Dungeon! is a game we’ve played in the family for years. Ours however, is the 2012 Wizards of the Coast edition. I’ve never played the original 1975 set. But looking through the rules for today’s post, it’s remarkable how little it’s changed over the decades. (Check out the links at the bottom for other editions I’ve profiled.)
One of our games back in 2021: Two of my sons, and their uncle
Dungeon is a boardgame unsurprisingly reminiscent of Dungeons and Dragons. In fact, Dungeon predates D&D and inspired the RPG according to Gary Gygax! I always figured it was the other way around.
Players take on one of several character types, exploring the various rooms around the board, defeating monsters and collecting sufficient treasure to return back to the Start and claim victory. The chambers (and by extension, the monsters within) increase in difficulty and treasure value. The character types likewise are not equal in power, and the treasure value necessary to win varies as well. This clever design tends to keep players/characters “in their lane”.
This TSR Wizard logo set is not actually the first, but is easily most common printing of the 1975 edition. Following will be photos of the components for reference. I love Boardgamegeek, but the site is painful to use when confirming completeness of a used set. BGG tends to lump in all editions of a game together, and their image gallery is pages and pages of random user-submissions of game tables, convention photos, owner creations… and occasionally the pic you need to check your original game parts.
Dungeon! Board Game[BOX SET]
1975 … Dave Meggary … TSR 1002
Contents: Play map; rule book; player pawns; game cards.
Introductory Game Rules
Single sheet, printed on both sides.
Play mat measures 30″ x 24″. Single side. Level (difficulty) of chambers is color-coded.
Pawns and Dice
TYPES OF DUNGEON ADVENTURERS:
The Elf: Green pawns are elves. Elves are not as powerful as some figures, but they can open Secret Doors twice as easily as others can, and they need but 10,000 gold pieces value in Prize Cards in order to win. They should stay on levels 1-3.
The Hero: Blue pawns are heroes. Heroes are slightly more powerful than Elves in combat, and Heroes also need 10,000 gold pieces value in Prize Cards to win. They should stay on levels 1-4.
The Superhero: Red pawns are Superheroes. Superheroes are the most powerful fighters, and they should seek to gain their Prize Cards on the lower levels, generally from the 3rd through the 5th. They need prizes equalling 20,000 gold pieces in order to win the game.
The Wizard: White pawns are Wizards. Wizards are the most powerful type of Dungeon Adventurer, for they fight almost as well as Superheroes and in addition have Spells to employ against opponents. However, they must gain prizes equalling at least 30,000 gold pieces to win, so they should immediately proceed to the 5th or 6th levels, perhaps stopping along the way to pick up a low-value Prize Card or two.
The characters here are suitably old school. Hero and Superhero are level titles in D&D and AD&D. These names would change in Dungeon over the years, reflecting D&D usage of the time. In my 2012 game they’re Rogue, Cleric, Fighter, and Wizard.
Cards (Monster, Treasure, Spell)
Wizard Cards (36 total):
- 12 Lightning Bolt
- 12 Fire Ball
- 12 Transference
Monsters (116 total):
- Level 1 – 9
- Level 2 – 15
- Level 3 – 22
- Level 4 – 24
- Level 5 – 28
- Level 6 – 18
Prizes (80 total):
- Level 1 – 9
- Level 2 – 9
- Level 3 – 16
- Level 4 – 18
- Level 5 – 16
- Level 6 – 12