Crusaders Games

Dungeon Alternatives

This list includes alternative dungeon exploration games to the core dungeon crawlers by varying the traditional gameplay, come in a more compact box, or are not reliant on miniatures . These provide an adventure experience, but perhaps with less expense, a quicker play time, or a more static map area, and 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 has many choices for game set up using different monsters or equipment. 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 Advance 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 certainly feels a little more real. It is not a compact box game, and whilst miniatures are included, they are generic player tokens rather than specific characters. This is a really great dungeon card game > Quest v Advance

2. 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

3. 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 player 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.

4. Dungeon Alliance – Quixotic (2018)

This dungeon game takes all the elements of a crawl and turns it into more of a strategic challenge. You will explore a dungeon with 4 characters, and they will have their own abilities and support cards that you play each turn to improve you actions. Over four rounds, you will draft better cards, and the dungeon will turn up the heat until you meet a boss style encounter or complete your exploration, with experience points the key measure of success in the competitive game. I much prefer this as a solo game, you have a set number of turns to achieve your goal, and will try to maximise your actions, with end of turn monster action cards to fight back at you. It has some of the feel of Mage Knight card play, distilled into a quicker experience, and it is thought provoking and fun. Components quality are mixed, the artwork for the hero cards are good, and the miniatures are small but of decent quality, however the tiles and monster art in particular are not going to challenge the better produced games around. This game is dungeon crawl themed, and is a good strategic solo game, with fairly deep rules and offers a different experience to your normal exploration games.

5. 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.

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