Clear back at PAX West we were introduced to Dungeons & Dragons' latest card game, Dungeon Mayhem, and we couldn't wait to get our hands on it. The game was marketed as a simplified version of the game where four players took on different roles and battled against each other to see who would come out as the winner in a free-for-all. Now with D&D Live 2019 on the way in May, we thought we'd explore the game again and give it a proper review after we play, like, 200 rounds of it with friends.
The game is pretty easy to learn as you can play with 2-4 players, each of you taking a different role in the game. You have a Paladin, a Barbarian, a Wizard, and a Rogue, four standard characters you would find in D&D. Each character comes with their own deck of cards, along with a life counter card and a special powers card that shows you what you can do with your character's special abilities. That card also explains what each of the symbols does as you draw cards from your pile, which you can see below. The goal of the game is to be the last fighter standing.
Your hand will have a few different options for you when it comes to drawing cards, gaining health, dealing damage, and spreading magic. It's up to you how you wish to play these cards as you can play as many as you'd like in one sitting, even going through your entire hand if you see fit. But the key thing to remember about this game is that it's everyone for themselves, so you can attack any player you choose regardless of their turn or health. You could all gang up on oen person, whittle each other down, or simply play until you run out of cards and try to figure out what to do next.
The real key to Dungeon Mayhem is finding a balance. If you hold back too many cards, you may be dead before you can play anything worthwhile. Give away too much of your hand and you may have nothing to defend yourself with before it comes back to you. Each character has a plethora of options with snazzy artwork that will make you smile as you look at it. It'll be up to you as to how you go about defending yourself and trying to figure out who to take out in the game.
Some of the card choices from characters can be absolute fun, as you see from the Barbarian set here where you have massive attack cards that will just deal immense amounts of damage to whoever may be in your way. We also got a kick out of the Rogue deck that you see above as you partially play a trickster, partially a defender, and partially an assassin waiting in the wings to take out the weakest among you. If you're curious whether or not these characters need to be your personal favorites in the game, no. Every deck can be picked up and learned quickly, even if you don't care for Paladins.
I really enjoyed playing Dungeon Mayhem with my friends. I think this is one of the best short games Wizards of the Coast has made in a while and every time you end there's usually an immediate cry to play again and try out a new character. The one downside, if you can call it that, is that there's only four characters to choose from right now. I would really like to see the company expand and add four more classes to the mix and possibly make it an eight-player battle. I could see characters like Rogue, Sorcerer, Bard, and Monk all having a place in the game and doing well. I highly recommend it if you're into short games, card games, or if you're a D&D player who wants to experience something off the beaten path.