A chaotic card game for the whole family
Dungeon Mayhem is a bit of a departure from the usual D&D experience. The characters, abilities and spells you’ll recognise, but this is not an attempt to match up to the role play elements and other aspects of D&D. Instead, Dungeon Mayhem is a fast and frantic pick up and play card game that’s fun for the whole family and a wonderful, gentle introduction into the D&D universe.
What’s in the Box
You’ll find 4 decks of cards (1 for each character) including a reference card to help you know what each card symbol means and a health card. There’s also counters for losing shields and to keep track of your hit points. The cards are colourful and vibrant with fun names for each action with an appealing art style. The rulebook is simple to follow and easy to understand and the box itself is compact making it easy to take on the go.
In Dungeon Mayhem, players pick from 1 of 4 characters, a tiefling rogue, an orc barbarian, an elf paladin and a human wizard. The aim of the game is to deplete the other characters’ health down from 10 to 0 and being the last surviving character. This is done by drawing cards from the relevant deck (each character has a different deck) and playing at least 1 card a turn.
There are several different action types that can be taken when playing a card; attack, heal, shield, special and play another card. Each card you play can have multiple actions so a card with 2 attack symbols will allow you to cause another character to lose 2 health. Shield cards give you extra temporary hit points for every shield on the card and other cards allow you to play extra cards on your turn, potentially allowing for a chain of attacks and moves.
Each deck has similar cards but some vary a little in the frequency of certain types of moves or the combinations, for instance, the barbarian has cards that can take 4 health in one go, the paladin has more protective cards while the rogue often has cards that allow you to play more cards. Each character also has unique special moves. For example, the barbarian has an attack that can hit all enemies at the same time, the wizard can swap hit points with another player and the rogue can evade all attacks for a turn.
When playing a card, players can choose who to target. This is where the real fun comes in, especially with more people playing as things can become a bit more tactical and this is where treachery and revenge come into play (cue the arguements that are bound to arise). It’s also this interplay between aggression, defense and saving cards for devastating combos that makes this a really fun game. The randomness of the card draws also means the experience is different for each play through too.
Dungeon Mayhem is one of those special games that’s extremely simple (you can learn all you need to learn in a single 10 minute playthrough), deep enough to be tactical and is still able to transcend age and interest barriers. I regularly play with my children (as young as 6) who grasp the rules easily as well as D&D aficionados and those less inclined towards TTRPGs alike. It’s easy to pick up, hard to put down, a game will last between 5-15 minutes, and just about everyone and anyone can enjoy it.
Dungeon Mayhem does exactly what it says on the tin; it’s mayhem in a box. A chaotic, frenetic experience that’s easy to learn. As a father of future D&D enthusiasts, it’s the perfect introduction to the D&D universe and a wonderful diversion that I can enjoy with my children. It’s also a great game for guests as it takes very little to learn and provides a great social experience as players seek to get one up on each other. For me, this is the perfect casual card game for the whole family and at just £10-15, it comes highly recommended.