Lightless. Filthy. Infested with horrible beasts. Not for the faint of heart. Amenities? Barely any gold and only one magical item. Wi-fi was spotty. Would not recommend. Tengar_the_Disembowler

Ouch. Not exactly a glowing dungeon review. And if I’m being honest, I’m becoming a bit of a Tengar myself. Dungeons in gaming haven’t changed much in a long time. How long? It could be argued that huge chunks of Beowulf take place in standard dungeons so… a while. Thankfully, I’ve found some upcoming games looking to freshen up the dungeon scene and give players a whole new take on this classic setting.

Card Bard – Kickstarter (Coming Soon)

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Sad that Eurovision is over? Well buck up chum because compared to this show, Eurovision was just a warm-up act. What am I talking about? Let me answer your question with a question: You do know about a little thing called “music”, right? Because if you do, then you must also know about the ultimate showdown of showmanship. The only musical competition that matters. I’m talking about Card Bard, y’all!

Forget schlepping through dirty old dungeons. Card Bard puts everyone’s favorite harmonic heroes on stage where they belong. This game of battling bards pits 2 players against each other in a no-holds “bard” battle as each seeks to become the crowd favorite crooner.

Can Aioline Silverfall’s dark folk overcome drop-D power chords of Wribs Moldbrane?
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Over the course of the game, each player will try to outperform their rival and be the first to reach 15 Fame. To do this, players will select Songs and try to complete them while simultaneously undermining their opponent’s performance. A Song requires a specific number of Composition cards be attached to it before it can be scored, and the arrangement of these Compositions can get tricky.

The hills are alive with the sound of musical combat.
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First off, Compositions come in 4 genres, String, Wind, Percussion, and Neutral, and the bard you pick at the beginning determines which genres are available to you. Secondly, each bard has a finite number of actions each turn. Playing cards, drawing cards, and using special abilities all require an action. Then there’s the Composition combo itself. Each Composition card does something different, and some require very specific arrangements. For example, Chorus cards get stronger when played consecutively while Accents must be played in a specific location. And while you’re trying to put together a crowd-pleasing ditty, your opponent is probably trying to Steal, Silence, or Unravel your song, dooming you to the worst fate imaginable: obscurity!

Dungeon Brah – Kickstarter (Coming Soon)

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Ok, so maybe you like your dungeons dank and dirty. But just, like, not so serious. Brah, I know what you mean. For real, brah. Brah, listen. You need to check out Dungeon Brah. Brah.

Luis di Pistani, designer of the video game and self-described “love triangle of violence” Boet Fighters, has created a hilarious, card-driven send up of dungeon crawlers with Dungeon Brah. The rules are fast and simple, and the game is bulging with Pistani’s beefy, ridiculous, and over-the-top style.

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Maybe his gauntlet has a secret jelly compartment? I’m choosing to believe that.
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Each of the 2 to 6 players will be randomly assigned a pair of, um, “heroes” for a testosterone-soaked dungeon crawl. You’ll look for items, battle for loot, and do everything possible to screw over your opponents. But watch out! Lurking in the dungeon is Kevin, the Evil Cat Demon, and his minions. Beasts of unspeakable evil whose names are used to frighten children. What little boy or girl hasn’t heard the tale of the hideous Chickenface or that mother of monsters known as….Megan!

Come at me, brah!
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Each turn, players will reveal a new dungeon card which hopefully contains treasure and not a gross monster, or worse, Kevin himself. But if some monster wants to go, then it’s ON, brah! Weapons abound in this dungeon and cards can be combined together into BETTER weapon cards. So come strapped with your best gear and show Kevin’s minions how you always add +1 to that smoke.

That idol is cursed! It calls out to that blackest of evils known as…Kevin!
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If your attack power exceeds a minion’s health, you win and his Loot Card belongs to you. Right of combat, brah. But pay attention. There are World Enchantments that can mess up your plans. And even if when you defeat a Kev-beast, other players are eyeing your loot and will probably try and snatch it. But they’re just jealous, brah. Because if you get 4 loot cards, you win. And even if you lose a fight, monsters get recycled and will pop up again. Dungeon cycle of life. It’s a beautiful thing, brah.

Toongeon Fights – Kickstarter ( June 2 )

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Like Dungeon Brah, Toongeon Fights is another highly stylized take on a card dungeon crawl. But this one’s for all the Cuphead fans out there.

Considering that people are rediscovering a love for ’30s era animation, the timing couldn’t be better for this 1 – 4 player co-op game. Players will choose a hero who looks like he’s straight out of Steamboat Willie and put together their starting deck. This includes your basic dungeon-crawling necessities like basic armor and weapons, some gold, etc. These will keep you alive at first, but you’ll want to be sure and visit the Goblin Merchant to upgrade your deck or else you’ll quickly find yourself in trouble.

“Step right up, Bruno, and show me that cabbage.”
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That’s because each turn a new facedown dungeon card is added to the queue. You can use an action card like “Pointy Shoe” to explore the dungeon card and see what lurks within. Is it a deadly trap? A strangely adorable and charismatic monster? An event? Or worse yet, one of the dreaded Toongeon cards? I know, none of them sound great. But if you chicken out and don’t explore, you’re in just as much trouble. Every time a card reaches the end of the queue, everyone in the party takes a hit. So better to face those cards with your boots on, I say.

Bullee the Minotaur ready to turn you into ground beef.
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And while the dungeon cards are bad enough, a boss monster is always lurking nearby. These are summoned when your 3rd Toongeon card is drawn, and then you’re in for a real headache. Defeating the boss wins you the game, but they’re not going down without a fight. Not only are they extremely tough, but the dungeon queue waits for no one. Even while fighting the boss monster, you still have to manage the queue and whatever cute-yet-terrible setbacks it brings your way. Plan poorly during the game, and the whole thing could end up being nothing but a trip for biscuits.

by Zane Messina

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