Crusaders Games

Dungeon Alternatives

This list includes alternative dungeon exploration games that come in a more compact box, or are not so reliant on miniatures as the big dungeon crawlers. These provide an adventure experience, but perhaps with less expense, a quicker play time, or a more static map area. These can be either competitive or co-operative :

1. Thunderstone Advance  / Quest – Alderac (2012 / 2018)

A competitive deckbuilding game, where players each turn will work from a hand of six drawn cards to build a short strategy for the round. They will gradually improve their decks by obtaining or upgrading heroes, and buying new weapons and equipment from the village in order to enter the dungeon and defeat monsters. This game has great theme and artwork, and a number of expansions, so that the choices for game set up using different monsters or equipment becomes huge. This game is easy to learn and play, but working out some killer move combinations does take more strategic thought. Setting up themed dungeons to play is immensely enjoyable, and I have adapted the boxed solo rules to my own version to make it more enjoyable and tactical > Thunderstone Solo. The game was relaunched as Quest in 2018 with new fresh looking artwork and adding in new village options, dungeon room tiles, wounds and making the overall gameplay more interesting and engaging, as there are more choices to make each turn, and the dungeon feels a little more real. It will not stay as a compact box once you start expanding but it is a great dungeon game.

2. Ravage : Dungeons of Plunder – Beardy Brothers (2018)

A smaller box dungeon crawl and a quicker game, offering solo, co-operative and competitive options, and featuring Orc characters as the main heroes. This is standee based and uses standard size cards as dungeon tiles, making it a more compact, cheaper game. The usual dungeon exploring aspects are all here, varied locations, enemies, some boss monsters with more intelligence, a goblin to sell you new equipment, and skills levelling. What stands out is the excellent artwork and illustrations and some neat ideas such as hatching spider eggs and varied boss attacks. This is lovely game providing a dungeon crawl experience on a slightly smaller scale, and offers enough depth within the hero boards, with varied skills and four heroes that play quite differently. It may eventually need some new enemies and locations to add extra variety, but fortunately this is something being worked on for the future. This is dungeon crawling without high expense, modelling and painting, and also requires less time to complete, and works for solo play too.

3. Dungeonquest – Fantasy Flights (2014)

This dungeon adventure game has been around since 1985, originally produced by games workshop it is updated with improved artwork and components by fantasy flights. This is a push your luck style adventure where you gradually lay small tiles on a board as you progress towards the central treasure chamber where a dragon in sleeping. If you manage to get there, you must try to steal treasure before he awakens. This game is largely about unfortunate events and survival, and once you know this, it becomes a fun game, as you laugh at terrible things that happen to your heroes. The combat mechanic has always been a weaker point, and largely remains so, but it is quicker now in the newer version and isn’t quite such a dominant game feature. There is a new deeper catacombs level idea which works pretty well providing underground short cuts but with greater risk attached, and a new torchlight rule too. With a time track counting down before the dungeon traps you all in, the play time is consistent and not overly long. This game is extremely luck based, but is a fun and dangerous adventure where the chances of survival are very low indeed.

4. Warhammer Quest Adventure Card Game – Fantasy Flights (2015)

This small box co-operative card and dice game has the Warhammer Quest dungeon crawling theme and brand at its heart, and sets up a neat character and player interaction, as your heroes interact and support each other to complete quests. In line with the original miniatures game, monsters will come thick and fast from the shadows, and your characters each have a set of 4 actions to use to combat the dungeon, and combining them with each other is critical. There is a light but specific storyline being told by each of the quest cards, and the mechanic of using your card actions and dice rolling works beautifully. This game works really well for solo play, controlling two heroes and offering up tactical choices and story development. It is a relatively quick dungeon experience, but really needed more content to keep it fresh, which sadly we will not see officially due to licencing issues. I have written four custom scenarios which have become popular with game fans > Warhammer Quest Adventures

5. One Deck Dungeon – Asmadi (2016)

A tiny box game that features dungeon exploration using a deck of cards, combined with dice rolling and manipulation. Solo or co-operative, you search through a dungeon over three levels to find and defeat a boss monster, the deck of cards acting as a timer and providing doors for you to open and investigate. Fighting monsters or avoiding traps involves rolling your dice, representing your skills, and allocating them onto the cards to block reactions and damage. You have various ways to change your rolled dice to more useful ones from skills and potions. This is a very quick and fun adventure game and even better with the variety added in the new stand alone expansion called Forest of Shadows.

Previously Owned Alternative Fantasy Dungeon Games…

Due to space and funding restrictions i regularly trade out games to fund and try newer ones, producing an ever changing favourites list, but one of these sold games may be right for you.

Tannhauser / Space Hulk 3rd / Claustrophobia / Hybrid – two player competitive battles in varying themes, replaced by co-operative games generally when my interest in competitive battles dropped

Xenoshyft Dreadmire / Dragonfire / Aeon’s End – co-operative survival deck builders, replaced by Thunderstone Quest & Lord of the Rings LCG