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Dungeon Roll Review: A Risky Investigation in the Dungeon

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You've set up your group of brave companions at the tavern, now the dungeon is before you! You have some tricks up your sleeves, but what will you risk for glory and fame?

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translated by Joey Sticks

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Dungeon Roll

Oh, dungeons, adventurers and their unique abilities, dragons, monsters - everyone has at least once fantasized about facing all of that! Medieval fantasy was very well-represented in the gaming genre by its biggest example, the world-famous RPG, Dungeons & Dragons (D&D).

Dungeons & Dragons - D&D.
Dungeons & Dragons - D&D.

Dungeon Roll managed to, by its own merit, bring to a dice game the same emotions created by this RPG, as it brings several types of adventurers with different abilities, which can be upgraded as you gain XP.


Dungeon Roll and its dice.
Dungeon Roll and its dice.

Not to mention, players will face various monsters, the dragon (the hardest one of all) and even loot the treasure. All this while risking losing everything at any point. This is the D&D thrill translated into a dice game.

Game Data

Dungeon Roll is a game played with 1 to 4 players, recommended for ages 8 and up, by designer Chris Darden. The art was created by Eric J. Carter, Ryan Johnson and Rob Lundy. Dungeon Roll was released in 2013 by Tasty Minstrel Games (TMG). The mechanics included are the several different abilities players can activate, rolling dice, risking your luck and managing your hand.

Game components.
Game components.

One curious trivia about Dungeon Roll is that its designer, Chris Darden, unlike the other artists involved in this project, has dedicated himself solely and exclusively to Dungeon Roll. Such dedication couldn't create anything unremarkable: this dice game is wonderful!

Additionally, many factors influenced the success of Dungeon Roll worldwide, but the two main ones were:

  • The clear appeal of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D)

  • Its mechanics, which once again, with dice, reference this renowned RPG.

    Let's explore the dungeons!

    The Game

    Basically, in Dungeon Roll, your goal with your companions is to get experience points (XP) by defeating monsters, fighting against the dragon and hoarding treasures. Simple, isn't it? It is simple theoretically, but, in practice, we have countless possibilities. This is precisely where, my friends, Dungeon Roll shines!

    We already have 8 different possibilities when we choose heroes, and, when they get more XP, their specialties and abilities also get better, such as, for instance:

  • Crusader (Paladin);

  • Enchantress;

  • Half-Goblin (Tribe Chief);

  • Knight (Dragon Hunter);

  • Mercenary (Commander);

  • Minstrel (Bard);

  • Occultist (Necromancer) and

  • Spellsword (Battle Mage).

    Hero card and a card that explains their symbols.
    Hero card and a card that explains their symbols.

    Their specialties and abilities include acting as other warriors, defeating all monsters, transforming monsters into dragons, into warriors, and even enchant monsters and making them go away. There are many different hero options, and that's just your hero.

    Your companions also have unique abilities, besides an artifact that can help them. Let's meet them:

  • Fighter;

  • Cleric;

  • Mage;

  • Thief and

  • Champion.

    The artifact is called a "scroll", and can help you at the right time if you use it wisely.

    White companion dice, and black dungeon dice.
    White companion dice, and black dungeon dice.

    Now that we know the heroes and weapons we have on our side, how about figuring out what we'll find in the dungeons? Let's go:


  • Skeletons;

  • Goblins;

  • Oozes and

  • Dragon.

    And of course, in them, we have the potion, to revive our companions, and the iconic chest, which we can explore and see what is inside for us. There is a lot of great stuff in the chest that we can use as new abilities, so let's see what we can find in them:

  • Portals;

  • Swords;

  • Dragon bait;

  • Talismans;

  • Invisibility Rings;

  • Scepters;

  • Elixirs;

  • Tools;

  • Scrolls;

  • Dragon scales.

    Treasure and XP tokens.
    Treasure and XP tokens.

    It really is a lot! Well, now that know the possibilities, let's see how a Dungeon Roll turn looks.

    The adventurer hero, in this case, you, roll your 7 dice and find out what you got as companions and artifact. This is your set of dice to explore the dungeon, which will obviously start at level 1 (with level 10 as the final level).

    Dungeon level dice.
    Dungeon level dice.

    Now it's time to roll the dungeon dice, which, in this case, as it is a level 1 dungeon, means rolling one die only, and can bring, as we know, a monster, dragon or a treasure. It is obvious that, considering in more advanced levels dungeon dice are rolled according to the dungeon level, all of these can come up scrambled.

    A turn of Dungeon Roll.
    A turn of Dungeon Roll.

    You'll only level up if you defeat each monster in each respective level, and that is mandatory. Opening up chests is an option, but if the dragon die shows up, that is a sign you'll have to defeat it soon. This die can't be rerolled and should be put aside in the dragon's lair; when you have 3 dragon dice, it's time to face it.

    Well, when you know your potential and your companions and artifacts' potential, you just need to figure out how to use each companion's specialty and the artifact's. Your hero's specialty can be used every turn, but you can only use their ability one per dungeon delve. Oh, and to defeat monsters or open chests, you'll obviously use your dice, which will then go to the graveyard.

    Hero with their companions and treasure tokens.
    Hero with their companions and treasure tokens.

    Your companions' abilities can't be ignored; they defeat all monsters of a specific type, open many chests at once, besides their artifact (the scroll), which allows you to reroll dice, yours and the enemies' (except for the dragon).

    Finally, try to explore each companion's and artifact's potential as much as you can when you use them. Don't waste them!

    The chest mechanic is very cool in Dungeon Roll, as treasures are tokens that should be placed inside the chest, really. Additionally, you must move around everything inside randomly and get the treasure (each chest you open will give you 1 treasure), which means you can't really predict what you'll get. This gives the game a really cool flavor. Each chest you open is a new possibility!


    Defeating the dragon is quite peculiar, as it demands team effort, and necessarily demands 3 different types of companions. You'll only be able to defeat it this way. Killing the dragon always gives players something extra (besides fame): you can get a treasure from the chest and will automatically win 1 XP.

    Defeating every enemy in each level and the dragon (if necessary) is mandatory. If that doesn't happen, you must flee, and you obviously won't get any XP.

    Now this is a crucial moment in your turn. After defeating all enemies in each level and the dragon (if that is the case), count your losses, see who is still alive and decide between:

  • Getting the XP relative to the dungeon level you're in and go back to the tavern, finishing your 1st dungeon delve, or;

  • Looking for glory, that means, facing the next dungeon level.

    In Dungeon Roll, there will be 3 opportunities, which means, 3 dungeon delves for each player.

    This is a Dungeon Roll turn!

    Match End and Scores

    The game ends after every hero has completed 3 dungeon delves.

    The score is determined by adding all your XP like so:

  • Unused treasure tokens are worth 1 XP;

  • "Town portal" treasure tokens are worth 2 XP;

  • Each pair of "dragon scale" tokens are worth 2 XP;

  • Then add all the XP you've earned in 3 dungeon delves.

    Whoever has more XP wins! If it is a draw, whoever has the highest number of treasure tokens among the tied players wins. If the tie persists, winners share the victory.

    It's time to go back to the tavern and celebrate!

    Strategy Tips

    The most important tip in Dungeon Roll is: take advantage of what you have in hand as much as you can! Regardless if they are your hero's specialties or abilities, your companions' traits, artifact traits, treasures or new abilities.

    By doing that, you'll have the perfect combo to defeat monsters, open even more chests and defeat the dragon, using your dice very sparingly, so you can then delve deeper into the dungeon in a single delve.

    As you'll have 3 runs, if you follow this tip, you'll surely be victorious!

    I'll give you even more tips to make it easier to play.

    Carefully read your hero's ability and specialty, and use them at the right moment. Trust me, you'll know when! Keeping track of when they level up is also important.

    Your companions have unique abilities, so don't waste them, because they can make a difference in the endgame, when you'll need them the most. Don't jump the gun! I know how tempting it is to spend a Thief die to open a single chest, but try to make the most out of this effect. As the Thief opens up several chests at once, please wait for the best opportunity, or use the scroll, reroll the dice and risk your luck. This is part of the game.

    I recommend using potions just in specific cases, for instance, when you can drink several potions with just one single companion die and bring many companions back into the game. Use it wisely!

    Never forget to save 3 different companions at all times in case the dragon comes along. Here's something you can't mess with in Dungeon Roll: the dragon. It can put everything on the line if you don't defeat it. You might have delved deep into the dungeon, but, if you fail to defeat the dragon, you'll go back empty-handed. It is really frustrating when this happens.


    Use the treasure abilities, but only when it is necessary, because they give you victory points when the game ends. Actually, they're worth much more at the endgame than earlier, so use them, but only when it is strictly necessary.

    Risk your luck - like I said, this is part of the game, but only really move forward to another dungeon level if you're sure you can, at minimum, revive 1 or more companions, which means, if you have a scroll to reroll (if necessary) and look for a potion, someone to drink the potion, and if you're sure you won't miss it later. Strategy and luck go hand in hand in Dungeon Roll!

    That being said, enjoy the adventure, use your luck, your abilities, and conquer everything you can!

    This is Dungeon Roll!

    Unboxing, Rules and Gameplay Videos

    Enjoy the unboxing below:

    Watch a video going over the rules:

    Check out the gameplay:

    Teaching Tips

    Dungeon Roll works with dice, so, basically, luck. Luck, or the dice, can bring happiness or frustration. It also brings a few elements that are important to master. Happiness is easy, and you just need to have fun, but many children (and adults) don't know how to digest frustration.

    Mastering how to deal with frustration with Dungeon Roll is indeed a very interesting tool, after all, nothing is really on the line. So, understanding certain life lessons with this game and discussing real-life things later on can be excellent to stimulate our resilience and elaborate strategies to deal with the things that go wrong in our lives.

    Strategy and management are still big factors, as working with what you got and getting the most out of every single mechanic is imperative in Dungeon Roll. Understanding challenges (enemies) and taking advantage of all opportunities (abilities, specialties and artifacts) is the game's basic premise.

    The general teaching idea with Dungeon Roll is: do what you can with what you have, boost your abilities, deal with frustrations and know there will always be new opportunities (new dungeon delves). Never give up!

    Dungeon Roll teaches and educates you as you play it!

    I strongly recommend you add Dungeon Roll to your board game collection!!!