Set a reminder/alarm/write yourself a note. November 1 on Kickstarter – 5 Minute Dungeon. That’s all you need to know. Seriously, you could stop reading now if you want.
Still here? Listen, I love games. I love everything about them, and I love when I find a good one. I can spread the word, teach it, make other people as excited as I am. But every once in a while, games come along that just plain make you smile. One that from the minute you see the cover, you know it’s going to be fun. That is 5 Minute Dungeon.
I mean, look at that cover. Doesn’t it look great sitting on my game shelf, taunting you?
Seriously, this game is great. Let’s take a look:
So the first thing you need to know is that this is a timed game. Each time you play it, it takes 5 minutes (hence the name). Also, it’s completely cooperative. It is a very fast-paced game that requires lots of decision making, working together…and screaming (or at least very fast, convincing conversations). Think Fuse (Renegade Game Studios) or Escape (Queen Games). It’s that kinda game.
Everyone is working together to take down one opponent (the Boss of the dungeon), but first you have to get past all the People, Monsters, Obstacles, Events, and Mini-Bosses that get in your way.
In order for you to defeat each of these to get to the Boss, you must (as a team) discard the required number/type of Action cards. There are 5 different Basic cards: Arrows, Jumps, Swords, Shields, and Scrolls.
There are also special cards which all have a special ability. These can be any number of things: Defeat a Monster, Defeat an Obstacle, Defeat a Person, Draw cards, Heal…
Each character that you play will also have a special ability which is activated by discarding 3 cards. These are very similar to the special card abilities with the exception of the Thief (who is awesome) who can discard 3 cards to draw 5. But be careful, if you run out of cards, you cannot contribute to the group.
Basically you start the 5 minute timer (an app you will be able to download for free) and flip over the top door card.
You then spend cards from any players “hands” to defeat the card. You need to spend enough cards to match the symbols on the card you are trying to defeat.
You may instead choose to use your Character’s special ability to defeat the card. This is helpful if you have a really great card in your hand (like the Holy Hand Grenade) that you want to save for a Mini-Boss or the end Boss.
Or you can play a special card that allows you to immediately bypass the card.
Once you defeat one card, you move on to the next door card until they are gone – then you face the Boss.
The Boss has its own set of symbols that you must defeat. Here is the Baby Barbarian:
Once you have defeated the Boss, you win that round. There are 5 bosses included in the game, each increasingly harder to defeat than the last, both because of more symbols to actually defeat the Boss and for having more door cards than the previous Boss.
Plus each Boss must be defeated in just 5 minutes. So…you know…it’s hard.
So is it worth it?
Oh, dear God, yes!
First off, there is the artwork. It’s the first thing you notice when you look at the box, and it sets the tone for everything inside. All the characters and monsters and, well, everything is drawn in cartoony wonderfulness. The symbols on the cards are great, all the icons are great; it just has a fantastic look.
The next thing you notice is the humor. There is as much humor as there is great art. The two complement each other nicely, and the humor is present on every card and in every drawing. Truly amazing. I won’t show you too many because I don’t want to spoil too much, but here’s a few:
The components are great too. The character and Boss boards are heavy duty cardboard. The cards might could be a little thicker, but hey, maybe that’s a stretch goal. And let’s face it, they better have some ideas ready for those, cause we will be hitting bunches of them. I say we because even though they sent me a preview copy of the game, I want the real deal (mainly because I anticipate more characters and cards to come).
The other part of the game that I love is that it’s frantic. Now, some people don’t like this type of game (you know who you are). But hey, I don’t enjoy deck-builders that much. But…if you’re willing to give it a try, you won’t be disappointed. If you don’t mind timed frantic craziness, then I won’t even have to convince you to try it.
Because it is fast-paced and cooperative (and frantic) you do have to worry about Alpha Gamers. When we started playing it, we played our hands open on the table, which allowed us to help each other see what the other was missing (“You’ve got a Scroll right there!”). But I could see a problem if you had an Alpha Gamer who takes control. If you know one of these people, simply play with yours hands hidden (it may not completely solve the problem, but maybe they’ll get frustrated and leave – Alpha Gamers are the worst).
Even if this game didn’t have the fantastic artwork and humor, it would still be a solid game with a fun concept. With it, it is simply amazing. It is ridiculously easy to teach, yet not easy to win. But, since it’s so much fun, you won’t mind losing a few times. And since it takes about as much time to set up as it does to play, you’re probably going to play it multiple times anyway.
It also has the added benefit of being ready to go. This is not a great idea for a future product, this game is done. It’s ready to go.
Everything about this game calls to me. It’s frantic and silly and I love it. You will too. Back this game now! (or we’ll make you hug the Cactus)