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5-Minute Dungeon: Curses! Foiled Again!

Expansions can be a tricky thing. Will it keep the spirit of the base game while adding something new to justify its existence? Or will it just overcomplicate a game that is already just right for casual gamers?

5-Minute Dungeon is a real time card game about racing through a dungeon to defeat the boss before you run out of time. Its first expansion is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. What does it add?

Gameplay

In 5-Minute Dungeon players have to race the clock in order to fight their way through a dungeon and defeat the boss at the end of it. Each player chooses a hero mat which comes with its own unique deck. (The mat is double-sided, with a unique hero ability on either side. Players choose which side they’d like to play with at the start of the game.) The dungeon is built up of door cards, which reveal monsters and obstacles, and challenge cards, which contain mini bosses and events.

Each hero deck contains some action cards which have special abilities and cards bearing symbols. To defeat a monster or overcome obstacles, players must collectively play cards showing the symbols on the dungeon card. There are no turns; players may lay down a card whenever they wish. As soon as you play a card, you draw a new one. Players can also discard three cards in order to activate their hero’s special ability. Once all dungeon cards have been defeated, players take on the boss. If they defeat the boss, they win the dungeon and can go onto the next one, which will have a tougher boss and more cards in the dungeon deck. If players run out of cards, run out of time, or get stuck with nothing they can do to defeat an enemy, they lose the game.

The expansion, 5-Minute Dungeon: Curses! Foiled Again! adds a few new concepts to the game. Each of the five bosses now has five boss cards that are specifically connected to them. When you go up against a boss, you replace five regular door cards with the boss’s five boss cards. Many of these cards are curses. Curses have special effects that remain active throughout the rest of the dungeon (unless you are able to dispel them with a few special hero cards). These curse effects can do things such as prevent heroes from using their special abilities or force you to lay your cards face down on the table and you can only look at them one at a time.

There are also six artifacts in the game, one for each hero mat. Before each dungeon, after players have selected their heroes, they take the artifacts for the hero mats not being used and place them close at hand. Each artifact has a powerful effect, such as removing all curses or discarding the top two cards of the dungeon deck. You may use each artifact once during the dungeon.

Finally, the expansion introduces a new hero mat, the Druid/Shaman. This allows you to play with up to six players. The Druid/Shaman has a more balanced deck than the other heroes, that doesn’t favor any one symbol over another. Also included in the game are two new powerful action cards for each hero deck.

5-Minute Dungeon: Curses! Foiled Again!  Components

Review

5-Minute Dungeon is an easy game to learn and that is one of its strengths. Curses! Foiled Again! manages to introduce new concepts without losing that ease of use. Curse cards add a new, challenging layer of gameplay without overcomplicating things and some of the challenges are particularly unique and fun to play with. You can also end up with multiple curses in play at a time which can be quite deadly.

Artifact cards are also a positive addition, and it’s interesting that you use the artifacts of the heroes who aren’t in the game rather than those who are. Choosing which heroes to bring into the dungeon already poses an interesting decision, and the artifact cards add a whole new layer to that.

The addition of new cards for the base game heroes is a nice touch that gives all players something new to be working with, not just whoever players the new hero.

Some cards seem to work slightly better with different player counts. For instance, one curse card limits a player’s hand size to three cards; however in a game with four or more players, hand size is already at three. While the curse card does counteract special abilities like drawing extra cards, the curse will still impact smaller groups more significantly.

If you enjoy 5-Minute Dungeon, you will find that the expansion does the base game proud. Everything that is fun about 5-Minute Dungeon is still very much there, and the new ideas and concepts only enhance the experience. Check it out on Kickstarter and see for yourself.

Pros: New concepts do not take away from the easy to learn nature of the base game and compliments it nicely

Cons: Some cards seem to balance better with different sized groups

Disclosure: this preview is based on our evaluation of an unpublished prototype of the game, which is subject to change prior to publication. While a modest payment was received to expedite the review process, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are honest and accurate.