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Defend your dungeon

Keep the heroes out is a 1-4 players dungeon defense game in which you must defend your domain and the sweet precious gold that you have hoarded in there against a horde of greedy and devious heroes. The campaign will be live on Kickstarter on September 14.

Image source: BGG

First, you must pick one of the six available scenarios. Each scenario comes with a specific dungeon layout (always using the same 10 tiles, as they each serve a specific purpose), and a few additional rules (for instance, in one scenario, frogs are rebellious and try to attack you). Then, you must choose a monster clan (among dragon, skeletons, ratkins, and knockers), which will grant you the corresponding meeples, a special ability, and a deck of 10 cards, of which you draw 5 initially. You must also draw several items to set on display in the General Store: these items can be crafted and are then replaced by new items. Finally, you prepare the Guild deck from which you will draw heroes. Every round, you will draw a number of cards depending on the difficulty, and these heroes will invade your dungeon. Once you go through the whole deck, a new level begins. Depending on the difficulty, you may need to survive two or three such levels to win the game, but with each additional level, more heroes are drawn every round, making it tougher overall.

The game alternates between your turns and Heroes invasions. On your turn, you can play as many cards as you want from your hand. Then, you may discard unused cards to renew one card from the General Store. You end your turn by drawing cards back up to 5. When playing cards, you may take the listed actions (sometimes you must choose between two sets of actions). Actions allow you to draw new cards, use your special ability, summon meeples in the dungeon, move them, attack heroes sharing a room with one of your meeples, or from an adjacent room if you perform a ranged attack, dig a tunnel between two rooms, place a trap in one of the rooms, or place a resource matching the dungeon tile type (books in the library, frogs in the sewer, coins in the treasure room, traps in the tinker room, bones in the cemetery), provided you have a meeple there. These resources may also be placed by using an “activate” action.

Image source: BGG

Four other rooms allow you to craft items by using an activate action if you have a meeple there and the required resources (resources need to be carried around by a meeple). That way, you craft Weapons in the forge by spending coins, get new Pets at the Pet Trainer by spending bones, brew Potions in the Witch’s den by spending frogs, and decipher Magic Scrolls in the Study room by expending books. These crafted cards go to your discard pile and will be shuffled back into your deck once empty, thus introducing a deck-building dimension to the game. Once per turn, you may also draw a Hero from the Guild Deck and send that Hero to the Prison, but beware, as if this Hero is a Mage, all captive heroes will break out and interrupt your turn to activate. In any case, sending a Hero to the Prison tile allows you to draw 3 new cards.

Then, the Heroes Invasion begins! You draw as many heroes as specified by the difficulty and the current level. A hero card indicates a hero type and a room type. You must then add a token matching the hero type in the two rooms that share the revealed type. Each token is resolved separately. Once you place a hero token, their ability immediately triggers. Archers shoot on monsters in adjacent rooms (they lose 1 HP). Warriors plunder two resource tokens from the room they are added in. Rogues remove 1 trap token. Mages, if popping up in the Prison, will free all prisoners. Then, your traps activate, each of them dealing one hit to a Hero (this is sufficient to kill most of them). Then, the hero motivates other heroes of the same kind in the room, so that they are no longer exhausted. Next, the hero attacks a monster, dealing one hit. If there is no monster in a room, and if there are enough heroes active, they will loot the room, revealing a random treasure chest with a random effect. Attacking or looting exhaust the heroes involved. If there is nothing to do in the room though, all active heroes will charge into the next room, trying to get closer to the Treasure Room, and then attack or loot if possible, charging again if not.

If the Heroes manage to loot all four chests of the Treasure Room, you lose the game! If you manage to go through the Guild Deck of the last level, then you win.

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Cadet Stimpy
Cadet Stimpy
Sep 09, 2021

I like it. Especially the cartoony art. 🙂 I hope the Solo Mode is good/fun.

Image Source: Video Capture on BGG

Sep 11, 2021
Replying to

Ah! I am about to receive the complete deluxe collected edition of Lovecraft works in the newest French translation (it's seven hardback volumes), and I thought it could be a perfect birthday gift indeed! I hadn't thought about offering me games though.

Incidentally, this Lovecraft collection is the first project I ever crowdfunded, and the one that hooked me into this madness.

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