Sometimes you're looking for a light game, perhaps to ease the tension after a long heavy euro game or a draining role-playing game (RPG) encounter. Sometimes you're just looking for an entertaining tongue-in-cheek party game. That's where Horrible Guild's Dungeon Fighter comes in. Designed by Lorenzo Silva, Lorenzo Tucci Sorrentino and Aureliano Buonfino, it's a fully cooperative Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fantasy themed party game for 1-6 players. Art is by Giulia Ghigini and you'll find parodies of all your favourite fantasy game tropes. There's a bunch of dice (custom d6) but rather than rolling them, you'll be bouncing them off the table to try to land on an archery target board. Dungeon Fighter, then, gives new meaning to the term 'dice chucker'.
Tho' there's a tad more to the rules than in the game's first edition, Dungeon Fighter's rules are still very simple. Players each take on a character with their own individual abilities. These are extras that kick in when your die lands with its activation icon face up (a 50% chance with one of the coloured dice but only a 1 in 6 chance with one of the white 'bonus' dice). Each round the players draw two dungeon cards (a choice between two paths) and they choose which one to take. The icons on the dungeon card will show how many steps it will take them before they reach the market. You'll need to collect 10 icons to reach the market, and you'll need to reach the market three times to trigger the end-game Boss fight.
Along the way, players will encounter monsters. To kill them, you need to score hits. Dungeon Fighter tho' is a dexterity game. That means bouncing your dice on the table in order to land on the target board. The number of hits the monster takes is determined by where the die lands. That of course assumes it lands somewhere on the target board: most players will find that more often than not your dice bounce annoyingly elsewhere. When that happens, it's a miss. Each of the three coloured dice can be bounced just once per combat. To get them back, the heroes all need to take damage equal to the monster's level! Alternatively, players can use the white bonus dice, provided they've bought them from the supply... You'll be picking up gold along the way that you can spend in the market to buy equipment, healing and white bonus dice.
There's more. As if bouncing dice to hit a target wasn't challenging enough, the monsters apply conditions on how you 'throw'. The bear, for example, requires that you flick the dice off your wrist; the zombie monkey demands that all throws are made by passing the die under your leg! Expect some silliness - it's a party game, and you'll find that it does indeed add to the fun, as well as to the sense of achievement when you manage to pull off a hit.
And that sense of achievement is a key element of the appeal of this otherwise unapologetically silly game. Because you're taking the physical action of bouncing a die to land on a target, combat feels much more visceral and real than merely rolling a dice. So much so that we've been tempted to draft this core Dungeon Fighter mechanic into our actual D&D games! And Horrible Guild have made that even easier by bringing out a series of distinctively themed standalone expansions. Watch this space for our upcoming visit to Dungeon Fighter's Castle of Frightening Frosts...