Friday, July 7, 2017

Dungeons of Infinity Kickstarter Preview


Quick Look:

Info:
Designer: Jack Spoerner
Artists: Prabath Wijayantha
Publisher: Infinity and More
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 1-4
Ages: 12+
Playing Time: 60-120 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Dungeons of Infinity. I was sent a prototype version of the game. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.

Dungeons of Infinity is a tile-laying game of dungeon delving and monster fighting. Up to four players take on the roles of heroes recruited by King Farnsworth to brave the land's many dungeons. Whether you seek wealth, prestige, the glory of battle, or the captured princess, the dungeon is waiting!



The box art certainly helps to set the scene.

Review:

Rules and Setup:
Each round, a hero has a certain number of Action Point (AP) that they can spend to perform tasks such as moving between rooms, fighting enemies, picking up gear, and interacting with the merchant to purchase new items. If a player decides to enter a new room, they draw a dungeon tile and set it on the table and consult the Room Content Chart to find out what's in the room: a body, rubble, mist, or a treasure chest. Each of these has a different deck to draw from and could reveal treasure, enemies, or challenges to overcome.

Whenever a hero enters a new room and monsters attack them, the monster cards are placed in front of the hero's card, along with a reward card that is only available once the monsters have been defeated. Fighting monsters also grants experience, which boosts a hero's health and grants them access to more abilities. After all of a hero's AP has been spent, consult the Boss Event section of their card; if they performed an action that could provoke a boss, draw a Boss Event card to see if one enters the dungeon, and from where.

The entirety of the rules are much more in-depth than this, but the game comes with a reference guide detailing the more specific situations like cave-ins, noise, and the multitude of components. Win conditions depend on the scenario you're playing and whether you're working cooperatively or against one another. Usually, though, the main goal is to traverse through the dungeon, complete your objective, and return to the exit alive.

We've got a lot of components to dive into!

Because so much of the game is worked out on the fly, setup is a breeze. The dungeon tiles (excluding the Merchant tile), as well as the Enemy, Risk, Reward, and Store decks, are shuffled and set aside. A Room Content Chart is selected, which will determine what items will be found throughout the dungeon, and ten cards are drawn from the store decks as the first items the Merchant has for purchase. Then players select a Hero and take their appropriate Hero card and Hero Ability cards. After marking their starting level, experience, and health, each player rolls a 20-sided die to determine the turn order, and the trek into the dungeon begins!

The heroes begin their journey to rescue Princess Isabella...

Theme and Mechanics:
The first thing worth noting is that Dungeons of Infinity does fairly well to bring the uncertainty of old-school dungeon crawlers back to the tabletop.The wide variety of monsters and obstacles, the attention to detail on making the heroes individuals, and the visual design of the cards and tiles do well to draw players into the world.

Each hero has a player token, a hand of ability cards, and a unique card detailing their stats.

What truly makes this game interesting is the blending of familiar mechanics, those most often attributed to Betrayal at House on the Hill and Zombicide. Much like Betrayal, players place a new tile down to enter a new room, unaware of what threats lie ahead of them until they've taken the risk of entering the new room. And similar to Zombiecide, a combination of player actions and luck largely determine what enemies spawn and where in the dungeon they appear. There's also some themes that pull from Dungeons & Dragons, not just in the artwork and theme, but also in a hero's ability to level up and gain additional skills over time.

The replayability of the game comes from its multitude of scenarios. The game booklets outline how to play a variety of game modes, ranging from collecting gold to hunting dungeon bosses. All game modes also have a competitive and a cooperative version. Should you want more of a developed story instead, the game comes with mini-campaigns that center around the heroes and contain pregenerated dungeons and a plot that continues throughout multiple dungeons. Having a multitude of game types that do such different things makes for a game that can fill a lot of niches.

The first part of the King's Daughter mini-campaign.

Artwork and Components:
The artwork for the cards, tiles, and components are varied and well-designed. The monsters in particular are quite creepy in their realism and in making the dungeon threats seem more dire. Along with this, the overall look of the materials (faded brown colors, offset by bright lettering and simple symbols) helps to further tie the game together.

A sampling of the creatures you'll meet in the dungeons. Bosses like the Demon Lord get their own tokens!

A word of caution: this game has a lot of components. Three separate books, five summary sheets, 25 dungeon tiles, eleven different decks of cards (not counting the Hero cards or Hero Ability cards), five dice, and a large number of components to represent money, cave ins, lava, floods, room hazards, bosses, health, and pretty much anything else you'd need to mark. Thankfully, one of the three books serves as a reference guide and tells you the use of every component, as well as more information on rules and in-game descriptions.

It may seem like a lot, but each component serves a purpose.

The Good:
Dungeons of Infinity does an excellent job of making the dungeon crawler feel new again. Through its blending of mechanics, it provides a fun and rewarding experience, whether you're working as a team to hunt down bosses or competing to collect gold and escape with your life.

The Bad:
I'm personally not a fan of what feels like a very slow build to leveling up (you don't reach level two until you gain 10 experience, and then by 15 experience you're level five), and the large amount of components and rule books can be a turnoff for those looking for a more low-key experience.

Final Thoughts:
If you've ever been interested in getting into tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons but felt like there was way too much to wrap your head around, Dungeons of Infinity and its rule set actually serves as a half-decent primer to those sorts of complex, story-driven games.

Players Who Like:
Fantasy fans looking for an exciting and versatile board-game dungeon crawl, as well as those looking for a game with a mix of mechanics from Zombicide and Betrayal, will find it here.

I am giving Dungeons of Infinity 7 out of 10 super meeples.

7 10

Check out Dungeons of Infinity on:

     

Coming to KICKSTARTER soon...

About the Author:
David Jensen has tried his hand at everything from warehouse work and washing dishes to delivering pizza. Now, he writes reviews and works as an editor for a literary magazine. When not busy procrastinating, he's playing tabletop games with friends and writing fiction.

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