choose wisely about when you want to do this, as you can end up losing far more morale by keeping a unit alive than by letting him die (and so, often isn't worth it with one of your wimpy little guys). But, if that character is going to be dealing the deathblow to one of your opponent's better minions on the next turn, it might even be worth it to allow him to cower (after all, it's more fitting for little twerps to cower than for your Umber Hulk, but sometimes even the big guys have to live to fight another day).
|The minis are definitely pretty|
Overall, I give Dungeon Command an 8.5/10. If you enjoy the Dungeons and Dragons adventure games (and own them), then you should buy this game! If you are just looking for a two-player skirmish game, then this is definitely one to consider; essentially, you just have to decide how much you're willing to pay for your skirmish game.
If you want a second opinion, check out Play Board Games' Dungeon Command Review. Or, if you want to read about games similar to Dungeon Command, then you should definitely check out Summoner Wars, Legend of Drizzt, and BattleLore.
I would like to thank Wizards of the Coast for providing me with a review copy of Dungeon Command.