Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Lorenzo Silva,
Lorenzo Tucci Sorrentino,
Aureliano Buonfino


No. of Players:
1 - 6



Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

In the last years we have really seen some uncommon fantasy games. The mighty heroes of former times are suddenly equipped with useless, strange weapons and armours like an electro-mento hat (in Super Munchkin), and other games spoof the fantasy genre even further by turning the table and prey on the heroes like in Dungeon Lords. It seems that the players love it. Maybe the reason for the success is, that the players - like me - are grown up now and - while still fascinated by the genre - they want to distance themselves from their old role-play career.

Dungeon Fighter by the Italian publisher CRANIO CREATIONS, distributed by HEIDELBERGER SPIELEVERLAG, takes the same line and yet it is something totally different. It is crazy, mad and follows a totally new game concept. The story and the basic rules give no reasons to expect any curiosities and do not knock somebody's socks off. Each player takes the role of a hero and together the party enters a dungeon. You might be tempted to think "Oh no, another dungeon crawler!" Room by room the players encounter different monsters, equip their heroes with mighty weapons, armours and items and - if they succeed to survive all the attacks - they are confronted with a Boss fight. As you can see, nothing unusual so far.


The curiosities begin when you have a closer look at the dice included in the game. No numbers, but instead most of the sides plain and empty, only one or two sides with a strange symbol. How can you determine your attacking strength with these tools? The solution is the gameboard which comes in form of a huge target. Like in Dart you have to throw the dice at this target board, consisting of five concentric zones with increasing values towards the bull's eye and a missed shot zone. So, the result of an attack is not determined by the side a die lands on, but the zone the die lands in. And, as if this was not difficult enough, the die has to bounce once on the table before it lands on the target zone. Believe it or not - this is mainly what the game is about: aiming at the target with the dice.

[IMAGE]The three coloured dice (red, green, blue) that come with the game are at our disposal at the beginning of each new encounter. When it is a player's turn he chooses one of the dice and tries to fight the current monster, throwing the dice at the target board. The result of the shot then is subtracted from the monster's life points. If, however, the shot was a miss, the player is attacked by the monster with the result that he must take a number of wounds - there is no defence. But what happens when we have used up all three of the coloured dice and the monster still survives? Well, then one of the following two things will happen. During the course of the game we can win additional one-use white dice by defeating monsters, and if we still have some of them left in our treasure chest we can use them to continue the fight. In this case we throw the die as usual, only that this white dice is no longer available for us after the shot. However, if we do not possess white dice anymore, our party looses this encounter, and in this case the monster attacks all heroes for a final time and deals his damage to everybody. After that we are given back all coloured dice for the next encounter and we continue the fight until the new monster is defeated or we again need new dice.

Independent on the number of players, the number of coloured dice is always limited to three, and so it is possible that our party is defeated before every hero had the chance to try to hit the monster. This may be annoying, especially if an earlier player was too stupid to steal the last life point of a monster. Lucky enough, there are several possibilities to get new white dice, and this gives us a better chance to knock a monster out before losing a combat. Especially at the beginning of a game, when only the weaker monsters cross our path, we have the chance to end the monster's life with only one or two coloured dice. Then we gain one white bonus die for each coloured die we did not need, and this treasure should be keep for the real mean monsters which we will encounter later in the game...


Let's also have a closer look on the strange symbols on the dice. As indicated earlier, every player chooses a hero at the beginning of the game, and on three edges of the character sheet we find these symbols as well. For each of the three coloured dice in the game, we find a corresponding symbol that activates one the hero's special abilities whenever a dice lands on the symbol after a shot. So, apart from dealing regular damage to a monster, a player who has rolled the right result may also use his special ability, and this might result in different kinds of beneficial effects. For example, a hero could have the special ability "Seduction" and with this he can charm a monster, so that he can take a Monster after it is defeated. The monster in love then can be used once to cushion a blow of another monster, thus avoiding damage to the hero.

All these rules are strange enough, but Dungeon Fighter can go one better. There are a lot of special shots that are demanded by rooms, monsters and equipment cards which may be collected. For example, for a sitting shot a player must sit on the ground before the table while throwing the die. And still the die has to bounce once on the table before it hits the target. Those crazy shots (e.g. the nose shot - I guess you can imagine how it works) are the reason why there are so many laughers during the game and what makes the game so unusual. Especially when such shots can or must be combined, hilarious situations may arise. Such a combination is possible once we have visited a room with a shop where the heroes can be equipped with additional weapons, armours and potions. All these new weapons demand their own special shots and this is also how you may encounter combinations of special shots. So if the party encounters a monster that demands a jump shot and you want to use a weapon that demands an Elbow shot, you must put the die on your elbow, jump and throw the die on the target before you are landing again. And remember that the die always must bounce once before hitting the target....


If you are ready to let yourself go, Dungeon Fighter is pure fun. The only requirements for enjoying the game are a decent table and a group of like-minded players. If the table is too small, the game will be frustrating, because bouncing the die on the table before hitting the target becomes too difficult. Although the game can be played solo, it is in reality a party game. And, as a side effect of playing with more players, combat gets a bit easier, because the increased number of heroes reduces the chance that everybody gets knocked unconscious and the party loses the game.

Despite of the unusual and funny dice shots, Dungeon Fighter is still a Hack- and Slay the monsters game, but of course you cannot take the game too seriously. The game mainly focuses on the players' dice-rolling skills, whereas the rules for moving in the dungeon and the obtaining of equipment are mostly ornamental padding. Due to this, the game is not really a typical dungeon crawler, but you still get the special fantasy feeling. And, due to the focus on the players' artistic skills, the game is great especially for younger gamers. Although the box recommends that children should be 10 or older, my six year old son loves it. I love it, too, especially as a filler or for the last game of the night...

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Copyright © 2012 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany