Note: I received this copy for free for purposes of reviewing it. I was able to play Dungeon Bash a few times before writing this review.
Dungeon Bash is a set of rules for generating and playing random dungeon-based adventures for D&D. The game doesn?t stand alone (and isn?t really meant to), but works as a supplement to standard D&D. It?s accurately described as a combination of RPG and boardgame.
Before actually playing Dungeon Bash, I expected a game that played like a board game based on D&D. In reality, Dungeon Bash is less a board game with D&D roots and more a slightly streamlined 3.5E game with built-in dungeon generator. The characters are basically D&D characters (although the rules point out that some classes work better in the dungeon environment than others), and the combats are conducted using all of the usual D&D rules (initiative, feats, etc.) There are a few feats that are unique to Dungeon Bash, and a few new uses for skills that attempt to make them more useful than they would otherwise be in the random dungeon environment (such as Gather Information.)
A typical session of Dungeon Bash goes a little something like this: players generate a dungeon on the fly and explore it while trying to achieve some sort of goal. This goal usually involves reaching a final room and defeating a big bad evil guy, finding a certain item, or some similar task, although the game has enough variations on this to keep things interesting.
Along the way, players encounter things typical of a traditional dungeon crawl adventure: wandering monsters, NPCS, traps, and treasure. The rules are written assuming you have someone acting as GM, whose job it is to roll random encounters, run the monsters, and generate the dungeon layout. Rules are also included for those without a GM (or for someone playing solo). The random encounter rules are clever and easy to use. I also liked the rules for tracking turn order outside of combat. I thought that the game handled random traps well, but I would have liked to see a more interesting variety of traps.
I was pleased to see the inclusion of NPCs as possible random encounters. The game gives rules for interacting with them, along with corresponding rewards (or unpleasant consequences) depending on what you do and how well you roll. Looking over the list of possible NPC encounters, I can see how things might get a little repetitive once you?ve encounter a handful of NPCs. I would have liked a little more flavor and variety in the encounters and their descriptions. Still, it?s cool that the game includes more than just hostile monster encounters.
In addition to the rulebook, Dungeon Bash comes with some other stuff.
TILES AND COUNTERS
These are color room and corridor tiles. While the would look best printed out in a color and mounted on backerboards, they didn?t look half bad just printed out in black-and-white and spread out on the gaming table. As a bonus, the tiles would work well in a standard D&D game.
The counters aren?t that impressive, and just feature the name of the creature (i.e. ?goblin?) written in white on a brightly colored background. They?d do in a pinch, but it?s more likely that your average gamer is going to want to tap into his D&D minis when ?Dungeon Bashing.?
TABLES AND SUMMARY
The tables include stat blocks for every monster and NPC that you could possibly encounter in the base game. These aren?t just generic SRD monsters, but include many, many opponents with class levels as well. This is a big printout, and I found it a little cumbersome to actually use at the gaming table. Between the rulebook, the monster stats book, the random tables, and the treasure charts?I felt a little overwhelmed by all this stuff. I wonder if the game would play a little easier for a group with a laptop. Since the encounter tables are RTF files, though, it would be fairly easy to simple copy, paste, and print only the tables and creatures you need.
The download also included area templates, a blank map, a spell reference sheet, and sample characters at 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 10th level.
<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Dungeon Bash is a lot of fun. The game plays like a low-level D&D dungeon crawl, but with minimal preperation. Need something to do on an off-gaming night? Dungeon Bash is the answer.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Dungeon Bash would benefit from more flavor. I think the designers went for generic, and ended up a bit too vanilla. There is plenty of room for expansion, though, and it wouldn?t take much to add things like themed dungeons, custom NPC encounter charts, unique traps, etc. to make the game a little spicier.
To their credit, the Other Game Company seems to realize this, and their website hints at a number of expansions (at least two of which will be free to those who buy the original) in the works.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>