Those pesky heroes are always trying to get into our dungeon and steal our hard-earned treasure! Well, monsters, it is high time we start fighting back and show them we mean business! We need to band together and keep them out of our hair! (Yes, and fur, and scales, et cetera). We’ll use our individual strengths to keep the dungeon stocked with defenses, take the heroes down, and protect our home! Let’s go – it’s time to strategize!
What Is It?
A cooperative dungeon defense game! It has:
Asymmetric / Variable Player Powers – Each monster has a different number of meeples, a slightly varied starting deck, and a unique “activation” ability that they can use if they have the necessary symbol on their turn. Monsters also come in 3 categories – Crowd Control which have many attack cards, Defenders which can summon many monsters with ease, and Supporters which have many activate and move cards
Deck Building – Players start with a 10 card deck with basic actions which will help them move, activate rooms/abilities, attack, and summon more of their clan. Throughout the game players will want to upgrade their deck by adding equipment, beast, potion, and scroll cards to their decks, choosing carefully so that they work well with their original cards and their overall strengths.
Pick-Up And Deliver – Players will need to activate rooms to make resources (frogs, bones, coins, books) and traps. They’ll need to transport them to different rooms to use the resources to buy cards, and leave the traps to hopefully catch the heroes as they enter the dungeon. Additionally, some scenarios may have additional rules or uses for resources.
Modular Boards – The players set up a new scenario each time of the board will be a bit different and a few different cards will be in the guild deck to trigger certain scenarios for the players.
Who Is It For?
- 1 to 4 Players – There is a lot of downtime with more players, and between your turns it can feel like the game has ramped up a lot since a hero invasion phase happens after every turn. Personally, I think it’s best at 2, but I think it’s fine at any count
- Ages 10 and up – There are a fair amount of rules, but since it is cooperative, older players could help younger ones out too
- Fans of the heroes vs monsters theme and trying a different role (monsters) than you usually see in games
- Fans of deck building as a game element (not as the main mechanism), having different abilities than other players, and trying to strategize how to best use your strengths
Expansions / Variants
Difficulty Levels – You can play on family, challenging, or hardcore. I definitely like that the game provides these options, though I do think that the game is already pretty hard on challenging so even if you are an experience gamer, you might want to start on family!
Guild Master’s Revenge Expansion – The expansion adds a few new cards, some awesome hero meeples (to replace the cardboard tokens in the base game) and the ability to play competitively, where 1 player controls the heroes each invasion phase. When playing like that, the guild master player also has the opportunity to buy upgrades for the heroes. I thought the addition of the chunky meeples was awesome and made the heroes much easier to see. I liked the idea of the competitive mode, but I thought it was kind of boring to play as the heroes, personally. You got to pick which heroes spawned each turn, but they still followed the same activation as the core game (i.e. you couldn’t choose to plunder instead of attack, since attacking comes first), so I just didn’t find it that interesting because I didn’t feel like I had enough choice to keep me engaged.
- Aesthetic – The art and graphic design is gorgeous. I love everything about the look of this game
- Components – The chunky meeples are amazing in both look and feel. The cardboard tiles/tokens and cards are all high quality as well
- Rules – They are pretty hefty, but I thought they were laid out well and I didn’t have any questions after reading through them
- Variability – There are 20 scenarios included, and 9 different monsters to play as for plenty of replay value!
- Theme – It’s fun and different and it works well with the mechanisms
- I like how different all the monster characters are, but how well they all work together
- Length – There’s a lot of downtime between turns in higher player count games, but even with lower counts, I think the game is a bit long for what it is as turns can start to feel repetitive
- Reference Cards – The player reference cards were just images, and were hard to get used to. I really wish there had been a reference card for the hero invasion phase, since the rule book is so big, it was annoying to keep flipping to that page
- Chain Reactions – Sometimes chain reactions can be cool, but sometimes in this game it is frustrating if, because of the shuffle of the guild deck, heroes can keep inspiring and acting again. Similarly, the chests can be kind of swingy – having penalties as simple as discarding resources from the spot (which there might not even be any) to discarding cards or inspiring heroes, which can be much worse
This game sure is a looker! I was immediately attracted to the art and components of this game, which is a huge reason why I wanted to play it.
I really enjoy the different options in monsters and scenarios, and thought the overall game flow was good. It played pretty well, and I definitely had some great moves, great games, and fun times. I thought the cooperative nature worked well and the characters also worked well together, as long as players played to their character’s strengths.
I did feel that the game was often too long, and I didn’t feel like I got to play enough in higher player count games; I preferred a lower count because I got more turns and felt like I was able to build my deck more, and really do more within the game.
The expansion was a nice add components-wise, but I feel like the competitive mode just didn’t do it for me, and the game works better cooperatively so that everyone playing can be more involved.
I think if you like the theme and the look, and want a grandiose, dungeon defense c-op, you should check it out!
My Final Rating – 6/10
Designer – Luís Brüeh
Artist – Luís Brüeh
Publisher – Brueh Games Inc.
Brueh Games Website
*I was provided a copy of this game to do this review*
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