Twitch Prime gives you free games, which is a pretty good deal. These past months they have been especially generous and I got quite a few games.
One of those is Guild of Dungeoneering, in which you play the manager of an adventurer’s guild. You need to recruit adventurers (“dungeoneers”), and the types you can recruit are dependent on the facilities in your guild: you need a library to recruit a magician’s apprentice, and a stage to recruit a mime(!). You can buy extensions with the money your dungeoneers get from the various dungeons that you can send them to.
The actual “dungeoneering” is the meat of the game. Your dungeoneers enter each and every dungeon at level 1 and no equipment — indeed, none of their gains carries over from dungeon to dungeon. The dungeoneer is free to choose their own path through the dungeon, and each round you have three cards to choose from a hand of five to add rooms, monsters and treasure to the dungeon. You want to entice the dungeoneer towards the path you want them to take, towards monsters that are appropriate for their level. If they defeat a monster of a level equal or higher to theirs, they gain a level — and the power level really ramps up, so you really want to guide them towards the right battles. The maps are hand-drawn on a graph paper overlay, to give that home-brew dungeon feel, which is a nice touch.
The combat system is card-based: you draw a hand of cards and you choose one action card to play that round, while the monster does so too. There are cards with effects that operate on the number of cards you have to choose from: more is better, obviously. There is physical and magical damage, and you can defend against physical and magical too. Equipment can give you an additional hit point and multiple additional cards during combat, some of which are really good.
Each dungeon run will give you gold, and with that gold you can expand your guild. You can add rooms that will get you a new type of dungeoneer (only one dungeoneer per type!), rooms that will give you a blessing (you can choose one blessing when you go in) or workshops that will introduce new equipment cards to the dungeons.
I have to give a shout-out to the best feature of the game: the bard. Whenever a new chapter starts, or with victory and defeat, you get a little song by a “bard” that is appropriate. There’s not much variation in them, which is a pity, because they’re a nice flourish to the game.
It’s kinda fun in that each dungeon is a puzzle. But it is also repetitive and can be frustrating: some unlucky draws can cost you your victory. The randomness really makes it a bit hit-or-miss for each dungeon run. And there is no way to ‘build up’ your dungeoneers, which is a pity.
The game it most closely resembles is Darkest Dungeon, but that offers much deeper gameplay. In DD, you earn treasures to build up your town, which has real effects for the adventurers you recruit. And you need to plan further ahead, since things like stress carry over from every dungeon you explore — and that is absent from Guild of Dungeoneering.
So I’m not sure I’ll still be playing this months from now. The game costs EUR 20 on Steam, and I don’t think I would get my money’s worth out of it for that price. Heck, it’s twice as expensive as Darkest Dungeon, which you can get for EUR 10 in a sale right now on GOG, and that is the better game of the two.