Designed by Scott R. Smith
Published by Phase Shift Games
Dungeon Drop was a smash hit on Kickstarter raising $259,695. A simple game using euro cubes to create dungeons full of both treasure and monsters, part of the appeal on Kickstarter was the humorous chibi artwork by Marilia Nascimento, which not only makes up the box and card art but is incorporated inside the box to give the player a holistic visual story. The other winning formula for their success is a simple game.
Players select a Race character card and a Class card which gives you specific abilities and a hidden Quest card which specifies your scoring goal. The game box/cube is then filled with euro cubs (which cubes depends on solo, multi-player or hero teamwork mode), then the incredibly smart USP of the game occurs, you throw the euro cubes onto the table, dropping the dungeon. (What committed gamer doesn’t want to throw euro cubes around?) These cubes represent treasure, enemies and structures (walls etc). Players find a room (a triangle made up of wall cubes) and loot the treasure and fight the goblins within. There are three rounds and the person with the most loot wins.
Dungeon Drop is a bit of an odd fish. Its rules are simple and clear and the artwork is cute and entertaining however, it plays like a very different game from how the box presents itself. Often turns involve very slow, careful consideration of spatial reasoning. You have to first find a room through the identification of wall cubes and mentally draw a triangle, then you might check your quest card and decide that that room doesn’t have enough gold in it. So, you look for the gold and mentally draw another triangle. Then once you’re happy and have completed any special abilities (re-dropping or flicking cubes for example) you pick up your loot and that’s your go.
One of my slight issues is that the characters, though full of personality on the page don’t have any personality in real gameplay terms. Also, the euro cubes can be difficult to differentiate; we played on a dark carpet and had to get an extra daylight lamp in order to tell them apart, and neither of us is colour blind so if you are it may be an added obstacle. The box, while beautifully designed has the very minor downside of being a little tight so getting the lid off can be an unnecessary faff.
With all of that aside it is a good, interesting, fun game, just not the game I was expecting it to be. Play is quick to pick up (you could teach it in around 2 minutes), the rules are simple (8 pages in a tiny rulebook) and if you like abstract games it gives good value. I was hoping to live my Bilbo fantasy and charge into a dark cavern fighting dragons over gold, what I got was some trigonometry homework. But if you like abstract gaming and you have a little awkward space on your shelf give it a look.