I’m a sucker for Dungeons & Dragons, as readers of the blog – who’ve read RPG-related articles from me – will know. Amongst all of the D&D related games I’ve […]
I’m a sucker for Dungeons & Dragons, as readers of the blog – who’ve read RPG-related articles from me – will know. Amongst all of the D&D related games I’ve played, I even (briefly, but obsessively) got into the PC D&D clicker game, the cheekily titled Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms.
The artwork and character design featured in Dungeon Mayhem is the same style as Idle Champions – and is a bit of an acquired taste. It’s a very Cartoon Network-esque style; it’s very easy to imagine a D&D show in the vein of Teen Titans Go! that’d use this exact art (hey, Wizards of the Coast and/or Cartoon Network – you’re missing an opportunity here!). It’s somewhat fitting for the daft, fast paced battles of Dungeon Mayhem, however.
I’ve already reviewed the base game (my review can be found here) and found it to be a fast, fun, easy to teach game that’s suitable for all ages. The individual character decks are nicely thematic and wittily captioned, with a refreshing lack of clutter that makes the game an absolute breeze to play. As I’d already found the base game to be very enjoyable indeed, it was clear that I’d be picking up the first expansion – Battle for Baldur’s Gate – at some point.
So what’s included with the expansion? There are two new character decks – there’s no other content; the ‘Battle for Baldur’s Gate’ title suggests that there’ll be more to it, but all we have here are two characters and their accompanying tokens. The selling point here, however, is the fact that fan-favourite characters, Minsc & Boo, are included as one of the decks in the expansion.
For the uninitiated, Minsc is a human Ranger who’s always accompanied by his Miniature Giant Space Hamster, Boo. Introduced in classic PC game Baldur’s Gate (first released in 1998), they’ve since become a huge part of D&D (so much so that there’s even a Minsc & Boo Funko Pop! Vinyl figure). Jaheira is also a character from Baldur’s Gate (unsurprisingly, given the name of the expansion) who’s a half-elf Druid with the ability to shapeshift.
Both the Minsc & Boo and Jaheira decks have powers that are a little more complex than in the base game, as well as feeling a bit more powerful. Jaheira’s shapeshifting ability in particular – she can assume the form of a Bear or a Wolf during the game – can add some excellent bonuses to some of the cards she can play. The Minsc & Boo abilities include being able to switch the HP of all characters at the table, as well as having the ability to steal cards from everyone playing.
The art retains the same cartoony look of the base game – Boo in particular is brilliant in all of his appearances on the cards – and the witty card names are also still present. The decks – again, as is the case with those in the base game – feel very thematic in terms of the characters they represent, too.
If you already know how to play Dungeon Mayhem, in theory the expansion could be played without owning the base game. Everything bar the full game rules is included to make the two decks fully playable on their own, though of course it’s great to be able to pit the two new characters against those in the first release, rather than just against each other.
As well as this, having the new decks – in addition to the original four – gives you the option for playing with 5-6 players, though in my experience this has the potential to draw the game’s length out way beyond the usual 10-15 minute playing time. This isn’t advisable; with player elimination possible within a single turn, you may have players bored with not being involved, as well as those bored with trying to whittle the health of their enemies down – in a game that, even with five players, feels like it has one too many targets to deal with. Dungeon Mayhem is at its best when fireballs and swords are being flung and swung to devastating effect in a fast moving, quickly resolved battle; stretched beyond the usual, expected running time, it can outstay its welcome.
That said, this is a great expansion. The two decks are nicely thematic, they’re based on popular characters and feature some excellent new abilities – players familiar with Dungeon Mayhem and D&D in general will definitely want to pick this one up. Though I’d say that four players is the sweet spot for a really fun game at just the right length, being able to expand that number and widen the pool of characters to choose from is definitely very appealing. It’s tiny, but adds a lot to the game – and it’s cheap too, which is definitely a bonus.
The second expansion, Monster Madness, has just been released – and it looks fantastic. With the ability to play as classic, iconic D&D monsters, as well as an oversized box that’ll hold all of the currently released decks, it looks like another winner for the Dungeon Mayhem line. I’ll be checking that out at some point; a review will, of course, be on the cards (pun intended) once I’ve had a chance to play it.
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