Deep, Dark Dungeon

DEEP, DARK DUNGEON
v1.0 Pre-Release
By Ed Wedig

Welcome to Deep, Dark Dungeon. You and the other players are Explorers who are trapped in an unmapped dungeon. You are searching for the Exit from the dungeon, but first you need the Key to unlock the grate that prevents you from leaving. Also, the Exit is guarded by a powerful Guardian, so to escape, you will need to defeat the Guardian. During your turn, you can explore more of the dungeon, encounter Monsters, and find Traps and Treasure.

Game components: 40 hex tiles, numbered 1 through 5. These represent different rooms of the dungeon, and their relative heights. 10 tiles are Encounters, 2 for each height of tile (2 #1s, 2 #2s, etc). There is 1 yellow #1 tile that is the Start, and 1 yellow #3 Exit tile. There are more #1s than #2s, more #2s than #3s, etc.

20 or so cards in the Encounter deck. This deck includes Monsters, Traps and Treasures and the Key. There are 2 Key cards: for a 2 player game, remove 1 Key card from the deck. For a 3-4 player game, use both Key cards.

4 pawns to represent the Explorers.

4 double sides Explorer cards. One side shows a full healthy Explorer, while the other shows a Hurt Explorer.

Game play: The game plays like this: First, you set out the Start tile, and give each player a pawn and an Explorer card. Shuffle all of the Encounter cards. Either put all of the tiles face down, or shuffle them in a bag. One player can then draw 6 tiles, one at a time, to fill in the area around the Start tile. Any Encounter tiles are discarded, and a new tile is drawn. Once all 6 tiles have been drawn and placed, any discarded Encounter tiles can be put back with the remaining tiles.

Players then may place their pawns on the Start tile.

Starting with the youngest player, the players take their turn by doing the following:

  1. Move their pawn 1 or 2 spaces (see Explorer card for available actions). The numbers on the tiles represent their relative heights, with 1 being the lowest, and 5 the highest. They may move to a tile that is 1 higher than their current tile, or 1 lower, or of the same height. If the player uses the Rope Treasure card, they can move between tiles of any height difference.
  2. If the player moved onto an Encounter tile, draw an Encounter card and resolve it.
  3. If there are any tiles left to draw, draw new tiles to “fill in” any empty spaces adjacent to the player’s tile. A player’s pawn must be surrounded by 6 more tiles, unless there are no more tiles to draw. If there are no empty spaces, no tiles are drawn. Players may place the tiles into any empty spaces, but must draw the tiles 1 at a time and place them before drawing another tile.
  4. Resolve any Encounter tiles that were drawn.
  5. Play passes to the left.

Encounter Cards: There are about ~20 cards (so far). They include several different strengths of Monsters, Traps (Pits, Slides, Giant Spider Webs, etc), and Treasure (Swords, Potions, and the Key).

Treasure Cards: When you draw a Treasure card, place it, face up, either to the left or right of your Explorer’s card. Explorers can only carry 2 Treasures at a time, so you will need to decide which Treasures you want to carry.

Special Rules:
Ties: Tie rolls always favor the player. If 2 players are fighting (see below), a tie roll means nothing happened.
Monsters: when an Explorer encounters a Monster, they each roll 1 die and add their current STR value (4 for healthy Explorers, 2 for Hurt Explorers). The Sword treasure card will help with this roll. High roll wins. If the Explorer wins, or there is a tie, the monster is scared away, and is discarded. If the Monster wins, the Monster will steal one Treasure card randomly (discard it). If the Explorer has no Treasure, then the Explorer becomes Hurt.
Hurt: When an Explorer becomes Hurt, you flip over their Explorer card. If the Explorer was already Hurt when they get Hurt again, they get knocked out and wake up back at the Start. Move their pawn back to the Start tile. Discard all of their Treasure cards, and remain Hurt.
Attacking: Explorers may attack other Explorers. Each player rolls 1 die and adds their current STR. High roll wins. Swords do help with this roll. Explorers may attack Explorers on adjacent tiles.
If the attacker wins, they take 1 Treasure card randomly from the target. If the target wins, or the roll is tied, nothing happens.
The Key: The Key is needed to unlock the Exit and escape. If a player has the Key, and loses a fight with a Monster (or the Guardian), the Key is discarded AND the discard pile is shuffled back into the draw deck.
The Guardian: The Exit from the Dungeon is not only locked, it is protected by the Guardian, a STR 5 creature. This creature will only fight Explorers that move onto the Exit hex (unlike other monsters, who fight when drawn). If a player defeats the Guardian, they can use the Key and escape the dungeon. If they fail, the Guardian takes the Key (and only the Key), and hides it in the dungeon. Discard the Key and shuffle the discard pile back into the draw pile.

<Here is the original version, called Escape from the Deep, Dark Dungeon.>

A while back at Origins 2011, I found small, 1″ mdf hexes at the Gale Force 9 booth, and I bought a bunch of them. They have been sitting around, but I din’t have an idea of what to do with them until recently.

I have 2 games that are currently “shelved” until I get some time to work on them: Ship Wreckers (a pirate squad vs pirate squad treasure hunting/combat game), and Unpossible Heroes (a comedy super-heroes rpg). Right now, I have a number of freelance projects on my plate that I need to get done before I can get back to either of those games.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I had a brain-bug of a game idea…and it wouldn’t leave me alone. Every time I would get a few spare minutes to think (driving in the car, watching tv, etc), this game idea would pop up and I could almost see how it would work.

Finally, after about 2 weeks of this idea bugging me, I broke down and put together a prototype. It was just some stickers on 20 or so tiles, and a half-dozen cards. I talked Daniel (my son) into playing one night…and we played 5 games, adding new cards along the way. He loved it! (He was upset when it was bedtime, and couldn’t play anymore.)

ESCAPE FROM THE DEEP, DARK DUNGEON

Here is the game’s premise: You and the other players are Explorers who are trapped in an unmapped dungeon. You are searching for the Exit from the dungeon, but first you need the key to unlock the grate that prevents you from leaving. During your turn, you can explore more of the dungeon, encounter Monsters, and find Traps and Treasure.

Game components:

  • 40 hex tiles, numbered 1 through 5. These represent different rooms of the dungeon, and their relative heights. 10 tiles are Encounters (purple in the above picture), and there are 2 for each height of tile (2 #1s, 2 #2s, etc). There is 1 #1 tile that is the Start (yellow in the above picture). There are more #1s than #2s, more #2s than #3s, etc.
  • 20 or so cards, representing Monsters, Traps and Treasures. The Key and Exit cards are part of this Encounter Deck.
  • 4 pawns to represent the Explorers.
  • 4 double sides Explorer cards. One side shows a full healthy Explorer, while the other shows a Hurt Explorer.
  • Originally, there was a Treasure that you would need to get before leaving the dungeon (seen in the above picture). But, after thinking about it, that didn’t make much sense, especially because the Exit card would come up before the Treasure was located. So, the Treasure was replaced with the Key.

Game play:

The game plays like this: First, you set out the Start tile, and give each player a pawn and and Explorer card. Shuffle all of the Encounter cards. Either put all of the other tiles face down, or shuffle them in a bag.

Players take turns drawing 1 tile and placing it around the Start tile. Any Encounter tiles drawn are set aside, and the player can draw a new tile.

Once the 6 starting tiles are drawn, place any Encounter tiles that were drawn back in the bag (or flip them over and shuffle all of the un-drawn tiles). Players then may place their pawns on the Start tile.

Starting with the youngest player, the players take their turn by doing the following:

  1. Move their pawn 1 space. They may move to a tile that is 1 higher than their current tile, or 1 lower, or of the same height. If the player uses the Grappling Hook Treasure card, they can move between tiles of any height difference.
  2. If the player moved onto an Encounter tile, draw an Encounter card and resolve it.
  3. If there are any tiles left to draw, draw new tiles to “fill in” any empty spaces adjacent to the player’s tile. If there are no empty spaces, no tiles are drawn. Players may place the tiles into any empty spaces, but must draw the tiles 1 at a time and place them before drawing another tile.
  4. Resolve any Encounter tiles that were drawn.
  5. Play passes to the left.

Encounter cards:

There are about 20 cards (so far). They include several different strengths of Monsters, Traps (Pits, Slides, Giant Spider Webs, etc), Treasure (Swords, Potions, and the Key), and the Exit card.

Special Rules:

Monsters: when an Explorer encounters a Monster, they each roll 1 die and add their current STR value (4 for healthy Explorers, 2 for Hurt Explorers). The Sword treasure card will help with this roll. High roll wins. If the Explorer wins, or their is a tie, the monster is scared away, and is discarded. If the Monster wins, the Monster will steal one Treasure card randomly (discard it). If the Explorer has no Treasure, then the Explorer becomes Hurt.

Hurt: When an Explorer becomes Hurt, you flip over their Explorer card. If the Explorer was already Hurt when they get Hurt again, they get knocked out and wake up back at the Start. Move their pawn back to the Start tile. They lose all of their Treasure Tiles, but they do wake up fully healed (flip their card back to Healthy).

Attacking: Explorers may attack other Explorers. Each player rolls 1 die and adds their current STR. High roll wins. Swords do help with this roll. Explorers may attack Explorers on adjacent tiles. If the attacker is attacking from a tile 1 higher than the target tile, they get a +1 to their roll. If they are attacking from a tile 1 lower, they get a -1. Attacks from tiles more than 1 difference in height are impossible.

If the attacker wins, they take 1 Treasure card randomly from the target. If the target wins, or the roll is tied, nothing happens.