13 May Guild of Dungeoneering Review: Adorably Fun and Difficult
Article was originally posted on Geek Legacy on July 24, 2015
The Guild of Dungeoneering is an adorably difficult dungeon crawler that is built before your eyes. Ditching classic control schemes for a more automated approach, Guild can seem simple on the surface but provides an unexpected challenge with a humorous attitude.
The goal is simple; build up your guild while exploring dangerous new dungeons. You start with one dungeoneer, a “Chump” with basic skill sets and nothing too exciting. As you successfully explore more dungeons and earn more gold, your guild can expand to include bruisers, mages, cat burglars and more. Some dungeoneers are attack heavy, others are better at defending magic. Each dungeoneer has their own traits such as being afraid of spiders, a treasure hunter and so on, which effect the dungeoneer in various ways.
The entire game appears as though it’s being drawn on graph paper right in front of you. This style really supports the idea that you are the dungeon master and the dungeoneer. Your explorer’s path is already decided by the game, you need to decide what types of rooms and enemies they will face along the way. While possible to build around every enemy and avoid battle, you’ll find yourself in a more difficult predicament than if you leveled up by battling.
Each turn you are given a set of four cards that range from room types or paths, enemies and loot. You place room cards to provide a new patch for your dungeoneer and fill these rooms with enemies for them to gain experience. Battle is played in a similar manner; you and the AI enemy place cards that represent different attacks in hopes of dropping the others health down to zero. Each battle resets health and any perks as you move on to the next one.
As you fight enemies and level up, you earn loot that helps temporarily boost your dungeoneers stats. Main items such as forks and stilettos can add more melee cards to your pack, while armor such as the fluffy shirt (totally the pirate shirt from Seinfeld) allow you to absorb more damage. Levels reset after each dungeon so there is no grinding necessary, but it’s still advisable to fight as many enemies as you can in order to better prepare yourself for boss battles.
The items earned in dungeons, although temporary, add another strategic element to the Guild of Dungeoneering. Each character has their own base attacks and simple defense, but obtaining new items will expand your deck of battle cards for the current dungeon. There’s a good chance you will lost a lot of your dungeoneers in battle but the loss is not permanent as another character of the same class type will replace them instantly. You lost the character and progress in the dungeon, but still will earn gold that can be used to upgrade your guild and unlock new character types.
As you defeat more enemies and earn more gold, you can upgrade your guild in numerous ways. You purchase a new room for your guild, which can unlock a new dungeoneer class or blessing (a perk that aids your dungeoneer) to use in your next dungeon. There are three main upgrade trees, might, magic and loot. Each tree has three tiers that unlock better equipment, more powerful dungeoneers, active blessings and more.
The game is fairly basic but should not be underestimated. It took me nearly two hours to get through a dungeon with a boss battle at the end, losing countless dungeoneers in the process. When I re-entered the dungeon expecting to get the same results (but better), enemy placement was changed, the items I received were different and there were no perks to be found. Each dungeon must be entered and re-entered with a fresh mindset unless you want to add more tombstones to the graveyard.
Guild of Dungeoneering is absolutely worth the money. I cannot put it down as it’s just so delightful to play and easy to understand. The visuals are simple but exciting, the gameplay is straightforward but difficult and overall, this game is just plain fun. It’s a different take on the RPG genre that fans will enjoy and want to play through multiple times.
Guild of Dungeoneering is published by Versus Evil and developed by Gambrinous. It is currently available for Steam and GOG for $14.99 for the standard edition, with a deluxe edition for $19.99 that comes with the soundtrack.
Stephen Janes is also co-host of the Pixelated Podcast and occasionally writes for this fabulous site. You can follow his gaming nonsense on Twitter and YouTube.
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