I honestly view it as kind of insane on my part but I like to have the first book I read or the first game I play in a new year to be good. It doesn’t have to be the best of the year but I try to avoid garbage.
When I realized I was actively avoiding trying out prototypes and such so they wouldn’t be the first game I learned in 2022, I decided I’d better hurry up and get a game I thought would be good learned. So I learned Dungeon Roll on Board Game Arena.
Short version: it’s not garbage.
Dungeon Roll is a dungeon crawl built around dice. Which tells you absolutely nothing. There are probably, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating, hundreds of games that fit that description. Heck, I could describe Dungeons and Dragons like that.
The core mechanic of Dungeon Roll is that you are managing a pool of white dice while the dungeon is an increasing number of black dice that give you monsters to fight and treasure to loot.
And here is the clever bit: you get a hero card that gives you a couple special powers. More than that, it can get leveled up for better powers. In all honesty, that’s the best part of the game for me. The heroes give you your variety and more interesting decisions.
At first, I thought the game was mindless dice chucking and it was all luck. However, there are some ways you can manage your luck and your dice pool. I do think bad die rolls can easily override your decisions but I’ve been having enough fun that I don’t care.
It’s really the bells and whistles that will keep me playing Dungeon Roll. The core mechanic isn’t that interesting for me but I want to try out all the hero cards and see what tricks I can pull. The parts are bigger than the sum :P
Two games that I kept thinking about while learning Dungeon Roll were Balloon Pop and Deep Space D6. I learned both of them the month before so they were fresh on my mind.
A big reason why Balloon Pop comes to my mind is I also just learned it via Board Game Arena. It’s a push your luck game with the twist that every time you reroll, you add a new dice. Which, if I am doing my figuring right, actually decreases the odds of getting what you want. I’ve read about some people who felt Dungeon Roll was too light but it’s a boulder compared to Balloon Pop. Balloon Pop is what you pull out when folks want to play LCR.
Deep Space D6 is another narrative genre game, only this one is science fiction. I think it is more balanced and more immersive than Dungeon Roll. Watching after the health of your space ship give Deep Space D6 a strong focus. The dice change but the ship is constant. Hero cards are a source of special powers in Dungeon Roll but the ship is your character in Dungeon Roll. Of course, Deep Space D6 is solitaire only.
Dungeon Roll isn’t going to be the best game I learn this year. It is pretty light and it has some real flaws. But I am going to keep playing it and having fun with it. So a good start to the year.