Crusaders Games

Dungeon (alternative)

An alternative list of fantasy games which are set within a dungeon or similar dark setting but are maybe not classed as purist dungeon crawl, and may be less about random dungeon exploration or not so reliant on the miniatures as an integral part of the experience :

1. Nemesis – Awaken Realms (2018)

This is a co-operative and competitive hybrid survival game set on a dark space ship, with a strong aliens theme and amazing production quality. Each of the six characters in the core set have unique skills and strengths and you will play to survive and escape from the ship, but with your own secret agendas and objectives to complete, some of which can be traitor style if selected. Playing Nemesis is an absolute blast, as this game produces tension and atmosphere and you will soon be needing multiple rooms or items to survive or remove contamination, as well as ensuring the ship is not destroyed by fire or mechanical breakdown. Towards the end you will be dragging your broken body towards the escape pods or hibernation chamber, afraid you will alert intruders at just the wrong moment. My more detailed overview > Nemesis

2. Gloomhaven / Jaws of the Lion – Cephalofair (2017 / 2020)

A co-operative tactical campaign adventure with a dungeon setting and branching storyline pathways, more a series of strategy combat challenges than a roaming dungeon crawl. Driven by card hand management, this is a legacy style game where you start with six characters who will eventually be retired to bring in new ones to the game. Game balance is well executed, scenarios are closely fought and monster difficulty is easy to change using statistics discs. Combat is card based choosing two cards to combine and play each round, and these also represent your stamina. This game is an ideal campaign for players liking a deeper and longer term co-operative challenge. A starter set Jaws of the Lion was released in 2020 and is a nice scaled down version, with easier to learn rules progression. My more detailed overview > Jaws of the Lion

 

3. Warhammer Quest Adventure Card Game / Heroes of Terrinoth – Fantasy Flights (2015 / 2018)

This small box co-operative card and dice dungeon crawl game sets up a neat character and player interaction, as your heroes interact and support each other to complete quests. Monsters will come thick and fast from the shadows, and your characters each have a set of four 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. It is a relatively quick dungeon experience, and mostly about combat, and its strength is in the hero interaction that takes place. I enjoyed the game so much i wrote four custom scenarios for the original game, which have become popular with game fans > Warhammer Quest Adventures

 

4. Dungeonquest – Fantasy Flights (2014)

This dungeon adventure game has been around since 1985, now updated with improved artwork and components. 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 and 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. 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. My more detailed overview > Dungeonquest

 

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

A smaller box dungeon crawl and a reasonably quick game for its type, 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, with varied locations, enemies, some boss monsters with more intelligence, a goblin to sell you new equipment, and skills leveling. With excellent artwork and illustrations, this is lovely looking game providing a dungeon crawl experience on a slightly smaller scale, and offers enough depth within the four hero player boards, with varied skills that play quite differently, and it could be considered a hidden gem. My more detailed overview > Ravage

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 games may be right for you.
 

Kingdom Death: Monster – Kingdom Death (2015)

A miniatures heavy co-operative campaign set in a nightmare world where you take settlement survivors on a journey through many lantern years, fighting strange creatures to improve your survival chances. Each year is split into three game sections, the hunt being a story preparation phase before you hit the monster showdown. The monster artificial intelligence cards brings thematic variation and interesting mechanics into play, beyond other dungeon crawl fighting, although ultimately general dice rolling mechanics are quite simplistic. The settlement phase is an addictive array of choices, learning new innovations, crafting weapons and armour, or choosing fighting skills. This game is very expensive, but the quality of components is high, and is a hobby game experience with modelling and painting playing an important part. My more detailed overview > Kingdom Death

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Sine Tempore – Ludus Magnus (2019)

A  miniatures based co-operative space campaign where four heroes are scouting out planets in search of a new homeworld. The core game has ten main story missions which are interspersed with quicker exploration missions which unlocks areas of the planet map to gather important resources which you can use to upgrade your spaceship or equipment. Models are great quality in hard plastic and with good detail, tiles are large with scenery having a three dimensional aspect that really stand out alongside the models. This game also has a unique momentum tracker which allows you more activation choices than usually seen. This is a dice roller, the story campaign is fun to play through, however resource gathering missions do slow progress too much. Overall this is a good space themed alternative to a dungeon crawl. My more detailed overview > Sine Tempore

Tannhauser / Space Hulk 3rd / Claustrophobia / Hybrid – all great model based two player competitive campaign battles in varying themes, but were replaced to invest in more co-operative style games

One Deck Dungeon / Roll Player – dungeon adventures featuring dice rolling manipulation, fun games but ultimately not my favoured game mechanic

Legends Untold – roleplaying style dungeon adventures, a pretty good small box game albeit a little fiddly on rules