Imagine that you and your party members have just defeated the main dungeon boss. Before you lies the vast treasures you have all worked so hard to earn. However, rather than sharing your fruits of victory equally, you turn on one another in the hopes of hoarding all the treasure for yourself. Well that exciting scenario is the premise behind the enormously entertaining new board game known as Dungeon Brawl!
Dungeon brawl is a pseudo deck builder and adventure board game by Tableflip Games. There are five different characters/classes to choose from: Warrior, Rogue, Ranger, Wizard and Cleric. Each character possess different abilities, skills, weapons, armor and much more. After rolling to see who chooses their character first, you will then choose from a variety of artifacts that will give your character a special ability. Artifacts are chosen in reverse order of character choice (last player to pick their character chooses their artifact first). For initial gameplay, there is a specific 12 card deck for each character. This is designed to give first time players a way of experiencing what a balanced deck looks like. Each character however has numerous other cards that can be chosen for future games. Essentially, Dungeon Brawl lets you customize your deck to best match your playing style. This is what adds substantial replay-ability to the game.
The goal of Dungeon Brawl is to have the highest score at the end… so pretty much like most games. However, you accrue your score by obtaining treasure (+1) and receiving wounds (-1). You become wounded if another player attacks you and are unable to defend, or if you fall prey to a trap card which is revealed at the beginning of each round. Both treasures and wounds are mixed up in the wound deck. If you take damage, you draw from the wound deck. Draw as many cards as wounds you have received. If you draw a treasure card while drawing for a wound, that treasure card goes to the player that dealt you damage. The game is over once the wound deck is empty. Everyone counts up their treasures and wounds and the player with the highest, or least negative score, is the winner!
Depending on the character choice, you will most likely switch up your playing style. Some characters, like the Ranger and Wizard, are best suited for long range attacks. Whereas the Warrior and Rogue mix it up close range and the Cleric just hangs out and heals himself most of the time. Dungeon Brawl lets you play the game YOUR way, just like if you were playing a D&D-esque adventure. Each players’ turn can consist of moving actions, attack actions, quick actions, double actions, variable actions and reactions. I know that sounds like a lot, but I promise it’s extremely simple. Essentially you get two major actions during your turn unless you use a double action card which just has multiple steps. Each card is labeled and easily understandable. Each player will also have a card which tells you what combination of cards can be played each turn so you won’t feel lost.
Cards will have 3 different icons on the left side to indicate their various aspects. The target symbols represents, you guessed, how many players you can target with that card. The bow and arrow indicate how far away you can be from your target and the blood drop symbolizes how much damage, or how many wounds, the target will receive if they are unable to defend. Most players have reaction cards which let them dodge or block oncoming attacks. This is a relatively close range encounter style game. The board is a 2 by 3 setup where you can only move adjacently unless indicated by a specific card. If you’re claustrophobic, get ready to be uncomfortable because this is a tiny dungeon. After one round of Dungeon Brawl, you’ll well versed in how to play and ready to take your friends down!
Dungeon Brawl is an absolute blast. It is most chaotic and fun with 5 players, but is easily enjoyed by as few as 3. Dungeon brawl is meant for ages 12 and up. It has a quick learning curve which makes picking this game up extremely easy. The games last between 30-60 minutes depending on the number of players and size of the wound deck. Dungeon Brawl is a game that can be enjoyed following the designated rules or throwing in some fun home-brew options as well. The box, character and card art is phenomenal. I especially enjoy the fact that the Rogue and Warrior characters are female, unlike most other games. It is a simple game that permits itself to be so much more than a simple beat em up. So much strategy is involved from the character and artifact choices to how you play the character. Are you in the middle of the fight dealing wounds or hanging on the outskirts healing yourself? In reality, you could not deal a single wound the entire game and still win!
While there are so many positives about Dungeon Brawl, it isn’t without some limitations. The board is only 6 spaces which limits mobility. I understand the purpose behind the small encounter space, but it would be fun to have a hiding dynamic to the game. Some of the phrasing on the cards and rule book can be confusing at times, but Tableflip is still in the process of finalizing this fantastic product. Tokens and minis are not available quite yet, but should be in the near future. Dungeon Brawl is being sold at cost for the preproduction copies at $50.99. The price will go down to around $40 when the final product is released and will most likely go back up to $50 with the miniatures upgrade option. Now with that said… I would still buy it now! This game is an absolute blast! Owning the preproduction version of this game will be a great collectable. I played multiple rounds with friends and we all agreed that we’d play it again and again. The fact that we can switch up our decks and essentially design our own characters is extremely appealing.
Availability and Updates!
Dungeon Brawl is hoping to launch their Kickstarter between January and February of 2018. The preproduction copies of Dungeon Brawl are currently available right HERE! The Kickstarter copies of Dungeon Brawl will include token chips to indicate armor and effects, as well as chipboard standees for characters rather than cards set in plastic stands. Once finalized copies of the game are ready, there will also be an option to upgrade for miniatures. Tableflip games will be at PAX Unplugged in Philadelphia from the 17th-19th at the Unpublished ProtoZone, so stop by and check out Dungeon Brawl for yourself! Don’t miss out on this fantastic and absolutely enjoyable brawler!
Mithical Entertainment received a copy of Dungeon Brawl from Tableflip Games in return for an honest review
- Quick rounds great for game nights
- Very replay-able and customizable
- Everyone can use a different strategy and have a chance to win
- Incredible Art
- D&D style game simplified
- Small board limits movement
- Rule phrasing is difficult to understand at first
- Tokens and minis not available yet