Review: Deal-a-Dungeon

Posted: 18 November 2011 in Reviews

The Deal-a-Dungeon starter set from Talisman Studios looked like a useful addition to my GM armoury, being aimed at creating a dungeon on the fly by dealing cards from a special deck.

As ever, I got the PDF download version, which weighs in at a chunky 40 MB for 37 full-colour pages.

Inside, I found two pages of instructions, 21 pages of dungeon tiles, and 12 pages of cards. The idea is to assemble the cards, shuffle, and draw to determine the next section of your dungeon. Once you know that, you lay the corresponding tiles on the table and off you go.

The dungeon tiles break down into four large areas, 16 x 16 squares (the D&D standard of 5′ to the square and 25/28mm figures is in force), and 32 small areas, 4 x 4 squares. These are a mixture of small rooms and corridors, mostly one square wide but occasionally two. There’s also a sheet of doors, stairs and other small miscellaneous tiles.

The large areas have subsections, either areas with particular terrain on them, or smaller rooms as part of a complex. You need to print out four sheets for each one, and assemble.

You can buy additional packs, each with a new large area and its associated card, to build up your deck. It would also be easy enough to add cards for treasure or encounters to the deck, giving you a complete dungeon generator.

All good enough at what it does, although the artwork is quite dark, in black and dark greens, and would be hard to make out in dim light. Certainly my usual practice of snapping a picture of the setup on my mobile phone when we call the session for the night wouldn’t produce a clear enough image.

However, it’s not for me. I prefer a set of room and corridor tiles which are all the same size, and use as much of the paper as possible. The smaller tiles typically used for corridors and stairs are easily disturbed, and harder to tessellate.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

  1. Steve Boulter says:

    So Andy, if you had to choose one solo Dungeon ‘system’ and one Dungeon generator to use what would it/they be?

    Just curious.


    • andyslack says:

      I think the best fit to what I’m trying to do would be a mixture of Savage Worlds for the rules, and Advanced Heroquest for the generator. How about you, Steve?

      The one that my family and I have had the most fun with, though, was D&D 3.5 played using some random 8×10 inch tiles I knocked up one afternoon in the now-defunct GridSmith, Lego minifigures, and random monster and treasure tables. It was a blast until the PCs reached about 7th-8th level, then the number of options they had swamped it.

      I might unlimber GridSmith again and recreate those.

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