Dungeon Lords isn't exactly a new board game - it came out in 2009, but it was new to me!
In Dungeon Lords, you take the role of a Dungeon Master, but not in the traditional DnD method. You get to manage all the nitty gritty logistics of the dungeon - hiring minions, digging tunnels, laying traps, collecting food, paying taxes, etc. Yeah, that's right, all the boring stuff.
You take the role of an apprentice evil-dungeon master, who has two years to prove himself to his bosses that he can be a dungeon master on his own. Over two years (four game "turns") you will build and customize your dungeon, and every year (or four game "turns") a party of dastardly adventurers will invade your dungeon and lay waste to all that you worked so hard to make.
|A player's board at the beginning of the game. So far, my dungeon consists of three sections of tunnels (on the left), three bushels of food (green), three gold coins (gold) and three advisors (blue).|
Over the course of the game, you will visit town and purchase (or steal) supplies, hire (or kidnap) workers, convince monsters to fight for you, acquire traps, slaves, etc. In gameplay terms, you are competing with other players on the order of which things happen. You frequently want to be second or third at doing something, but not first. For example, the first person to go for food gets to use gold to buy food. The second person to get food scares the villagers and steals their food. The third person kidnaps the people to eat AS food and also steals the money that they had from the first sale.
|The center board where all the madness happens.|
|Blue's board. They have expanded their tunnel system a bit, and acquired a trap (card at the top middle)|
|As the year progresses, the adventuring party forms up, adding one adventurer per season.|
|I had to fight a thief and two healers. They got one spot into my dungeon before my monsters and traps chased them away. That is actually REALLY good (only losing one room of my dungeon)|
Players don't directly fight each other in Dungeon Lords, but rather compete against each other for the resources to make their dungeon the best. There's a scoring matrix at the end of the game to see who was the best dungeon master - and let me tell you...this game is HARD! If you end up with a positive score, you did pretty good!
From the game's website: Have you ever ventured with party of heroes to conquer dungeons, gain pride, experiences and of course rich treasure? And has it ever occurred to you how hard it actually is to build and manage such underground complex filled with corridors and creatures? No? Well now you can try. Put yourself in role of the master of underground, summon your servants, dig complex of tunnels and rooms, set traps, hire creatures and try to stop filthy heroes from conquering and plundering your precious creation. We can guarantee you will look on dark corners, lairs and their inhabitant from completely different perspective!