You could call this a dungeon crawler, but you don’t do any of the crawling yourself. Your tiny hand-drawn adventurer has a mind of their own—or at least an approximation of one—and they explore a top-down dungeon that you’ve custom-built with your own hand.
Guild of Dungeoneering is a cute indie RPG that combines elements of Dungeon Keeper with the turn-based card combat of Hearthstone. It’s your job to lure the hero to the dungeon’s boss, offering them gold to loot and enemies to slay. You’re not actually evil, though. You’re throwing giant bats and rats at a terrified adventurer, sure, but you’re ultimately doing it to help them.
Building the dungeon is, like the combat, turnbased. Each turn you decide whether to expand it with corridors and chambers, place enemies for your adventurer to battle, or treasure for them to collect. The map is blank except for a distant boss chamber, which is their ultimate goal.
But they won’t stand a chance unless you help them level up along the way. Heroes will be naturally drawn towards loot and enemies that are weaker than them, but will avoid powerful foes. That is, unless you drop some gold beside those foes. Greed often overcomes fear. And as heroes defeat enemies, they level up.
Your reward for levelling up your hero is better cards in your battle deck. Combat is a CCG-style back-and-forth, with both hero and enemy taking turns to play cards against each other. It’s here that you have direct control over your hero, and you need to play smart, using defensive cards where necessary, to win. You’ll also find improved weapons and armour with which to equip your little guy as you defeat monsters.
There are cards with magic effects, but Dungeoneering isn’t as complex or multilayered as Hearthstone or Magic. It makes up for this with elegant, streamlined design. It’s really easy to get into, even if you’ve never played an RPG with card combat before. That everything is rendered in a cute paper-and-pencil style only adds to the accessible feel. It’s charming as hell.
When you’ve cleared a dungeon and defeated the boss, you return to your guild with the spoils and a levelled-up hero. But a guild isn’t really a guild unless there’s more than one adventurer, and more can be hired, sent on quests, and upgraded. The more powerful your guild becomes, the better the loot you’ll plunder.
Guild of Dungeoneering is a fun game with heaps of personality. The simplistic visuals might put some people off, but there’s surprising depth to be found as your hero levels up and your card deck expands. If you don’t have the time or patience to master one of the big CCGs, this is an accessible, easy-to-learn alternative, with some compelling dungeon-building thrown in.