The Living Dungeon is a digital version of a strategy board game and depending on the game mode, it can support up to 8 players. It combines luck, strategy and mind games to beat your opponents as well as finding the right character that suits your style of play. Dice set consist of three different colours; red, blue and yellow with each player starting with 3 red dice which allow for attack and movement. From there the player picks 2 extra dice; the blue die adds for more movement – jumping, extra steps, swapping places with enemy. Yellow’s are map manipulation – rotating and flipping rooms. There are many ways you can play this game which helps it to be unique every time you play, for instance; Assassination game type, 3 players (and dungeon master) must assassinate their target normally in the order of p1vp2, p2vp3 and p3vp1. There is a Co-op game type in which you and your friends have to escape the dungeon and its master’s clutches. These are just 2 examples of 8 game modes to choose from and more information about the other game modes will be revealed in the not too far future.
While attending this year’s EGX, I’d had a wonder over to the Rezzed section and thought I’d try my luck at The Living Dungeon. I’ve had my eye on this game for some time before making on my journey to London not really knowing what to expect. I approached the stand and see it’s a board game, my initial thoughts are somewhere between “Oh God, what have I gotten myself into” and “Jesus, look at all those instructions,” least to say my holy judgement wasn’t the best of judgements. After being scared off on Friday by it’s look of complication, I returned early Saturday morning to give it a whirl.
I sat down at the PC and began to play the tutorial, for something that seemed so complicated at first it wasn’t long before it was second nature to me. The daunting user guide really wasn’t as bad as I’d first thought and before long 40 minutes had passed with me still playing this game – progressing through each of 6 tutorial levels. May I point out at this point that the tutorial wasn’t the standard do this, do that then press this kind of tutorial, It was fun. Like the tutorial seen on Sid Meiers: Civilization 5 it places you right amongst the action and you hardly notice you’re learning, which is how a tutorial should be.
Oh, did I forget to mention this game was made by two people alone? Well there you go, now you know the deep dark secret of how two people can single handily produce a more capable game than what most Triple A producers in the industry can. I didn’t spot one bug or problem, everything ran smoothly as it should and it was clear to see that the developers had put some serious time into perfecting their game as should every developer.
The tutorial levels were basically puzzle levels which gave you a simple objective and a fixed dice roll, the player then had to complete the level with what’s given. In some cases you’d have to complete the level in one move which was really interesting, it expressed how much the game can change in just one move. Tutorial levels also gave you a range of characters to play with, also introducing their abilities which again was easy and fast to learn. One of the main features of the game is its multiplayer, sadly I was on my own so I didn’t get to experience its main feature but from what I played I can imagine it would be the combination of Monopoly and Dungeons and Dragons. The reason I give it this description is because at one point you could be winning then all of a sudden you’re not, a game style seen in Monopoly; but then you have the Dungeons and Dragons fantasy, monster slaying madness as well as the chaos the Dungeon master can bring to the board.
Whilst playing I was lucky enough to get to speak to Graham “the Audacious” – one of the developers. He spoke to me about the origins of the board game and how at first it was just an idea with some friends, which grew to a game they played every weekend and then furthered to the very digital copy I was playing. He continued to say what the future may hold and what we could expect once the game is Greenlit on Steam. He also mentioned about more game types being implemented, more dice being involved and possible new characters being added which I’d really enjoy seeing.
I think some work could be done on the models and animations but at the end of the day it’s a board game, this isn’t necessary but would allow the game to have a bit more atmosphere. Something else that would add to the atmosphere in the game would be music, I don’t remember seeing any headphones on their panel and there certainly wasn’t anything coming from the TV’s, once again minor things but would add to the game play experience.
Overall I really look forward to seeing this game on the market and I wish the best for the developers. I’m also eager for players that to experience The Living Dungeon for themselves. You can check the game out on Steam’s Greenlight as well as their site linked below.