Monday, 24 September 2012

First Look: Dungeon! (2012)

One of the releases that I have been most hotly awaiting this year since first learning of it is Dungeon!

Originally a TSR classic I have to admit that I was a little concerned when I heard that Wizards would be re-releasing it. As much as I wanted this game to be passed on to the next generation, I didn't want it to become something it wasn't and, considering the party involved, I had dreaded the possibility that they may just gut the mechanics and try to run everything off of a D20.

So, last night when I finally managed to download the new rulebook you can imagine my relief to find the game virtually untouched from the original, apart from a few cosmetic changes.

Wizards have now done away with the original classes and instead replaced them with their own archetypes. So now instead of playing as an Elf, you play as a Halfling Rogue. Your goal of 10,000 GP is still the same. All they did was change the name.

Apart from changing the names of the heroes, I also notice that the names of a lot of the monsters seem to have changed too. Bringing them more into line with the Dungeons and Dragons universe. Which I think is a bit of a shame but inevitable. I won't judge yet though. Not until I can actually sit down with a copy and see just how deep these changes run.

What I will cast judgment on however is the new art that they've commissioned for this release. It's horrible!

Not in the sense that the artists lack talent, as they obviously exude it but, to depict the "Silver Cup" as being akin to an old tin mug, when the original depicted it as a jewel encrusted chalice really serves to sell the product short in my opinion. It also seems to show a lack of product knowledge.

Dungeon! is a game of delving dark and dangerous depths in a world of high fantasy, so treasure should leave you feeling "Whooooo!" and not "Ah".

For example when Fantasy Flight re-released Dungeonquest, they didn't fill the box with mediocrity. Every treasure in the dragons hoard (well except the lode stones) was a wondrous and vibrant depiction of something that made the journey worthwhile. Not a bland piece of stock loot to toss in the pack with the rest.

So, I may have some misgivings based on what I've seen so far but not enough to put me off picking up a copy, even though I already own an original copy. At the price of $19.99 it's frankly a steal and, there's no way I am going to pass it up.

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