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Building A Better Dungeon Crawl

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30 Aug 2019 10:07 #301241 by drewcula
San admits to a lack of breadth in dungeon crawling board games, then raises four ideas that have been addressed by various publishers over the decades. No amount of caveats make this a great post. But I've always enjoyed San's contributions and I dig the genre, so I'll chime in.

Barnes is probably right; Dungeonquest fits the OP parameters well. 3 out of 4, with a 25% deduction from perfection because there's no character creation. However, the third edition has six characters available for a four player game. Options exist.

I, however, am here to sing the praises of Heroquest and defend campaign board gaming.

The Heroquest system is great dungeon crawl experience and its direct successors can be included, more or less (Advanced Heroquest and Warhammer Quest). Each can be enjoyed in campaign play, which is correct way to play a dungeon crawl board game, but they can also be approached as a "one shot." Advanced Heroquest has the most flexibility with character creation, while the HQ and WHQ offer the classic dungeon party. Incidentally, the classic dungeon party of Barbarian, Elf, Dwarf, and Wizard is the correct way to play a dungeon crawl. While combat is emphasized in all three (as dungeon crawling titles should), there is a rich sense of exploration. Traps and secret passages exist, and their discovery is important to surviving a scenario. NPCs exists in a few scenarios, but they're most often just an objective. One Heroquest derivative, TSR's Dragon Strike, did have a clever rule for player / monster interaction that allowed for a little more authorized "role playing." Lastly, treasure is important in all. Like searching for traps and secret passages, acquiring treasure helps keep the party healthy with potions, alive with enhanced weaponry/spells, or frosty with an occasional monster.

Treasure is a fine segue to the importance of campaign game play. Why would any character bother with loot if they can't sell/trade/use their riches in the next adventure? [ note: Dungeonquest is an exception because all of the players are selfish, thieving punks.] Livelihood through loot isn't the only reason for campaign play; the narrative arc, even the smallest amount, is fun. I, for one, like to see returning villains. Or, the descendants of previously slain board game baddies.

Set-up woes are a tired violin song, so get over it.
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13 Sep 2019 15:01 #301709 by Dark Piranha
Dungeon Master! A game ahead of its time. And to think just a few years earlier, the best we had was Atari Adventure.
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