In Arcadia Quest and its sister game Arcadia Quest: Inferno, guilds of chibi warriors, assassins, paladins, wizards and similar fantasy heroes tear around the city of Arcadia fighting against hordes of strange fantastical monsters… And also squabble amongst themselves! Now adventurers can also delve into the dungeon below the city in Masmorra: Dungeons of Arcadia.
The premise is that Masmorra was a magic dungeon created to train and test the heroes who sought to join Arcadia’s guilds. But a wizard named Malaphyas took the dungeon by storm when the city was vulnerable and turned it into his personal “lair of doom”. Now, the heroes must delve deep into this perilous, monster-infested dungeon to free the city from another major threat.
Masmorra is actually the Portuguese word for dungeon, which makes sense given that the game was originally released by a different publisher in Brazil, under the name “Masmorra de Dados” (“Dungeon of Dice”), where the hero characters were represented by dice that were moved around a randomly generated dungeon and rotated to different faces when the heroes took damage or healed.
CMON took the game and gave it a major revamp, re-positioning it in their Arcadia universe and replacing the player dice with their amazingly charismatic and detailed miniatures – the key thing they kept was the enemies that are represented by the sides of dice which you roll when spawning to see what foe you will face.
Welcome to the Jungle… err, Dungeon
In a standard game of Masmorra, players will compete to be the first to gain 16 points of experience, referred to as XP, which can be done by defeating monsters, opening treasure chests, disarming traps and exploring medium rooms.
On their turn players will roll the six-player dice and generally use feet for moving, swords for melee combat, bows for ranged combat, shields to block enemy attacks, elixirs to heal, and magic to change other dice faces to ones of their choosing. Dice can be docked on trap spaces to disarm them and treasure spaces to collect bounties.
The board itself begins as a single dungeon entrance tile that all players start on, but as they explore the dungeon more tiles are revealed and placed down in a way similar to Betrayal at House on the Hill.
When enemies are defeated or treasure chests are opened, as well as XP players collect a treasure card which they keep secret and can be used at certain times in the game to cast spells that interrupt the actions and progress of other players or use on themselves to gain extra symbol, abilities and heal. Players can't directly fight with each other but can screw with one another using their treasure cards.
Players each start with their own unique ability but as they gain more XP they can level-up and reveal more abilities which are printed on cards that they slide out from underneath their player board.
Room tiles can contain both minor or major monsters, traps, healing fountains, portals, etc. I particularly like the rune tiles, which you swap for a medium-sized dungeon tile – these sometimes contain boss monsters (represented by tokens, not dice) such as a dragon, giant spider or hydra and are much more difficult to defeat.
In the Alliance and Epic modes you are trying to eventually defeat Malaphyas himself and must do so in either his throne room or the sewer – but watch out, he’s very well protected!
A Dungeon for all Tastes
As I’ve alluded to above, Masmorra comes with numerous game modes:
- In the Standard game 2-5 heroes simply compete to be the first to gain 16XP.
- In the Epic game 2-5 heroes are still compete to be the first to get the most XP (with no limit), but the game only ends when the wizard Malaphyas is defeated!
- In the Alliance/Solo game 1-5 heroes work together to defeat Malaphyas and also have to watch out for the Evil Cards, which are drawn each turn and represent Malaphyas’ growing power in the dungeon. However, the heroes are helped by the fact that there is a special deck of Alliance treasure cards that are a lot more helpful to the team.
I've heard the competitive modes (Standard and Epic) can be too "take-that" for some, where people are constantly screwing each other over with Munchkin-like regularity, but this game went down very well with my Game Group. The Epic mode takes a long time so sometimes it’s best to play the Standard game so it doesn’t outstay its welcome.
I really like the Alliance/Solo game when playing with my daughters (and on my own, obviously) – it can go on for a while but provides a decent challenge (I have come close but have yet to beat it!)
Final Thoughts on Masmorra: Dungeons of Arcadia
While his game is exciting and fun at first I do fear it will get a little stale as there isn’t too much variation in the standard dungeon tiles, and there are only five heroes in the base game. However if you own Arcadia Quest, Inferno or the Beyond The Grave or Pets expansions you can purchase a crossover kit to make the heroes from these games compatible with Masmorra. While saying that, the Masmorra heroes come with Arcadia Quest cards (in the box) so are able to join you guild in your Arcadia Quest campaigns.
Perhaps a good question to ask is; "Should I look at buying this if I already have Arcadia Quest or Arcadia Quest: Inferno?" My answer would be yes - they are set in the same universe but are completely different games, Masmorra has a much quicker set-up time and is played as a one-off adventure whereas Arcadia Quest is campaign-based.
Overall, I find Arcadia Quest (I have Inferno) more fun to play but Masmorra is much quicker to set-up and play, meaning it would probably get to the table a lot more for a lot of people.