Dungeon Saga: Dwarf King’s Quest takes what people typically love about Dungeon Saga, and retains the formula of the previous editions of the game, but with a new story, and a few interesting aesthetic twists added to the mix.
This time, there is an evil wizard named Mortibris who is travelling across the land and destroying sacred sites. Of course, there’s a band of brave adventurers who take it upon themselves to save the world from him, and that forms the basis of the game.
Dungeon Saga: The Dwarf's King - The Game
Again, there is a host of characters the players can choose from. You’ve got The Elf, an experienced archer, The Barbarian, who has powerful weapons that can take down many enemies at once (on the flip side, he has weak armour.) Conversely, The Dwarf has much stronger armour, and can resist more attacks than any of the others. And finally, there’s the wizard, a character who requires protection from the others, but is able to remain at a distance from the battleground and pick people off with magic.
There are also a whole host of familiar Dungeon Saga style enemies (the set includes 26 figurines, excluding the furniture pieces), and although they’re very well-designed, they do feel a little flimsy. Although there are instructions on how to return them to their original shape, they don’t seem to be made of very sturdy material.
They’re all concepts which will be very familiar to anyone who’s played a fantasy board game, but Mantic Games have done a good job of mixing the classic elements from previous Dungeon Saga games with things we’ve never really seen before.
I’ll start with the first things, which are the aesthetic appearances of the box the game comes in and the game itself. Mantic have made a marketing point out of the box. The website says: “Evocative ‘ancient tome’ packaging in a protective sleeve.” Although it does seem like the design is a gimmick to entice more people into buying the game, it is pretty impressive. It does look and feel like an ancient tome, and it does make receiving the game feel more exciting, and suits the tone of the game well.
The design of the tiles, the game board and the characters are also pretty nice. Mantic haven’t exactly reinvented the wheel with those aspects of the game, but they’re reliably well-designed and make the game more immersive. All the hallmarks of a Dungeon Saga game are here: the grimy, grey-and-brown tiles, the dingy and claustrophobic atmosphere, the menacing looking ghouls and monsters.
It’s exactly what you’d expect from Dungeon Saga, and there’s nothing wrong with that exactly, but it would be nice to see them develop the game’s visual style somewhat, as they did with the ‘ancient tome’ packaging.
Gameplay & Thoughts
The gameplay, as always, is great. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be, which means Dungeon Saga: Dwarf King’s Quest is a good pick for board game novices and more seasoned players. You can choose to stick to the rules established by Mantic (which include a very engaging story mode), or you can adapt it to suit your own needs as a gaming group. Either way, there’s a lot of fun to be had as you figure out how to most effectively battle your way through the hordes of enemies.
Dungeon Saga: The Dwarf King’s Quest isn’t going to win over anyone who’s not already a fan of the previous instalments in the series. The gameplay is consistently engaging and is a testament to the quality of the Dungeon Saga’s core idea. The design of the box is very aesthetically pleasing, and is completely in keeping with the style of the game. It has a sense of being mysterious and arcane, but is in keeping with the game’s grimy and grim atmosphere.
With that being said, there isn’t quite as much inventiveness as you’d expect from a new edition of a well-established board game. If you’ve never played any Dungeon Saga games before, there’ll be a lot to enjoy here, and Dungeon Saga completists will want to pick up a copy, but it’s those who like the game, but don’t love it, who will be missing out. There just isn’t enough content for people who are only casual players. The money could be spent on something else in the same price range, which would likely be something they’ve never seen before.
The game isn’t terrible. It has everything a person who’s previously played Dungeon Saga would expect, but if you were expecting something completely fresh, it’d be better to bide your time until something else hits the shelves.