Anthony "Tony" Magestro--or known on the field of battle as Metzge--is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he's not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success. Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that's fine too.
Sometimes, it’s good to be the bad guy. Beyond its child-like veneer, it’s hard to remember that you are the dungeon master in Gambrinous‘ Guild of Dungeoneering, a rogue-like dungeon crawler where you build your domain with powerful cards, laying the path for adventurers you wanna rough up for the sake of experience. But you don’t want to kill them–if only for the sake of not letting all that experience go to waste.
Upon first glance, I was immediately reminded of games like Munchkin from its whimsical art style to its similar setting and mechanics, equipping and using cards to battle various fantasy monsters. You’re neither benevolent nor benign, looking out for the welfare of your little adventurers, but challenging them all the same by placing paths, monsters, and loot to entice your adventurers onwards.
With its use of cards for equipment, treasure, dungeon tiles, and monsters, Guild of Dungeoneering is one of many recent titles that fall into the increasingly popular digital tabletop genre (Armello being another). Games of this genre’s very aesthetic and art style still manage to capture that warmth of playing a board game at the kitchen table with close friends and family who… may not be so close by the end of the night.
Between that and its hand-drawn cards that feature the game’s artists’ talents, this is certainly a title that gamers of all ages can enjoy and appreciate.
I’ll admit, it’s taken me a while to come out with a review and that’s because I wasn’t too impressed with the initial release and figured I’d wait and give Gabrinous some time to patch and recollect itself. While a neat concept on pen and paper, the gameplay gets stale rather quickly; after the fifth dungeon or so, it became apparent that I’ve learned all there was to the game, yet there were so many levels to go.
The only thing that seemed to change was that as the levels progressed, the difficulty of the dungeon was measured by sheer length rather than interesting enemies, traps, or other misadventures your adventurer might find themselves in.
While my first taste was a little bitter, by version 1.02, there’s been quite a bit of improvement, making it a lot more balanced and enjoyable and addressing a lot of these gripes.
One thing, however, that must be kept in mind is the competition that exists, and when you have games like Hand of Fate to stack up against, developers can’t afford waiting to finish the game after its release. Moreover, when you have a card game that also builds random dungeons, but also offers real-time combat in a 3D environment with all the glitz and glam of a modern action game, you’ve got to be especially wary.
That being said, Guild of Dungeoneering is a step in the right direction, but might be overshadowed by its rivals. Though its charming premise and rebalanced gameplay make for a unique game, my recommendation truly is a toss-up. If Gambrinous keeps working on this game as they have been post-release, maybe they’ll find ways to make this title really stick out. But only time will tell.