I have to admit physical card games are not my favourite. Most of the time they require time and effort and can be a bit more of a tiresome activity instead of a fun one. They can get repetitive with not much to offer when played again and again with your friend group. Dungeon Mayhem on the other hand, manages to find the correct balance. It is easy to understand, entertaining and not repetitive.
The game is set in Dungeons and Dragons universe, but understanding the premise is very easy. The players do not need to have any prior knowledge of the universe of the game. There are four distinct classes with their decks, Barbarian, Wizard, Rogue and Paladin. The main goal of the game is to end the lives of other players before they end yours. Each player chooses a class and draws their cards from their unique deck. The cards vary from basic attack moves to shielding cards or they can even make use of the special unique powers of the characters. Each player starts with ten health points, the goal is to make everyone else lose their health points before you. Attack moves are the cards with symbols of daggers on them, each class has their own set of attack cards with varying amounts of damage explained on the card,. Shielding cards are designed very similar to the attack cards, how much damage they can block is also explained on the card and each character uses their own unique powers and allies to defend themselves. Unique powers are one of the best aspect of the game, each character has their own special skills that other characters in the game cannot use. For instance, a character can heal himself, another can steal cards from others while another character can damage everyone else in the game.
The mechanics of the game are very simple and easy to understand in less than ten minutes. For me, this is a huge advantage because these types of games that are designed to be played with friends sometimes can take too long to teach that one friend who has not played the game before. But Dungeon Mayhem manages to be extremely easy to understand while also being extremely entertaining. Getting hit by a fireball by a wizard and healing yourself thanks to the abilities of the paladin is a nice addition to having dinner with friends.
The game itself manages to be funny without getting repetitive because of the endless combinations of weird defensive cards and over the top attack cards, however, after a certain number of rematches with your friends might make four class choice feel a bit limiting. As a solution to this, the game has an expansion pack. At an additional cost, there are two more classes that can be added to the game. The new Ranger and Druid classes add much more complexity to the game. Especially the shapeshifting powers of the Druid, changing its unique powers according to the shape it takes, adds a nice touch of complexity that helps the game’s replayability.
Overall, Dungeon Mayhem is a very nice game to enjoy with your friends. Only issue that I have with this game is that to make it as good as it can be, you really should buy the expansion pack. Only four classes to choose from limits the players a lot and the additional characters from the expansion pack feel like they belong to the original game. Other than that, it is a very entertaining game that won’t take your whole night but will be a very fun part of it. Especially with the help of a little bit of role playing, it is an amazing game to spend some quality time with your friends.
Game Designer: Jordan Comar, Roscoe Wetlaufer
Artist: Kyle Ferrin
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Release Date: 2018
Picture: Dungeon Mayhem Promo website https://dnd.wizards.com/products/dungeon-mayhem
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