Feb 7, 2020

Dungeoneer Deluxe: Upgrading and Updating Dungeoneer

Dungeoneer is over 15 years old, and almost from the time it was published I was already redesigning it. The game was quite well received but always fell into that "cult hit" category. It sold well enough to stay in print, but never quite gangbuster numbers. I always felt it was a pretty strong game with unfortunate production short comings.

The game should have come with dice and tokens. It is really silly that it didn't. I was a naive young designer and was just happy it was published. It deserved so much more. Still, it is a lot of fun to play and any gamer has dice and tokens around they could use to play the game when they got a deck.

There was another thing, the rulebook was never fantastic. It was overly written and hard to understand. They say a designer shouldn't write their own rulebook and that's true! I got a lot of help from Atlas Games who did the best they could with what I gave them. Part of the problem though wasn't the rulebook, it was that there was genuine kludgy-ness to the game. Unnecessary complications, that had a purpose when the game was designed but really could and should have been streamlined.

Dungeoneer Deluxe.
This is my redesign of Dungeoneer from the ground up. Yet, somehow it is exactly the same game with all the kludgyness gone. It is streamlined, fun, competitive, finely balanced and more tactical. The game I was trying to design in the first place. Also, it has all the components needed in the box! I even designed some special dice that makes combat lightning fast and easy to play even for younger gamers.

Also, my art skills have improved (I think) and I've made some great new art for it!

I'm posting this now because I have a prototype that I'm bringing to Protospiels around local game conventions and events. If you are in the San Francisco bay area and go to Dundracon or Kublacon you can check it out, play it, and tell me what you think.


  1. When I first discovered Dungeoneer back in the day, one of the things I liked about it was the barebones nature of no dice, etc, because I'd fallen hard for the Cheapass Games model and built a bits kit that worked very nicely with Dungeoneer as well.

    Every now and again, I see a set come up for sale on BoardGameGeek and I kinda regret letting my collection go during a house move a while back. I'll keep an eye out to see how your deluxe prototype comes along and whether it becomes more widely available someday. Happy playtesting!

  2. I agree the barebones nature was a feature. I'm trying to keep Dungeoneer Deluxe as compact as I can.

  3. As a fan of Dungeoneer, I'd love to see a new and updated version! I'm hoping for a new line of Dungeoneer and expansions, even utilising the Adventures in Tarnys material.

  4. While doing some research on playing Dungeoneer Solo I found your page from your BGG profile. Very interesting work you have been up to.

    I am finally getting some of these games to the table after many years on a shelf and recent second hand acquires.

    So looking at the deluxe version there is obviously some new components. It looks like the Paladin goes to level 3 where my non-deluxe version goes to level 4.

    I do see some pros and cons to the more "board game" feel from the total card feel. The card version will be easier to transport while boardgames version has some better table presence and complete in the box.

    What all is changing? How will this be published?

  5. > What all is changing? How will this be published?

    I don't know. This is just a concept. I have a playable prototype, more or less. And all the components fit in a 6"x9" box, which is pretty small by board game standards.

  6. https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=3094065222299992956&postID=4238977443637552508

    I discovered Dungeoneer just 6 months ago and instantly loved its simple aspect (no huge board, no miniatures, no thick tiles, no dozens of tokens, just cards and some dice).

    I have the full 8 sets and it's been so hard to find them. My only regret with this game is that it is not a solo game and I am quite a solo player, I have to rely on variants found on BGG. I would love a classic 1-4 player version.

    It's just my humble opinion, but I agree with the other posters, keep the game small in terms of components (I just supported Mini Rogue KS Campaign (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/483438961/mini-rogue) which is a "small sized" dungeon crawler and the project reached +$170K so there is an audience for crawlers with simple components) but maybe should you add way more cards (Mageknight is 250+ cards I think).

    Sincerely I don't know why Dungeoneer didn't have more success, So many things I love like being able to mix sets, create your own random adventure, the character progression with the epic/legend sets. Maybe it was just published at the wrong time.

    A couple of suggestions : adding more game variants in the box (solo mode, coop mode), adding campaigns, adding a legacy mode. Make it a "living card game" with scenario based expansions : the sets were adding new mechanics (frost spell, sewers, scrolls) and new environments which is great but maybe it needed some more depth, like a scenario/campaign. Maybe could you take advantage of adding other game mechanics that gained success lately.

    To say it simple : clearer rules, MORE cards to make the game feel more replayable, SOLO mode (please), campaign/scenario/legacy mode to make it a deeper experience...

    Whatever you choose classic publishing or crowfunding, you can count me as a future buyer :-)

  7. What Solo modes have you tried from BGG?

    I have been messing around with a Solo/Co-Op variant that I posed to BGG. While I am not the designer I have been using this great game to fit "my" desires. I listed it as the Solo/Co-Op variant - Bluewizard in the Dungeoneer variants on BGG. Its not perfect by ANY means but I have had some fun with it. Playing both single character and 2 characters but have really only played with 2 of the sets so far. I am also available via GeekMail on BGG.

    I personally really enjoy the cards for everything as it makes the game small and very easy to store, play, etc.

  8. I love Dungeoneer, and have all of the sets. It would be great to have some new adventures.