Dec 29, 2007

Dungeoneer RPG update

The Dungeoneer RPG is 3 books in 1 box: Hero's Guide, Dungeonlord's Guide, and World Guide.

The Hero's Guide is completed and in layout.
The Dungeonlord's Guide is nearing completion and I expect to get the final revised document for layout at any time now.
The World Guide is even further along than the Dungeonlord's Guide.

The set looks to include 220 cards, over half the cards are done. It will also include tokens and dice.

I am currently working on finishing the covers for the 3 books. To the right you can see the sketch for the Dungeonlord's Guide. The high priestess of Nakari, who rules Ilbor Paiden with an iron fist, has a problem knight executed for his transgressions against the holy state (or as some would see it, the un-holy state).

As I've stated many times, this project has been a labor of love, not just some corporate product. Richard (the co-designer) and I have taken are time to make something we consider to be special. We hope that you will enjoy the Dungeoneer RPG as much as we have enjoyed creating it.

By all measures it looks like the Dungeoneer RPG is on track to be published in early 2008.

Nov 15, 2007

Dungeoneer Miniatures release date?

Dungeoneer minis have been awaiting the release of the Dungeoneer RPG. The Dungeoneer RPG has been held up by design and playtest.

Basically the goal for the Dungeoneer RPG was to not create just another "fantasy heartbreaker" but to genuinely bring something new and successful to the field. One crucial component has been to utilize Dungeoneer cards in the RPG. This has advantages and drawbacks. I am quite happy with the design, and the local playtests have been highly successful. But we have had a lot of bugs to stomp out in the system, and it has been a challenge to reduce complexity. It is really meant to be a newbie friendly game system. It is RPG lite.

We are a week away from getting the final documents ready for edit, then they will go to layout. This means our hope is for a Q1 release for the RPG (March 2008). Since this product has been a labor of love we have been more concerned with quality than with release dates. Sorry, I know those interested only have so much capacity for anticipation before other things fill the gap. There are so many good games and competition for gamer's time.

Nov 13, 2007

Readers of this Dungeoneer blog are smart

Found this interesting analysis tool which allows you to determine the reading level of your blog.

Oct 21, 2007

Dungeoneer RPG layout test

I've been going over the first pass documents of the 3 books in the Dungeoneer RPG and preparing some preliminary layout designs. My goals in the layout are 1. Legibility and 2. Cool Looking. I want to avoid wall to wall block of texts with no space to breathe, but I don't want so much graphics that the book is illegible and unusable during game play. The approach I'm experimenting with here is a double-page spread that introduces a major chapter, which you can see in this example from the world guide. This spread introduces the major nation of Ilbor Paidan. The rest of the chapter will be more functional and less graphic intensive. I'll put up an example of that when I get one I kind of like. For now enjoy this sneak peek.

Oct 7, 2007

Dungeoneer RPG documents have been delivered

Richard Plockington, the primary author of the Dungeoneer role-playing game has delivered the next-to final documents. He recently ran a playtest at the local Gamescape in San Rafael California, which went quite well. Fun was had by all! (you can see some of Richard's design work on such excellent Dungeon Crawl Classics as The Sunken Ziggarat )

I'm in the process of doing a final review, making sure game terminology is used consistently and some minor organizational changes. The document will then go to Goodman Games for a final edit, which is due in mid-November. After that I'll take the final edited document and lay them out with art and graphics for the boxed set.

Currently the contents are looking something like this:
  • 3 booklets
  • 220 cards
  • 100 peril/glory tokens
  • dice
  • character sheets
The booklets are: player's guide, dungeonlord's guide, and world guide.

Note this is not final and it is possible the exact contents may change a bit, but this is pretty close to what it will be. We are working hard to have it to you early next year!

Sep 4, 2007

Dungeoneer Scenarios Design Diary 2: pre-designed maps

Dungeoneer Scenarios will contain several illustrated scenarios for you to get the most out of your Dungeoneer sets. Since I want to provide a wide variety of pre-constructed Dungeon layouts it would not be an option to print out poster-sized maps for retail purchase.

An idea I have been toying with for sometime is having pre-constructed Dungeons printed on canvas. This would be a flexible, durable, and portable "game board" in addition to looking and feeling cool. The problem is printing on canvas is quite expensive! There are some POD (print on demand) options, but each Dungeon would cost $40 or so for a decent size. However, for those who are really interested some of the best scenarios will be available on my Zazzle storefront so players will have the option of purchasing printed scenarios on canvas or heavy-weight poster paper.

We are still looking for scenario submissions if you have a good idea for a pre-constructed Dungeon, or Wilderness, or both!

Jul 23, 2007

Dungeoneer Scenarios: Solo Play

One of the most common requests I've heard from players, online and in person, is for a good set of solo rules to play Dungeoneer by.

Dungeoneer was designed as a multiplayer game from the beginning. For a game to be successful I believe it has to have a strong social aspect, players must be able to interact frequently, a game should foster communication. One of the reasons I think so many dungeon-crawl boardgames (and card games) have failed in the past is because each player takes his or her turn independent of what the other players are doing. This creates isolation and reduces the crucial community aspect of game playing! Dungeoneer solves this by forcing player interaction each turn through the Peril/Glory mechanic and the Dungeonlord/Hero phases of each player's turn. This interaction is the heart of the game - well, almost.

Quests are the only time a player is really "playing in isolation" compared to the rest of the game. And Quests are the other piece of the heart of the game.

So how do we go about creating a compelling solo player experience out of a game intended for multiple players? The answer must lie in the Quest system. And this means the solo player's goal must be almost exclusively to complete Quests. I've seen several solo variants floating around on the Internet, and I do pay attention to how others have tried to solve the problem. It almost always boils down to automating the Dungeonlord aspect of the game, and allowing the players to focus on playing their Hero. Still, there are many cards such as those with Shift and Warp effects that only make sense in a multiplayer game. After considering all the solo rules what we've ended up doing is choosing 4 solo rules variants and polishing them. In addition we've put together a collection of modular solo rules that can be used with any of the solo variants. This is the basic description of each variant:

Variant 1, Run Forest Run:
In this variant the goal is to complete 3 Quests and return to the Entrance to win the game. All "problem cards" are removed from the deck.

Variant 2, Revise Problem Cards:
In this variant, similar to the first the goal is to complete 3 Quests and return to the Entrance to win. But it has a breakdown of all the "problem cards" and explains how to use them in a solo context. Yeah, more consulting the book, but you can use all the cards.

Variant 3, Simple:
The turn order is cut down significantly. Problem cards are removed. None of the modular variants are used, instead it describes it's own abbreviated variants.

Variant 4, Scenarios:
This isn't so much a set of solo rules, as it is various scenarios using the cards in a pre-determined manner to create interesting problems to solve with your Hero (some even as the Dungeonlord to slay all the heroes defiling your evil lair before they can kill off your Boss monster and make off with your captive Princess...).

Now, I'm sure I've disappointed many of you since I haven't put up a full solo rules set for you to try out. Sorry, but you'll have to pick up Dungeoneer Scenarios for that when it comes out. Besides, we are still testing them out.

Happy Dungeoneering!

Jul 15, 2007

Dungeoneer: Polish Editions

One of the greatest pleasures has been seeing Dungeoneer published in various languages. So far we have French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Polish. I recently toured Rome and was surprised to find a game store right across the street from our hotel! It was exciting to see that they stocked the Italian version of Dungeoneer - they even had the Italian Vault of the Fiends which I had not received a copy of yet from the publisher, so of course I bought one. :)

However, I must say that the Polish editions are far and away the highest production values of all editions, even beating our own American edition! The box is sturdy, full of all the components needed to play (including hero stands!) and it is a very nice size. The printing itself is very true to the actual art as I illustrated it (most non-Polish editions have come out too dark, losing much of the detail). I don't know how to get a hold of copies here in America, but they would be well worth getting just for the components to use for playing the American sets with. If anyone knows how to get copies please let me know. :)

Tomb of the Lich Lord

Vault of the Fiends

Dragons of the Forsaken Desert

Haunted Woods of Malthorin (combined with Den of the Wererats)

And Realm of the Ice Witch is currently in production.
Polish Publisher: Galakta

(Images gathered from posted by Łukasz Czajka (thanks Łukasz!!!)

Jun 17, 2007

Dungeoneer Adventures: the roleplaying game

An update on Dungeoneer products in development:

We have been working on the Dungeoneer roleplaying game for a couple of years now. Hopes were that we'd have it in time for the Gencon game convention this year. That won't happen. Simply put I am far more concerned with quality than with a deadline at this point.

Currently Dungeoneer is being developed into a line of miniatures by Aberrant Games (I've seen the early casts, they look very cool), a roleplaying game by Goodman Games, as well as the Dungeoneer Scenarios book by my own Studio Denmark to support the card game. So my hands are quite full at the moment.

If you haven't been following the designer blogs by Richard Plockington, who is writing and co-designing the RPG, I recommend you take a gander. They are quite interesting and I'm enjoying seeing Dungeoneer through another designer's eyes.

Here is a very rough, very unreliable schedule for these various Dungeoneer products:
  • Dungeoneer Scenarios: Gencon 2007
  • Dungeoneer Miniatures: Gencon 2007
  • Dungeoneer Adventures RPG: next year sometime...

Talk atchya later!

Jun 10, 2007

Dungeoneer Scenarios Design Diary 1

Now that you are enjoying Legendary Dungeoneer: Wrath of the Serpent Goddess I would like to introduce an exciting new product we are working on for you avid Dungeoneer players. Dungeoneer Scenarios is a book designed to give you the most value out of your Dungeoneer decks. It is a product long needed to tie all the loose ends together and be the definitive resource for the Dungeoneer expandable card game.

Dungeoneer Scenarios is the ultimate collection of variant rules and so much more. It describes in detail ways of using your Dungeoneer sets to create interesting new scenarios. Cooperative play, solo play, pre-constructed decks, pre-made maps, errata, complete and detailed card lists, and back stories for many of the fascinating heroes and villains of the Dungeoneer world!

One of the things that has long been needed in Dungeoneer is a condensed rules summary that clearly explained how to play the game. Sure this problem has been mostly solved in the latest rules, but there has long been a need for rules that explain the game in the simplest terms for new players.

As your first taste of the kinds of goodies you will find in Dungeoneer Scenarios I present the concise rules summary. This document was inspired by a document posted on that almost had the rules boiled down to 1 page (sans combat), but it had a few errors. You can check out our version right here: Summary.pdf

Current players don't worry, exhaustive detailed rules explanations for experienced players will be included as well!

Future Dungeoneer Scenarios design diaries will explore variant rules, and most exciting of all scenarios that can be played cooperatively, competitively, or even solo!

May 20, 2007

Legendary Dungeoneer: Final Sneak Peek

In this final installment of Legendary Dungeoneer sneak peeks we will reveal the most powerful card, and the core concept of the game.

As with all sets since Realm of the Ice Witch, the legendary set includes a card with special rules. These rules alter the base environment of the game to give the set its own special flavor. These special rules are, of course, optional, but I think you will enjoy trying them out.

Nakari, the Queen of Darkness and Goddess of Serpents likes fiends. Well, really she loves fiends. Those who worship her too much may just find themselves...changing. The Wrath of the Serpent Goddess allows fiends to become cheaper and cheaper to play (their Peril cost is reduced) as the game advances. In addition her most faithful followers, her priestesses become more deadly.

When the Lair of Nakari is placed it triggers a special event. The Legendary Quest: Defeat Nakari becomes active as a global Quest (anyone can attempt it). And Nakari appears in her lair.

And revealed at last, the Queen of Darkness herself, the Serpent goddess!

As I write this, copies of Legendary Dungeoneer should be in the Atlas Games warehouse ready to be shipped out to game stores and to those who have ordered the game all over the U.S. If you can make it to Kublacon this weekend I will be there with a copy waiting just for you. :)


May 13, 2007

Legendary Dungeoneer: Sneak Peek

Welcome to another Legendary Dungeoneer sneak peek! This week we bring you the second most powerful card in the deck. If you are familiar with Dungeoneer you will immediately recognize frightening stats like an 8 Melee and a 7 Magic and a 5 in Speed which is also a standard-attack! Nakari's Daughter has the power shared by all "boss" monsters of being immune to wards like Repel, her attacks inflict multiple wounds (except Speed attack which does the default 1-point of damage). But she also has the dreaded "explode" like the Bug-a-bear in the original Tomb of the Lich Lord inflicting damage even if she is killed. And she's not nearly as strong as her mother...

May 7, 2007

Legendary Dungeoneer: Sneak Peek

The original Dungeoneer: Tomb of the Lich Lord featured a map card called Well of Healing. It was one of the few places a hero could go that wasn't filled with danger. It had a low Peril value and it provided the opportunity to heal wounds. Every Dungeoneer set since then has had a variation of this idea. Legendary Dungeoneer takes this idea to a whole new vicious level. Here is Chamber of Channeling:

Here you can recover wounds, but you "channel" that wound to an opponent! Of course there is a cost, 4 Peril and it does take two movements to perform. That's it for this sneak peek, next week we'll begin to take a look at the really powerful stuff you'll find in Legendary Dungeoneer: Wrath of the Serpent Goddess.

Apr 28, 2007

Legendary Dungeoneer: Sneak Peak

Last week we talked about how to combine heroes with the new Legendary set. Just to be clear, last week's example was to show how to combine old heroes with the new hero cards, the example card we used was from Tomb of the Lich Lord she is not in the new Legendary set. Nearly all the cards and art in the new set are original and unique to that set!

This week we present a fun little card with a really annoying mechanic. This one isn't mind blowing or revolutionary, but I really expect it to be a favorite for many players. Distraction:

So for a relatively low cost of 4 Glory you can give one of your Peril to another player once per turn. Stay tuned for next week when we reveal a new map card from the Legendary set.

Apr 26, 2007

Legendary Dungeoneer: Sneak Peak

Last week we showed you Elendus Sular the Arcane Archer so this week we will see how the hero cards combine from heroic (1st) to legendary (10th) levels.

Here is the Sorceress from the original Tomb of the Lich Lord. Any hero can be combined with any other hero in the heroic/epic/legendary chain. For example the Sorceress is heroic level and can combine with any epic level hero. Here she is combined with the epic level Spellslinger from Call of the Lich Lord to become an Elf Sorceress Spellslinger:

She could just as well be combined with another epic level hero instead such as the Mageblade to become an Elf Sorceress Mageblade:

When combined like this the 4th level stats are added with the + stats, so at 5 level the Elf Sorceress Mageblade would have 7 (6+1) Magic.

Finally we can add any legendary level hero card to upgrade the Elf Sorceress Spellslinger, in this example we add the Arcane Archer to end up with an Elf Sorceress Spellslinger Arcane Archer (whew!):

If you do not have an epic level Dungeoneer set and only have a heroic and a legendary set, not to worry! There is a simple way to combine the sets. When your hero achieves 4th level she is automatically and instantly upgraded to 7th level! But you will have to line up the card at the beginning of the legendary stats and take the 7th level stats, even if that means a lower score in something (ignore the hero race if it is different on the legendary card):

That's all for this week's sneak peek. Sorry the posting was a little late, its been hectic here around Studio Denmark making cool art for you to enjoy!

Apr 17, 2007

Dungeoneer Adventures sale final week!

This is the final week for the Dungeoneer Adventures sale. This is the essential resource guide for the Dungeoneer expandable card game and it is also a complete role-playing game and Dungeoneer world guide. Sunday at midnight we are removing it from our store.

Price is marked down 10%. (regularly $20.01, now just $18.01)!

Click here now to get your copy!

Apr 16, 2007

Dungeoneer Rules v. 2.3

Atlas Games has posted the newest rules set: version 2.3. As astute Dungeoneer player Silverdragon (slvrdragon41) has noted "I just read quickly through them. The only addition is how to handle the legendary and epic expansions in the back. Other than that there appear to be no rule changes."

We've gotten a lot of flak over the years about how the Dungeoneer rules are written, and honestly folks I've given it my best shot several times. 2.3 versions worth to be exact! As a new set comes out of course it has new rules, so the rules have grown over the years. But we've been careful to make the additions not overly complicated for new players and just enough to enhance the game play for long term fans.

The new 2.3 rules are identical to the 2.2 rules, we have only added and revised the section on combining sets and how to use epic and legendary sets as needed for the new set. This is the only new rules:

Combining Heroic, Epic, and Legendary Sets: Begin the game with the heroic deck; epic and legendary decks are set aside. As the last player achieves epic level, replace the Adventure and Quest decks with the epic set. Do the same with the legendary decks upon the last player achieving legendary level.

When combining epic sets (Levels 4–6) or legendary sets (Levels 7–9) with heroic sets (Levels 1–3), you do not gain the epic special abilities until you reach 4th Level, and the legendary abilities start at 7th Level. Stack the heroic Hero card on top of the epic Hero card and line them up at the red line. Similarly, a legendary Hero card would go underneath the epic card. Add the totals to determine your current score in each stat. Use the epic carry totals when you reach 4th Level, and the legendary totals at 7th Level; if this results in a reduction, immediately discard extra Treasures or Boons of your choice.

When an epic set is played alone, all players start at 4th Level. Legendary games begin at 7th Level. A hero gains Levels only by completing Quests of the appropriate grade.

Unlike standard games, in combined heroic/epic/legendary games Quests act as victory points. When you achieve epic level, the epic quests are not dealt out until everyone has achieved epic levels. But you may continue to complete global heroic quests; you do not gain levels for completing them, though, only victory points. The moment the last player achieves epic level then epic quests are dealt: 2 personal quests to each player and 1 global quest. Do the same for legendary level.

The moment a player achieves the highest level possible (7th Level in an epic game, 10th Level in legendary) the game is over. Count up the completed Quests’ victory points. The player with the most points wins. In the case of a tie the player with the highest level wins.

Each heroic quest = 1 victory point
Each epic quest = 2 victory points
Each legendary quest = 3 victory points

Combining heroic and legendary sets without an epic set requires that when the last player achieves 4th Level all heroes are automatically promoted to 7th Level. Continue normally as described above.
You can discuss the new rules here.


Legendary Dungeoneer: Sneak Peak

Some of you who have the Haunted Woods of Malthorin set may recall the archer hero Elendus Sular. Well, she has returned more powerful then ever ready to wage war on the Serpent Goddess. She is the first hero to naturally be able to inflict multiple wounds on a hit, and she can control Fiends to boot. What an elf!

Apr 10, 2007

Legendary Dungeoneer: Sneak Peak

Of course Legendary Dungeoneer requires legendary treasures, and here is the infamous Axe of Retribution! With a steep price of 7 Glory you get a lot for your money: immediately gain a life (and just a little peril for balance) a whopping +3 melee and recover a life each time you score a hit! Wow. You'll notice it is categorized as a legendary weapon, this is a new rule in Legendary Dungeoneer, only legendary heroes (levels 7+) may use cards with the legendary category.

This card also represents a slight shift in the way art is used. This is also the character art for the Dwarf Barbarian hero card.

Apr 2, 2007

Legendary Dungeoneer Off to Press!

Atlas Games has recently announced that Legendary Dungeoneer: Wrath of the Serpent Goddess has gone to press. To celebrate we will feature 1 card per week for the next 8 weeks, since it generally takes about 8 weeks from the time a set goes to press and it is finished printing.

Introducing Shenka Mercenary
Mercenaries have always been popular cards since the original Tomb of the Lich Lord with its Bannus Mercenary. Th Shenka Mercenary card has a bit of a steep price, but she offers +2 Melee and +3 Melee against Fiends. And like all mercenaries she will sacrifice herself to save you from harm.

Mar 27, 2007

Call of the Lich Lord (Epic Dungeoneer) Review

d20 Magazine Rack chimes in on Call of the Lich Lord

We have an excellent, if complicated, fantasy game, complete with strong artwork and a unique system of play. Go for it.

Final Grade: A-

Read the review here.

Mar 22, 2007

Old Dungeoneer RPG "Beta Edition" being discontinued

The "beta" edition of the Dungeoneer RPG has been available for a couple of years now. It is a guide that fleshes out the world of Dungeoneer, includes extensive card lists, and some cool optional rules for the card game. It is also an RPG. A very, um, unusual RPG. This is a book that has been far more popular than I expected, selling at least a dozen copies or so every month.

Goodman Games in conjunction with Studio Denmark has been developing a retail version of the RPG for about a year now, and it is coming along far better than I imagined.

This means it is coming time to discontinue this version of the RPG. It is still a fine product, but we can't have two competing products that are so similar.

Some of the content of this "beta" RPG will find its way into a new book we are working on called "Dungeoneer Scenarios" and some of it will go into the new RPG by Goodman Games. But this unique product will cease to be available. This is an announcement that if you have ever thought of getting it now is the time.

To celebrate this moment I've reduced the price by 10%. (regularly $20.01, now just $18.01) After this sale it will be removed from our store!

Click here now to get your copy!

Feb 8, 2007

Legendary Dungeoneer: Wrath of the Serpent Goddess

Atlas Games has announced the next Dungeoneer set. It will be Legendary levels (7-10) and is titled "Wrath of the Serpent Goddess". See more here.

Jan 31, 2007

Name this Quest

If this was a Quest card what should it be named and how should it work? Sometimes when designing a set I just create some interesting image and then design the card later. This is one of those cases.

Jan 29, 2007

Dungeoneer comic #1

Back when we were working on the first expansion for Dungeoneer, Vault of the Fiends, my friend James Kei did a short comic set in the Dungeoneer World. It follows the adventures of Nord as he confronts Ramalith in the Vault of the Fiends.

Over the next 9 weeks I will post a page each Monday from the comic for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

Jan 26, 2007

Ask the Dungeonlord

New Dungeoneer player Kravell asks:
I am eagerly awaiting the Dungeoneer RPG and that has led me to the card game on which it is based (good marketing idea there).

Two questions. What set is recommended to start and what optional rules are most recommended? I saw somewhere that prebuilding the map is recommended for instance.

I play D&D 3.5 a lot and have played many board games like Runebound and card games like Star Wars. I like strategy, cool characters, and the chance for a lot of interaction between players in a board game.


The Dungeonlord responds:
Hello Kravell,

Glad you are interested in Dungeoneer. Tomb of the Lich Lord is generally considered the best to start with. The best options are summarized in the latest rules available here. Pre-building the map is a good one, though for your first couple of games I would recommend playing standard rules.
Of particular interest to the Dungeonlord is that excitement for the Dungeoneer RPG is building.

Jan 24, 2007

Sorceress sketch

This is for an improved version of Spell Focus, a classic spell from Tomb of the Lich Lord. One of the things those in playtests have heard me complain about is how much freaking art it takes to make one of these Dungeoneer sets. There are 110 cards in a set, and each illustration takes me about 1 day to do, sometimes more. Not every card is a unique illustration, there can be about 90 illustrated cards when you remove things like trackers, summaries and duplicates. That's 90 days of art! I don't make that much in return on a set, so Dungeoneer truly is a labor of love. Astute players have noted that there have been more duplicates in recent sets, a cost cutting measure, but it also makes for a better game because it adds to the consistency of cards. But I've figured out another way to re-use art, and that is to make the hero card art be the "signature Boon" of that hero, so that same art can be used on the Boon (or possibly Treasure) card. In this case this is the illustration for the sorceress and also for the more powerful Spell Focus Boon.

Jan 22, 2007

Studio Denmark at Kublacon

Our table at Kublacon has been confirmed. We will be running demos, showing previews, and have unique products you can't get elsewhere. Come join the fun at our favorite San Francisco Bay Area convention!

I might even show a sneak peek of the Dungeoneer RPG. :)

Jan 20, 2007

Dungeoneer RPG design blog

Richard Plockington, the primary writer on the Dungeoneer RPG being published by Goodman Games has started a design blog where you can see some of the ideas and process going into the creation of this exciting new product. Richard is known for his excellent Dungeon Crawl Classics he has written. In particular I thought The Sunken Ziggurat was very fun.

Jan 19, 2007

Tentacle Beast

Yes, it's true I've been working on a new Dungeoneer set. It has not been announced yet, and I'm not ready to reveal the theme or much else about it. However, I will post this sneak peek of art. Enjoy. :)

Welcome to the Dungeoneer Blog

This site will cover Dungeoneer news and be a resource for all things Dungeoneer.