The Master of Inquiries offered us his feedback on Dungeon Flee a few days ago, so I thought fitting to offer mine on Dungeon Run.
First of all, a bit of a backstory. I have know of this game for long, but it didn't look amazing for solo, and it was absolutely impossible to find, so I passed on it. Yet, one month ago, I found a second hand copy at my FLGS. I didn't buy it by then. But a few days ago, a new lockdown has been announced by the government and my FLGS is now closed for an unknown duration as a result. So just after the announcement and before the restrictions could take effect, I went there to buy the second-hand copy of Dungeon Run, as a token of support.
Too late. I couldn't find it. The seller told me he sold it. Well, he's a bit of jerk, so I didn't believe him, and I searched a bit more thoroughly: the game was there indeed, waiting for me in its hideout. Now it could be mine.
Tonight I set it up an played it. It took me twenty-five minutes to get to the boss and slay it with my Dwarf Treasure Hunter.
It was disappointing. For a few reasons:
- the game is not truly meant for solo. It's more of a party game with lots of backstabbing between the players.
- in the solo mode, you don't have the "special abilities" to add to your character when it "levels up". So it feels certainly blander.
- the game is short. Too short. The dungeon is made of six tiles. It means you encounter at most six monsters before the final face off. I encountered four.
- I only found one piece of loot that my character couldn't equip anyway.
So, the final fight against the boss was just roll, roll, roll. No mitigation, no choice, just roll mindlessly until one of us dies. If you haven't abilities and haven't any loot, all you can do is to spam your basic attack.
Due to mere luck and against the odds, I won. Nothing to be proud of, really.
Too bad. It could have been a much better game. The components are really nice, and placing the tiles is fun. But it would require extended house-ruling to make it a decent solo crawler.
I applaud your decision, although I must say it was a unique encyclopedic collecting habit. 🙂
Well done on getting rid of it. 🙂
Well, I didn't want to bother finding a decent set of rules, so I sold it. No profit, no loss, except I was too lazy to remove the sleeves (but I played it once so it compensates). And the buyer took another game of mine in the process, so that's a win (non-solo Carnival of Monsters, I refused to play because it's about capturing wild animals to show them exhibitions to make money; somehow I thought upon buying it that it would bother me less, a bit in a Pokemon-fashion, but here it was too heavily insistent upon that).
The variant proved to complicated to sort out. In particular, there is a rule named "assist" that allows one hero to contribute to another hero fight, winning one HP in the process. That's an important way to get your life back. But it also makes two co-operating heroes over-powered.
The other flaw is that the dungeon is really small, so you don't face many enemies nor find many items during your dive. This could be tweaked by adding more tiles before the boss lair, but then you are over-powered against it... Weird game really.
Oh, it's okay. First, I'm happy to have tried it. Second, it will sell easily on the second hand market (there is only one copy right now and it's 50% more expensive than I paid, so I can sell it with no loss). I knew that when I bought it, otherwise I would have hesitated. Third, I have an idea for an alternative solo mode which might restore some of the game's fun. I rather like the core mechanisms, simple yet efficient.
The core idea is to mimick the story of Beyond Divinity, so you'd play with two heroes, but one is a bad guy you must kill in the end (or escape from). Except until the charm that binds you together is broken by killing the dungeon overlord, if one of you dies, you both die; if one of you level up, you both level up (just as in Beyond Divinity). I have yet to work out the details but it might be fun.
Too bad that jerk shop owner hadn't hidden it better.