There are few things in gaming as satisfying as a successful dungeon crawl with your party. Enter the dark unknown, battle the horrors within, and escape with your loot and your lives.
Dungeon crawls are fun for the entire group, but sometimes you don’t want your game night to actually be a crawl. You don’t need to buy miniatures or set aside an entire evening the next time you want to grab a torch and explore a pitch-black dungeon. These four dungeon-themed games give you all of the adventure, just in less time–under an hour.
This recently updated board game has a party of adventurers, treasure to collect, and yes… a cave troll. Cave Troll is an area-control game in a dungeon crawl setting. Vie against other players to hold more rooms in the dungeon and claim the most treasure.
On each turn, players draw and play cards to enter the dungeon with their heroes (portrayed with the included miniatures), place monsters in the dank rooms, discover artifacts, and distribute treasure chests to score even more loot. Orcs and wraiths also stalk the dungeon, along with the namesake cave troll, removing heroes from the board and closing off rooms and their gold. Points are tallied throughout the game, earned by having the most heroes in a room. How much treasure can you loot before the cave troll takes a massive swing?
2-4 players, Ages 14+
Dungeon Fighter adds something completely unique to the typical dungeon crawl: throwing dice at an actual target. There’s still a dungeon with a few different paths to follow as players explore and along the way, the hilariously illustrated heroes will attack monsters drawn from a deck of cards.
Different heroes have different abilities, triggered when a symbol shows on one of the colored dice. To score a hit on the monster, the dice must bounce on the tabletop at least once and onto the target board. Some monsters even have special instructions for how to throw the dice, like with players’ eyes closed or under a leg. Dungeon crawls easily turn into dungeon LOLs with this zany game.
1-6 players, Ages 10+
One Deck Dungeon from Asmadi Games is a cooperative card game that’s all about removing the slow pace and clutter from the dungeon crawl. No miniatures, no sprawling dungeon game board–with just a deck of 54 colorful cards and a set of 30 dice, your heroes are ready to enter the labyrinth. Cards, earned by defeating monsters, can be used in a variety of ways depending on the player’s choices. Each hero plays their cards right to reach the bottom of the dungeon and the dragon waiting in its depths.
This recently crowdfunded dungeon crawl card game is planned for a wide release at the end of the year, but the print and play version is available now for free.
1-2 players, Ages 14+
This is another big adventure stashed in a small box. Welcome to the Dungeon is a push-your-luck card game where the players take control of one hero–all sharing the same adventurer–with special weapons and items. Unlike the other games in this list, the hero has yet to actually enter the dungeon, and players must decide what dangers he or she will face within.
On each turn, players choose a card from the monster deck and decide, based on the hero’s equipment, if that would be a worthy foe to face in the dark depths. If it isn’t, taking the monster out of the game means taking a piece of the hero’s inventory as well. Players can pass and bow out of the round if they decide the adventurer would be at a disadvantage with the enemies lurking in the dungeon. The last player brave enough to face the horrors within then enters the dungeon with the items that remain in play. The first person to successfully enter the dungeon and come out alive twice wins the game.
2-4 players, Ages 10+
Do you prefer your dungeon crawls to be short and sweet, or sprawling epics? Let us know your favorite in the comments!
Featured Image: iello games
Other Images: Fantasy Flight Games, iello games, and Asmadi Games