Dungeon Heroes Review

Dungeon Heroes, from Gamelyn Games and designer Michael Coe,  is a 1-2 player tile-laying and bluffing game that sets a team of heroes (a Mage, Warrior, Rogue, and Cleric) against a wily dungeon keeper and the monsters that lay in wait.

Gameplay is pretty simple. The Dungeon Lord gets to draw 4 tiles, and places them face down on the board. These tiles are things like monsters, traps, shifting floors, portals, and loot for the heroes.

After the Dungeon Lord has taken her turn, the Hero player gets four actions to move and act with his heroes. Each hero also has a special ability. The Wizard can move one space either orthogonally or diagonally, and can also spend an action to reveal a tile.

The Warrior can only move orthogonally, but is very good at fighting - any monster tile he lands on is instantly eliminated.

The Rogue can move both orthogonally and diagonally and can disarm traps on the dungeon floor.

The Cleric can move orthogonally and can spend an action to heal an adjacent ally.

Once all of the dungeon tiles have been placed on the board, the Dungeon Lord's turns become a bit more active. At this point, the Dungeon Lord can do the following for one action each:

  • Reveal a dungeon tile (if the tile was a monster, replace the tile with a monster figure)
  • Move a monster figure 
  • Attack a hero with a monster figure

After all the tiles are revealed and there are no more monster figures on the board, the winner is determined.

"hmm...this tile is surrounded by traps...could it be loot??"

If the Hero player has a clear path to reach the remaining treasure tiles needed to win (3 out of 4) with at least 1 hero surviving, the Hero player wins. Otherwise, the Dungeon Lord wins.

"ack! Poison gas!! Well, it's been nice knowing you heroes!!"

Dungeon Heroes is a light, fairly abstract game - though with some nice art and character abilities to give a sense of theme, with just the right amount of bluffing and luck. Set up is a breeze, as is teaching and learning the game. I personally found the Dungeon Lord's side to be a little more fun to play. I really like the bluffing and planning of the dungeon much more than the (sometimes) guesswork the Hero player has to deal with. As the Hero player, the challenge of trying to outguess the Dungeon Lord's feints was very fun as well, but as the Dungeon Lord, I had to deal with the randomness of the tile draw, as well as the interesting decisions that came up when I had drawn not monster or traps, but loot that would benefit the Heroes. Do I keep it far away from them, or bluff and put it right in front of one of them, hoping they'll avoid it just because I put it right in front of them?

I would give Dungeon Heroes a solid 7.0/10. It doesn't reach for the stars or reinvent the dungeon crawl, but what it aims for it does very, very well. It is a fun, two player battle of wits with a light fantasy theme. If you think you'd enjoy a short, relatively simple 2 player bluffing game, I'd strongly recommend checking out Dungeon Heroes from Gamelyn Games.

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