Delve into the dungeon in search of the mysterious ruby, Og's Blood. Fight monsters, give offerings at shrines, meet travelling merchants, rest, scour for food and avoid the traps. You will gain experience to further improve your skills and to aid you in your delve. But watch out as at the end of every floor there is a Boss to face, you may also get cursed, blinded or poisoned.
Mini Rogue is a solo-only 30-45 minute minimalistic (component wise) dungeon delve with randomly generated levels and encounters. Mini Rogue is designed by Paolo Di Stefano & Gabriel Gendron and published by Nuts! Publishing. You can choose between a range of characters that have different starting health, gold, experience and abilities. There is a 3 x 3 grid of encounter cards laid out face down which forms your dungeon.
On your turn you move either to the card to your right or the card below you. The cards to the right and below are revealed so you know what area you are moving into. After you have moved you resolve the encounter. A lot of the time you will roll your pool of dice which includes your character die or dice and the dungeon die. You may also have other negative effect dice to roll as well. Depending on the encounter will determine the outcome of the die results.
Once the encounter is resolved, assuming you are still alive, you proceed as above. Moving to the right or down resolving encounters as you go. Once you get to the bottom right most card you will proceed to the next dungeon. If you have reached the end of that particular floor and need to resolve a boss then you fight the boss before proceeding to the next floor.
Every time you proceed to the next dungeon or a new floor you have to eat food and the 3 x 3 grid is reset by shuffling all the cards and dealing out a new dungeon. Throughout the game you will receive experience which adds an extra character die to your pool further increasing your chances of success. You may gain potions that can be used to heal or deal damage. You also have a special ability that can be used once per dungeon.
Mini Rogue - Final Thoughts
When you think of dungeon crawlers/dungeon delvers I tend to think of minis, map tiles, heavy rules and a big box to keep all the "stuffs" in. Mini rogue flips this on its head. There are no minis, the rules are relatively light and it comes in a very small and compact box. But how does it play, that is the real question, right? Well read on to find out more.
I generally like the idea of Dungeon crawlers, but one of the main issues is they often are a table hog, have long set up times and come in big boxes full of minis. Mini Rogue is a breeze to set up. You can be up and running in under 5 minutes. It is a minimalistic dungeon crawler and I think it is better for it. The designers/publishers have taken a different approach and I thank them for it.
The dungeon is random each time so you never really know what you are going to get. To offset this randomness the cards that you can move are revealed. I like the fact that you have limited choice on your path. Usually it is either jumping into the frying pan or jumping into the fire but occasionally you do have a nice safe option. You only know what is one move ahead of you with the rest being face down until after you have moved.
The monster battles and skill checks are dice based so there is, of course, some luck in the rolls. The combat is quick and very easy to follow but feels fair. You may get a bad roll but so may the monster you are fighting. There is a survival aspect to the game as you need food to be able to eat each turn and it can be hard to come by. This offers tension as you are going deeper and deeper and running low on supplies.
The game also has a rogue-like feel to it as after each dungeon/floor you reset the encounters and go again, but you may be slightly stronger or have gained a potion to help you. Mini Rogue has all the trappings of a dungeon crawl that has been on a diet. All the trimmings have been stripped away and what is left is a light weight, quick playing dungeon crawl that still gives you the feeling of progression, survival, hard combat and boss fights. I love it. I love that it is in a small enough box that I can take it almost anywhere with me. Also, I love that I can have it set up in minutes. I really like the decisions you have to make. There are no minis, the dungeon is only nine cards big but the gameplay experience is top notch for what I am looking for.