Players: 2 (3-4 with 2 sets)
Game Time: 20mins
We met the team from D6 Dungeon at the UK Games Expo 2021 and were immediately intrigued by their game being displayed and demonstrated (see our interview here).
D6 Dungeon has been designed and self published by the creator Richard Massey as Mleeg Boardgames through Kickstarter in 2020. This game is a unique and competitive twist on a classic dungeon crawl for two players (or up to four with two sets). In this game, players take turns rolling the dice and use the results to build/modify the dungeon and collect the gear needed to explore it (and get out). Now, experienced gamers will already be asking what is new about that?
What’s new is the introduction of the ‘Dungeon Waffle’. This is a 6x6 framework that holds the D6 dice as you build the dungeon. Players take turns to blindly draw one of the 36 custom dice from the bag and roll it. If the result is an item or spell, they keep it, and if it is a segment of dungeon they place it into the Waffle. Then the next player who will be facing a different side of the waffle will take their turn. The game ends when one player is able to get from one side of the waffle to the other (or if the dice supply runs out). This means not only building a path, but also collecting the items to get through the obstacles. This is not as easy as it may seem, however. It is not just the fickle luck of the dice rolling/fate that will hamper you in this endeavour. Players can use spells from dice results to modify the orientation of dice placed in the Waffle. Generally, this will be to try and make a path for them or to simply use up a spell dice result to help restock the dice bag. However, by doing this they will also be altering the view of their opponent(s).
When the game ends, players work out their score. This is worked out by points earned for a completed route and treasure retrieved/rolled and then deducting points lost from curses encountered. In testing the two player game the scoring seems mostly irrelevant as the player who makes a full path and can get through is going to be the winner 99.9% of the time. Scoring only seems to highlight how much you have won/lost by. This may potentially have more significance in a 3 – 4 player game, where the prestige of second and third place rather than dead last could be worth knowing.
So what do we think of D6 Dungeon?
The production value of the game is a bit mixed in my opinion. The 36 Custom dice are of a good, if a little basic, stock that is perfectly adequate. However, the Dungeon Waffle is made from a 1mm board material that is a bit fiddly and not the most durable to be putting together every time. Additionally, the rules and player guides are printed on three single fold sheets, rather than having a true booklet and reference cards for example. As this was self published, I can see that the cost implications of upgrading components would be difficult. But still a little bit of a shame not to have these luxuries.
Each set contains the two player Waffles, and the 36 dice needed for a two player game. It also provides half of the components for the three and four player Waffles, which in my mind is a bit of a waste for those only ever playing 2 players but it does mean that two groups with the game can meet and play using their base games without shelling out for an expansion that may not get used much. Currently you can buy a copy of D6 Dungeon for about £15 and a more hard wearing Dungeon Waffle for about £1.50 from D6 Dungeon - online (ecrater.co.uk)
In terms of game play, this is nice and simple. It takes very little time to learn the basics and the reference sheets are fairly clear to help you interpret your dice results and how to use them. Playing can certainly be frustrating at times especially if you just need one item or dungeon piece but the dice or your opponent keeps messing up your plans.
However, overall this is a unique and enjoyable game experience. Its only real detractors are the fiddly assembly and component production value. Therefore, D6 Dungeon just sneaks in at a four on our D6 scale, but an updated edition with higher quality pieces and all the gear needed for up to four players in one box could potentially score higher.