Okay students, we only allow the best of the best to graduate from the Dungeon Academy. There are 4 levels that you must complete in order to officially earn your diploma. Don't worry, if you fail one, you may still have a chance ... but better to pass them all if you know what's good for you. Potions, monsters, and loot all await you within these rooms - because as a dungeoneer you must be ready for anything. So, without further ado, pens at the ready, it's time to put you to the test!
What Is It?
A unique take on the popular roll and write genre! Dungeon Academy has you roll 16 dice inside of a cardboard dungeon and only lift the lid once the timer begins. It's then a race to get navigate through the monsters and positions so that you have the first pick of that level's loot! With 3 difficulties to choose from, players can scale the game based on their experience with the game.
Players will earn glory for every monster they defeat, and quests they choose to complete if they exit successfully. But players must also tread carefully, because if they run out of health or mana and encounter another foe, they will fail the level and collect zilch! (This doesn't bode well for graduation day ... )
Who Is It For?
I found this, overall, to be a pretty approachable roll and write game, so I would actually recommend it to a lot of different kinds of gamers. It has fun and inviting artwork, alongside a fun theme. Plus, the mechanics are pretty straightforward.
The game says ages 10+ and that's definitely accurate. It's not too hard for younger audiences, and has some variable dice to take it up a notch for more experience gamers. The game can also play up to 6, so I think that it would be a fun one for families as well.
Anyone who enjoys the fantasy theme will likely enjoy this because it really applies the theme to the gameplay well. I would also say that you should be a fan of fast/racing elements in games since players will need to think quick to make their path and grab exit cards once they complete each level.
Contents + Quality
Cards - Nice card quality, sturdy. Gorgeous colors and art which is a huge draw of this game.
Cardboard Pieces - The health and mana tokens are double sided to make things nice and easy. Those and the teacher figure are nice quality.
Dice - Very nice dice, good weight to them. Don't seem like the images will rub off easily which is always good. Also helps that you don't consistently roll them. All the symbols are very clear as to what they are. The monsters are also distinct in shape in case you have trouble with colors. Some of mine have a bit of a pinkish coloring on them that seems like a production error, but it isn't anything that I found super distracting personally.
Dungeon - Sturdy cardboard, easy to build, and holds the dice perfectly. It's a really unique and fun element of the game!
Rules - Well written, great details and examples to help you through your first game. Very straightforward, you probably won't even need the rulebook after a few plays!
Box/Insert - The box is quite big for what's inside it. There's a lot of room/empty space (maybe room for future expansions? hmmmm...).
Training VS Full Game - Training mode does not include the Labyrinth or Boss dice, while the full game has the Labyrinth die replace 1 die from level 2 on and the Boss die replaces another in level 4. For your first play, or if you tend to play with a younger audience, Training Mode might be the way to go, but having played both ways, I think the full game is well worth diving into. It doesn't change things too drastically, and still lets players get a feel for the mechanics before throwing in a die with more different sides. If you play any games regularly, these special dice will not add much to the complexity, so go for it!
No Mercy! - In this variant, players are not allowed to erase their paths or cross out any errors. It's cool to try, but personally, I prefer to be allowed to erase, so it isn't for me. But definitely worth a shot if you're comfortable with the game and really want a challenge.
Solo - Solo mode plays very much the same and your score is compared against a Hero Scale, so you're always trying to improve! If you're a solo gamer frequently, definitely try this one out. (Get really good and then invite your friends to play!)
Overall, I really enjoy this neat roll and write game. I love the theme, the art, the smooth gameplay, and especially how well that all fits together! I feel like it can easily be introduced to kids, families, new gamers, seasoned gamers, and everyone in between and outside of that alike, and that it could be enjoyed by everyone across the spectrum as well.
I definitely recommend this game, especially if roll and writes are your thing as much as they are mine (okay, maybe I'm a little biased, but I promise this one stands out in its genre). If you have the opportunity, definitely check this game out!
My Final Ratings
Overall Game: 8/10
Difficulty: 3/10* (unless racing/timed elements really aren't your thing)
Designer - Julian Allain
Artist - Régis Torres
Publishers -Matagot, Gen-X Games, USAopoly (TheOP)
MSRP - $29.99
*I was provided a copy of this game to do this review*
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