Dungeon Time is a fantastic real time cooperative “Dungeon Crawl.” I put “Dungeon Crawl” in quotations because I am not sure if this is the correct term to use here, but I am not sure what else to use! The game is for 1-5 players, and I would say the more players the more fun you are going to have!
If you would like to see a playthrough, please check out my YouTube Channel: One Stop Co-op Shop:
There is a setup video, a Solo playthrough, and a 2 player playthrough.
To me, I would explain this game as a test in your packing skills. Ever try to pack for a 2 week vacation with 2 kids and only one bag? This is essentially what you are trying to do in real time! Stuff your bag with the appropriate items needed to complete the missions necessary to win the game. So if you are an efficient packer, this game is right up your ally!
In Dungeon Time there are two phases of the game:
Real Time: During this phase everyone will be shouting out (yes shouting not speaking because you will all be trying to talk over each other!) the missions they have in hand and what is needed to complete them. Then in no particular order, players will be placing items and completed mission cards into the backpack pile, and drawing back up to their hand limit. Players can at any time discard cards to draw new cards, and anyone can play cards into the backpack pile at any time. Your main goal will be to try and complete the minimum amount of missions within the 5 minute real-time session.
Resolution Phase: During this phase you get to find out, just how efficient of a packer your team is. You will flip cards over from your backpack pile placing them into the slots in your backpack and seeing if you have the appropriate items to complete the mission cards. There are a couple rules to consider in this phase:
- There are only 8 slots in the backpack.
- One slot can hold up to 3 of the same items (ex. 3 Swords, or 3 Shields etc.)
- When a mission card is played, you will remove the items needed, and then take the reward (if any)
To Win: Complete a certain amount of missions out of 12.
To Lose: If you do not complete enough missions OR You try to use more than 8 slots in the backpack.
Now you would think, this isn’t so hard. And at the easier levels I would agree with you. However when one mission card needs 5 items and gives you an option of 2 rewards, you all of a sudden have a LOT more to think about!
Components are just what you need. Cardstock is average, but with the kickstarter they provided sleeves so I am increasing the rating for that! The reward tokens are thick cardboard, and the timer is. . .well a sand timer. Nothing to write home about but also nothing bad about it either.
I do want to mention the kickstarter box is pretty sweet. The front is embossed (or something like that? I am terrible at art stuff!) and looks really sweet! It shimmers every time I bring it out and it catches everyone’s eye.
Cartoony and fun art is just perfect for this game. It is light and that is all it needs. The item cards have HUGE pictures on them. Even my semi-blind mother can tell what they are! (Although I did not know what a Pestle and Mortar was, so we called it a Plant Masher. . . yeah. . . . cultured!)
The theme in the game is pretty generic as it is not the focus of the game. The kickstarter game comes with some quests you can complete that use specific mission cards and have a story etc. which is cool. Otherwise, it is just a basic Dungeon game with minimal need of a detailed theme. And for this game I am completely fine with that.
You want a true cooperative game? You want mayhem at the same time? Well you got it with this game! Since everyone has their own hand of cards, and you are all shouting out what you need at the same time, cooperation is key to make this game work. What keeps me coming back to play this game is the comradery the game creates through the real time phase. If you only focused on what you needed for a mission, you will be sorely disappointed when you either cannot complete enough missions in time, or you will blow your backpack up with too many items. Listening, responding, and occasionally yelling is all a requirement in this game!
I really enjoy all the different types of mission cards. You have 4 different types:
1. Need 2 items and the reward is a set item.
2. Need 3 items and the reward is either a set option or is optional.
3. Need 4 items and the reward is an either/or option.
4. Need 5 items and the reward is 1 of any Reward or is optional.
Having all of these different types of mission cards provides a ton of replayability. My favorite way to play is to choose a random set of each type and go! Makes for a fun game full of surprises.
I also like that certain types of mission cards have a specific colored back. This allows you to know when you are drawing cards if you are getting an item or a mission. And after a few plays you will begin to remember which card back depicts which type of mission. Sweet!
I have to admit I have not used the heroes yet. However the mere idea of becoming a specific person who is able to affect the gameplay during the resolution fits my fancy. Also, in any co-op game I really appreciate player differentiation as it allows players to feel independent.
I have not gone through the entire campaign yet but having this option is SWEET! To be able to string multiple games together with increasingly difficult missions is a perfect way to get beginners into this game. And since each playthrough of the game lasts about 10 minutes, you could play 3 or 4 times in about 30 minutes. The campaign will also show the current level your team can play at. You will then have a level for which your team can strive for in the future.
For whatever reason, one of my favorite parts of this game is the resolution phase. During the real time portion you are so focused on pushing through your missions you kind of forget to relax and have fun. Insert resolution phase! Here is where you can laugh at all of your errors, and watch as you assumed you would have completed a mission and obtained a specific reward, only to find out you failed that mission and so then subsequently failed your next 3 missions because you received no reward! I love it! Or trying to remember what item you wanted for a reward, or if you even WANTED the item in the first place? This is the best with 4 or 5 people because you all remember something different. This phase is just as quick as the real time, and for me it is my favorite part of the game.
To Discard or to Not to Discard?
Such as simple question, yet in Dungeon Time this is a brain burner. If you are all stuck with dud missions in hand, do you chose to discard a card in your hand so you can draw new cards? Or do you play a couple items into the backpack hoping they will be useful later? If you discard, those cards are gone for the rest of the round, so be careful! You may need that Sword for a later mission!
If Only. . . .
So I got the kickstarter version of this game and they provided sleeves with the game. AWESOME! However, the cards don’t fit into the box very well with the sleeves and now the sleeves on the cards in the bottom are getting bent. . . Agh. Someone posted a thread (Small modification to make card slot insert fit better (at least for me)) with how to fix this, but it entails cutting the insert. I got a C- in art when I was in grade school. . . Pretty sure if I try to cut the insert, I will end up either mutilating it or hurting myself. OK not really, but you get the picture. Just wish the insert could have held the sleeved cards without bending the sleeves.
This is just a personal preference, but in the PnP the reward tokens were actually just cards. And for whatever reason I preferred that. The tokens are so small compared to the cards I am worried I am going to lose them. I may actually just stick my PnP reward cards in with my game and use them going forward. Again this is a personal opinion, and has no bearing on the game itself.
I am not a fan of the timer in this game. Some other cooperative real time games that I have or are coming out (FUSE, Escape: The Curse of the Temple, 5-Minute Dungeon, Space Alert) have an app for a timer, and I much prefer that (again my personal opinion). I like having thematic music as I am playing and some sort of “ding” when each minute goes by so I can estimate how much time is left. There is a soundtrack you can use on Kickstarter, and in my playthrough you can hear it. The thing is, it does not count down for you. . .Bummer!
Setup: 1-3 minutes
Takedown: 1-3 minutes
Playtime: 10 minutes
Play Again Factor: 9/10
With all the different mission cards, and you can mix and match all of them, the play again factor is high in this game. I think in one day I played 12 times, and I didn’t get bored once! There also is a huge variety in the amount of players. As a solo game, this is a puzzle game, but as more players join the game it can become quite chaotic. I will be honest and say I prefer the game with more players, as it is more fun trying to collaborate with 4 people in real time. One recommendation, do not play this with 4 other people while your kids are sleeping as you are bound to wake them up with how loud you will be! (This may or may not have happened to us. . . .) Anyways, this game has high replayability in my book.
Weight and Player Type: Super light, for everyone!
This game takes 2 minutes to learn, 2 minutes to set up and 10 minutes to play. Can you ask anything more from a light cooperative game? I love bringing this game to my friends’ houses who are not gamers. I just pull it out and set it up. While we are waiting for dinner to cook I suggest just playing one time. . . And then ten times later, we realize we burned the food because we were playing this over and over! It is great for nongamers because it is simple, and it is cooperative. This means that they do not feel intimidated that you are just going to own them in a difficult “gamers” game. However, as someone who has played a ton of board games, I still enjoy this game a ton. So even if you are a gamer, you can enjoy this just as much, just maybe for different reasons.
Final Thoughts: 8.25/10
If you are looking for a light and fun game, great for families and non-gamer friends, I would highly recommend Dungeon Time. The game has a small footprint, but it can cause a lot of great laughs and a sense of accomplishment when you are able to win at the later rounds! Just remember, although the gameplay is only 10 minutes, I hardly EVER play this only once! I think that says something about the gameplay.