Dungeon!: Variant Rules

3 posts / 0 new
Last post
Variant Rules

By Chris tulach

Now, we’ve recently released a new version of the game for the first time in 20 years! In celebration of its release, I’d like to share with you four variant rules for the game. One variant makes the game feel a little more old school, two hack the game with a modern eye, plus one final variant for those of you who love playing wizards. Mix and match the variant rules to your taste, and enjoy!

Talk about this feature here.

Thanks for the suggestions Chris!

As a long-time fan of the game, I have a few more suggestions:

I prefer rolling for movement as suggested in Chris' link, but rather than rolling two dice for each character, I do this:

Rogue moves 4 + one die (5-10 spaces)
Wizard and Cleric move 3 + one die (4 - 9 spaces)
Fighter moves 2 + one die (3 to 8 spaces)

Justification: the different movements seem logical to me as the Fighter is most heavily encumbered and the Rogue should naturally be the swiftest character. Also, in the standard rules of the new edition, I think the Rogue was nerfed, so increasing his movement makes him more playable.

The Cleric can sacrifice one of his treasure cards to the discard deck to receive a +1 blessing to his next roll. For each treasure he sacrifices he recieves an additional +1. Hypothetically a cleric could collect a bunch of low value treasure cards and then sacrifice them all against a tough deep level monster.

A further variant is that Clerics can bless other players by taking a treasure from them. In this case the Cleric gets to keep the other player's treasure card for himself, but the player receiving the blessing gets a +2 to their next roll.   

The 1990 edition of Dungeon! allowed Rogues to steal from other players. In fact, it was their most important mechanic since they were practically useless in combat. I suggest to bring back the rule with slight variation.

The Sneaky Rogue can do two things. 

A) Every time the Rogue passes through a space occupied by another player, he can try to steal by rolling a die.
       1: Caught red-handed. Rogue must give the other player one of his treasure cards.
       2 - 4:  Nothing happens. The Rogue misses his chance.
       5: Success, the player fans out his treasure cards face down and the Rogue takes one card at random.
       6: Masterful Success: the Rogue takes any one treasure card of his choice from the player. 

 B) A Rogue can try to try to steal discarded treasure cards from rooms guarded by active monsters. Again, the Rogue rolls one die:

      1: Caught and surprised. The monster catches the Rogue and attacks. The Rogue does not get to counterattack this turn. 
      2 - 3: Caught. Rogue must fight the monster per normal combat rules.
      4 - 5: Success: The Rogue take any treasure left behind by other players and exits the room through any door.
      6: Sneak Attack: The Rogue surprises the beast and slays it. Take all treasures in the room plus Loot the room.  

Hmmm, its been pretty quiet around here.

I wanted to suggest another rules variant, this one is designed for solo or cooperative play. It's called...


You will need a Jenga tower to play this (or generic tumbling tower game).

The heroes have uncovered the ancient crypt of Jengar the Conquorer. Legend has it Jengar's crypt was packed with the spoils of his many conquests, and that it was guarded by Jengar's menagerie of monsters. Unbeknownst to the heroes, the portal to the crypt was also booby-trapped by Jengar so he could protect his horde well into the afterlife. As the heroes bravely explore the rooms and chambers in search of Jengar's loot, they realise the crypt is slowly collapsing around them. Will they find enough treasure and escape before the crypt buries them inside forever?

The Jenga tower should be set up as per standard Jenga instructions someplace where it will be safe from accidental tipping. 

The Jenga tower represents the collapsing crypt. It also works as a ticking time-bomb for the game. When the Jenga tower collapses, the crypt caves in and the game ends. Any characters remaining on the board are lost and lose the game.

At the end of each player's turn, following the "Loot" phase, the player draw a block from the Jenga tower (using only one hand) and place it on the top of the tower per standard Jenga instructions. This is called the "Draw" phase.

GOAL:  Get your hero or heroes' required victory value in gold and escape before the crypt collapses.  

- Start the game by drawing 3 blocks from the Jenga tower, placing them on top of the tower per standard Jenga rules. However, this is the one and only time when you can use both hands to remove the blocks.  
- Movement: for movement roll both dice and move spaces up to the number rolled. 
- Missing turns: Any time a card or monster damage instructs you to miss a turn or turns, instead draw blocks from the tower equal to the number of turns you were instructed to miss. Then draw another block during the Draw phase that follows. 

Also this game variant was originally designed for solo play, it also works well for cooperative play. As per the cooperative play rules set out in the Dungeon! instruction manual, cooperative players must add their loot together, and the group wins if they achieve their combined total victory gold.

Since every player has to draw a block at the end of each turn, the more players you have in the game the more quickly the tower will become unstable.  With a large group, each player may only get 3 or 4 turns before the tower collapses. For this reason it is recommended that you use the following victory requirements, regardless of the characters chosen:

2 players - 30,000
3-4 players - 35,000
5-6 players - 40,000
7-8 players - 45,000

Missing turns: Missed turns are handles as per standard instructions. In cooperative play, players do not draw blocks when they are instructed to miss a turn, nor do they draw at the end of a missed turn. 

Why no competitive play? You might be asking yourself why there are no rules for competitive play. The answer, simply, is sabotage. A player who is losing the game will intentionally topple the tower before another player can win, thereby spoiling the game for everyone. 

If you should try this variant, I would really appreciate if you write some feedback. I'd love to know how it works out for you.
Sign In to post comments