Flashback Friday - DungeonQuest - Love it or Hate It? Do You Still Play It?

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DungeonQuest Review

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There Will Be Games

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You don't play DungeonQuest. DungeonQuest plays you.

DungeonQuest was oringinally published in 1987. This push-your-luck dungeon crawl with player elimination is classic old school Ameritrash gaming. Players explore the ruins of Dragonfire Castle, trying to find the treasure chamber and escape the castle with as much treasure as possible. According to the instructions, you have approximatley a 15% chance of getting out alive. It is possible to be eliminated on your first turn.

Some gamers call DungeonQuest an activity not a game. Others call it silly fun. What do you think?

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Love it or hate it? Do you still play it?
There Will Be Games DungeonQuest Review

DungeonQuest Review Shellie RoseSubscribe to Shellie Rose Follow Shellie Rose Follow Shellie Rose Message Shellie Rose

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Plays boardgames. Drinks bourbon. Writes code.

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Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #295385 12 Apr 2019 11:27
Dungeoncrawlers have come and gone, but this is still- all things considered- the best in the genre. It captures everything a dungeon crawl should, while not turning into really more of a tactical miniatures game. It plays in one session. It’s only about an hour. It has surprises and great traps. There is always a sense of risk. You can get LOST; which is not something you usually see in the genre. And there is a TIME LIMIT so tension is always high.

The first FFG reprint was of course a massive whiff. The revised edition was such a tremendous improvement and really kind of represents the best version of the game despite not having the classic art and shaped cards.
Ah_Pook's Avatar
Ah_Pook replied the topic: #295386 12 Apr 2019 11:31
This is one of my all time favorites. I've got the original GW version. It's a pure concentrated shot of fantasy dice rolling nonsense, with some of my favorite art in any game. Love that 80s GW style. Would love to get the expansions for it but they're prohibitively expensive.
hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #295388 12 Apr 2019 11:38
I wanted to like it. I really did. I have only played the FFG reprint. (The first one).

While wandering endlessly and never getting anywhere might be funny, it's not fun. Falling into spikes on the first turn is funny, but again, not fun. It felt like it would be more appropriate as a solitary video game.
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #295390 12 Apr 2019 12:00
I don’t believe I have ever had more fun gaming than the first time I played Dungeonquest and fell into the bottomless pit on the very first turn.
Colorcrayons's Avatar
Colorcrayons replied the topic: #295391 12 Apr 2019 12:02
Hmmm some gamer's call it an activity and not a game?

I wonder if it's the same people who swear up and down that Co-ops are not puzzles?

I like Dungeonquest well enough. I have Pete's old copy and use RPS to resolve combats. No need for the bullshit convoluted card system FFG implanted into the game in order to cater to the BGG crowd who the industry thinks areneasily duped into believing complexity for it's own sake make a thing better.
Ah_Pook's Avatar
Ah_Pook replied the topic: #295392 12 Apr 2019 12:05
It is also quite good as a solo game, though you lose the brilliantly simple pvp combat. And you lose the whole schadenfreude aspect solo, natch.
Matt Thrower's Avatar
Matt Thrower replied the topic: #295393 12 Apr 2019 12:22

Ah_Pook wrote: Would love to get the expansions for it but they're prohibitively expensive.


The latest FFG edition has most of the best stuff from the expansions. It even improved the rather dull catacombs. You could just get that.

Otherwise, I can't really improve on what MB said. It captures everything that's great about a dungeon crawl - the danger, the monsters, the exploration, the uncertainty, the treasure - into a neat hour-long package.

I can totally see why some folk don't like it. The original had zero meaningful decisions to make. The current - and best - FFG edition has so few that playing can feel like hanging from a precipice by your fingernails. But those folk are wrong. Every card and tile is a thrill, every game a journey. We have a faux scroll in our box on which we record the best scores and the best death stories. Often both.

MB is wrong on one thing: the odd-shaped cards are a pain in the arse and the square cut ones in the current edition are way better.

Still doubt its quality? I'll just leave this here:
therewillbe.games/articles-rants-a-raves...ballad-of-sir-roland
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #295395 12 Apr 2019 12:55
Meh. What hotseat said. Any game in which the following scenario can play out:

Draws card.
Spike Trap. Dies.

Other player: "Hey, that's rough. We're going to keep going and it will probably last for another hour or so. I know you came over to play games with us, but... Well, the TV is over there."

is a hard pass. I'm fine with player elimination games. (Wiz-War is one of the greatest ever.) I love dungeon crawls. I've enjoyed the vast majority of what GW and later FFG have released over the years, but DQ was never a good idea. It was GW's "life and dice are random!" approach to the nth degree that a lot of people remember through rose-colored glasses because it was their first real exposure to high fantasy gaming, instead of Milton Bradley or other more mainstream fare. I prefer games where everyone who came over to play gets to do so for more than a few minutes. In principle, the timed escape and push your luck aspects are great. In execution, they rarely were. The only reason I'd own a copy today is for the characters to play Runebound with.
Colorcrayons's Avatar
Colorcrayons replied the topic: #295397 12 Apr 2019 13:05

hotseatgames wrote: It felt like it would be more appropriate as a solitary video game.


I think you're right about that, since there isn't any meaningful player interaction at least.

I think it would be more agreeable as a game if it had take that type of card action than drawing a tile and disallowing any sense of agency through player interaction.
Ah_Pook's Avatar
Ah_Pook replied the topic: #295398 12 Apr 2019 13:14
If someone dies early enough they get to come back in at the entrance. Also we let eliminated players control the monsters in combat.
cdennett's Avatar
cdennett replied the topic: #295402 12 Apr 2019 14:15
Yeah, if someone dies early, just let them grab a new character and start up at the beginning (at a huge disadvantage). We also have so agreed upon rules about when you can turn around and leave having not made it to the Dragon's chamber (no cheesing getting a single treasure and making it for the door).

My last game I was clearly winning and got greedy in the Dragon's chamber and died because of a lousy die roll. Fact is I can remember something about every single time I've played this game. It always tells a great story. Barnes is going to be telling about the time he died in a pit on the first turn till he dies.
Octavian's Avatar
Octavian replied the topic: #295403 12 Apr 2019 14:22
My boy is 9, turning 10. DungeonQuest is BY FAR his favorite. The game he is always excited to show new people. We love the stories (mostly tragic) that develop each game.

(FWIW we play with the dice-based combat variant rather than the RPS combat cards, and no one is allowed out until they've stolen from the dragon's treasure first)
Legomancer's Avatar
Legomancer replied the topic: #295408 12 Apr 2019 16:03
This game rules. And I use the FFG version with the combat die variant and it is great. Absolute forever shelf classic.
ChristopherMD's Avatar
ChristopherMD replied the topic: #295412 12 Apr 2019 16:05
At least one fun story comes out of every game of this. We do always use what I call the "Arcade Rules" now.

1) Anytime you die you can respawn at any entrance point. (new character optional)
2) Put a piece of paper and pencil in the box to track everyone's high scores.
Rliyen's Avatar
Rliyen replied the topic: #295413 12 Apr 2019 16:19
I still have GW version, though I have not played it in some time. Doesn't stop me from trying to get it to the table. Regardless, I still love it and would play it in a heartbeat. I love venturing into Castle "Who the &@!*? Built This Place?"
Ah_Pook's Avatar
Ah_Pook replied the topic: #295417 12 Apr 2019 16:47
We have a high score list, but you only get to sign your name is you stay from the dragon and make it out. Takes care of weiners trying to find a bracelet on the floor and high tail it to safety.
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #295418 12 Apr 2019 17:11
I like the push your luck aspect of being able to choose to run out of the dungeon early. Funniest game I ever played was won by someone who got out with nothing but a length of rope.
Not Sure's Avatar
Not Sure replied the topic: #295419 12 Apr 2019 18:03

ubarose wrote: I like the push your luck aspect of being able to choose to run out of the dungeon early. Funniest game I ever played was won by someone who got out with nothing but a length of rope.


With which they hung themselves in shame.
CynthiaCM's Avatar
CynthiaCM replied the topic: #295421 12 Apr 2019 18:25
I missed out on the original 1980s version, but opted in when I saw the FFG version at GenCon upon its release. Despite what I feel are slightly clunky card-based combat rules, I enjoy the game and still play it quite a bit. Sure, luck plays a huge part of whether or not one can escape the dungeon with loot (or escape at all), but that only adds to the gonzo never-know-what's-going-to-happen-next fun. There are plenty of games out there that are more strategy-based—and I love them too—but this game is sure to produce a good time nonetheless.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #295424 12 Apr 2019 21:11
We just played it last night. Still love it. It’s short, so the bullshit aspects to it are easily overlooked. I made it 5 times before falling down the bottomless pit, Shellie managed to get once space away from the treasure room before hitting a dead end, and Al wandered around his corner, found $20 and got out. So yeah, Al won with $20, which doesn’t sound like much, but as he pointed out, he was the dwarf and $20 is really like having $40. Unless he’s spending it on beer, then it’s like $5.
jay718's Avatar
jay718 replied the topic: #295429 13 Apr 2019 01:00

Octavian wrote: My boy is 9, turning 10. DungeonQuest is BY FAR his favorite. The game he is always excited to show new people. We love the stories (mostly tragic) that develop each game.

(FWIW we play with the dice-based combat variant rather than the RPS combat cards, and no one is allowed out until they've stolen from the dragon's treasure first)


My son's the same age and this article really has me wanting to play some DQ with him. Anyone here have a FFG revised edition they'd be willing to part with?
san il defanso's Avatar
san il defanso replied the topic: #295430 13 Apr 2019 01:03
One of my six-year-old's favorites. He's not much into games otherwise, but this one works for him. It's one of my favorites too. I've always liked how the players aren't heroes, but rather just another addition to the corpse deck.

We allow players to leave anytime after getting treasure, but only those who survive the dragon's lair get to sign the box.
Colorcrayons's Avatar
Colorcrayons replied the topic: #295431 13 Apr 2019 01:36

jay718 wrote:

Octavian wrote: My boy is 9, turning 10. DungeonQuest is BY FAR his favorite. The game he is always excited to show new people. We love the stories (mostly tragic) that develop each game.

(FWIW we play with the dice-based combat variant rather than the RPS combat cards, and no one is allowed out until they've stolen from the dragon's treasure first)


My son's the same age and this article really has me wanting to play some DQ with him. Anyone here have a FFG revised edition they'd be willing to part with?


I honestly don't think you need the revised edition if you're interested in the game.

The combat cards (or whatever they're called, I don't know since I absolutely never use them) in the original FFG printing can be left in the box, or better yet, just thrown in the trash.

A simple round of RPS is all that is required to resolve combat, and is the only necessary change that need to be made to that printing.

Don't let a good deal pass you by if you can find it, simply because it isn't the revised edition.

Also, this:

www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2014/...-dragonfire-dungeon/

[Edit #2] For the longest time, the revised edition was in the "Upcoming" section of the FFG website as "Awaiting Reprint". Such an entry no longer exists. This should make more people give the original FFG print more consideration when looking for a deal. You really aren't missing out on much, if anything at all. Especially since you can upgrade your copy with the materials in the link above.
san il defanso's Avatar
san il defanso replied the topic: #295433 13 Apr 2019 02:43
I can attest to the upgrade pack. It was quite easy to use and I've been using an upgraded version of the original FFG release for years.
Greg Aleknevicus's Avatar
Greg Aleknevicus replied the topic: #295435 13 Apr 2019 05:40
I had a great time playing DungeonQuest back in the '80s. It's not much of a "game" in that there's little interaction and few meaningful decisions, but it created great stories.

Importantly, the few expansions it had did not expand the playing time beyond what was acceptable for a game of this type. (I'm looking at you Talisman.)