Published in 1975 by TSR, the quintessential classic dungeon crawl board game, Dungeon! captured the most basic aspects of role-playing and dungeon exploration. Developed by deceased Dungeons and Dragons creator Gary Gygax, Dungeon! relied heavily on D&D monsters, traps, spells and treasure.
Starting with an Elf, Hero, Superhero or Wizard, players took their characters on hack-and-slash adventures around the game board. The board consisted of six dungeon levels, with the difficulty of monsters and the value of treasure increasing as the character approached the sixth level. Players won the game when they collected the requisite amount of gold or treasure and made it back to the starting space with their treasure.
The different character classes each had unique abilities, and required varying treasure amounts to win the game.
- The Elf required 10,000 gold pieces to win, and had double the normal chance to find secret doors.
- The Hero required 10,000 gold pieces to win, and had no special abilities, but was a slightly better fighter than the Elf.
- The Superhero required 20,000 gold pieces to win, and was the best fighter among the four classes.
- The Wizard required a whopping 30,000 gold pieces to win, but could cast attacking spells at monsters without entering combat. They could also teleport to different rooms within the dungeon.
Dungeon! Was fairly challenging when characters just fought with monsters, but when players attacked each other, it took the game to a whole new level. Since the Superhero and Wizard were the most dominant classes, those characters could defeat the lesser classes and take their belongings, making the game very difficult for the Elf or Hero. Sometimes, a situation would arise where more than one player had gained enough gold to win the game, and a race back to the start/finish ensued.
The Dungeon! board game was good fun in its time, and is still worth playing today, kept in its proper context. Since more elaborate games of similar style have been developed, modern players might get bored easily, but those who played the game in its heyday will probably still enjoy a trip around the board or two.