D6 Dungeon Review – Warriors and Waffles
There is a lot to love about epic games. Large game, sprawling across numerous tables, taking hours to complete that can immerse you in a deep theme for entire days at a time. They are magnificent and deserve all the credit we can give them. Who doesn’t love complex? Who doesn’t love enormous? Who doesn’t love badass miniatures?
Well…yes…there is epic and there is enormous and there is gigantic – however, sometimes simplicity can also be the key, and today we’re going to look at a game that really helps take simplicity to its extremes. This is a game that is deceptively simple and effective and just joyous to play.
Enter – D6 Dungeon.
What is D6 Dungeon? How is D6 Dungeon played?
Okay, so there is a bit of a story behind this. D6 Dungeon is an innovative little game that Beth (my partner) and I first discovered at the UK Games Expo in 2019. It was actually the very first game we bought that year, and there is a very good reason for that. Originally Kickstarted under the name of The Dungeon Waffle, D6 Dungeon has a really quirky and interesting idea that deserved some attention. We played it and immediately we fell in love.
So, what is D6 Dungeon, also known as The Dungeon Waffle? Well, D6 Dungeon is a two player game (that can be expanded up to 3 and 4 player) designed by Richard Massey. When playing D6 Dungeon the players are facing either side of a giant waffle shaped grid. That grid is three dimensional, a little bit like a Connect 4 divider/board, and stands between the players.
On their turn, players will draft a singular die from a black bag. That die can be one of six colours:
- Yellow – Comprise mainly of paths, weapons, and wishes.
- Red – Mainly paths, Wish Nets, spells, and a dragon.
- White – Includes Wonderous Items, the Look Spell, paths and weapons.
- Purple – Curses, treasure chambers, Vorpal Swords, Disintegrate spells, and Wish Nets
- Greens – Locked Doors, Keys, Treasure Chests, Swivel Spells, and Rotate Spells.
- Orange – Mostly paths, the Look spell, Wish Ring, and Rotate Spells.
Everything you do within D6 Dungeon falls into one of three different categories –
- Dungeon Maps make up the path you create when traversing the map. Each die has at least two sides that are Dungeon paths.
- Items or Spells are things that can help you traverse the dungeon. These can be like swords/weapons for fighting any monsters on the paths, or spells to interact with the dice once they have been placed in the waffle.
- Wish Rings allow you to choose any side you want of the dice. They must be used immediately unless you store it in a Wish Net.
Using different dice, items, and spells it is down to you, as the player, to cross from one side of the waffle to the other. To do so you must create a path through the dungeon, as well as have enough keys to unlock any locked doors or chests you come across, enough swords to fight any monsters, and enough gumption to do it all with style.
It goes without saying that, as you place a die in the waffle, you have one side and your opponents have the other. With the spells allowing for you to manipulate your dice as well as your opponent’s, this allows for a really interesting dynamic within the game.
The first player to be able to trace a path across the waffle triggers the end game, assuming they have the tools to be able to make it. The winner is the person with the most points, either through making it through or being able to collect points on route.
What’s it like playing D6 Dungeon?
So, what can be said about D6 Dungeon? Well, to start with D6 Dungeon is light and fun. As a game, D6 Dungeon is incredibly easy to play and pick up. There is a large amount of luck involved, both with drafting your dice and with rolling it to try and get what you want; however, there is also enough luck mitigation to make it interesting and worthwhile. Spells and items are affluent within D6 Dungeon ensuring that there is almost always something you can do.
D6 Dungeon is one of those games that is simple and effective, and whether you like it or not, it is the kind of game that stays with you.
There is something beautifully innovative about D6 Dungeon. All too often we see games on the market or hit Kickstarter that describe themselves as “like x, but with y” – oh, you know this game, well this is Fluxx but with less fluctuation. This game? Oh this game, this is like Magic the Gathering but if everyone wore hats.
They’re silly example, but you get the idea. There are so many clones of games out there.
Yet here is D6 Dungeon – a game that was successfully Kickstarted off the innovation of the idea. It has something completely new and interesting and quirky. The fact it didn’t need snazzy miniatures or loads of Kickstarter exclusives needs acknowledging, because the original concept was just so incredibly new and brilliant. What is more, it is self-published and the love that went into it is fantastic.
D6 Dungeon is, in all honesty (as a board game fanatic and someone who has now written about them for almost three years) something that I haven’t seen elsewhere. It is quick to play and, where not completely flawless, the simplicity is what makes it such a great game.
Now, of course, there are limitations to the format. The theme, for instance, where clear what it is, it is restricted by the fact that this is a dice drafting and placement game. The theme could be switched out, even if it would lose the alliteration of the title, for something commuter based or more or less anything that is route planning. It is, in all honesty, a game you play for the innovative mechanics and waffle, as much as you play it for the actual theme itself.
What is more, as mentioned before, there is a lot of randomness in D6 Dungeon and this will undoubtedly put some players off. It is a game that doesn’t necessarily have the same polish as some of the larger games that hit Kickstarter – that said, there is something hugely satisfying about getting precisely what it is that you want.
One of the biggest strengths though, throughout the entirety of D6 Dungeon is the tug of war it creates between you and the other player. There are direct ways of interacting with players, using Wonderous Items, for instance, to steal their dice. That being said, there is also something fantastic about the interactions you have throughout the game. Since whatever I place for my side, the opposite will be on yours, this can lead to a few incredibly fun or funny moments.
What this means is your opponent may have finally got the roll they want, they place it perfectly, and so you decide to rotate their die – or they get what they want and so you destroy their dice. Or, alternatively, you can flip it, so now you have the side they wanted. It’s good, simple, wholesome, honest fun – and that is why we like D6 Dungeon.
TL;DR: The Good, The Bad, and the Vorpal Sword
Like with all games, we can break D6 Dungeon down into good, bad, and neutral points.
- D6 Dungeon is an incredibly innovative game. We haven’t seen anything like it before, and the original mechanics are a huge draw for the game.
- The player interaction can be really funny as well as really interesting. You can mess someone’s game up by simply rotating a die.
- There are enough options that the game never feels at a loss. Instead, as well as there being a large amount of luck, there are a large number of ways of mitigating that luck. It’s a mix of both being in control and being completely out of it at the same time.
- D6 Dungeon is a quick game, taking only around 20 minutes to play, with a large amount of replayability.
- D6 Dungeon balances out randomness and choice. With the die you draft and the roll you have, you can actually strategise to a certain extent.
- The randomness isn’t going to be for everyone. This is a game akin to a roll-and-write (or other strategic dice game), not a dungeon crawler.
- The artwork is simple but effective. Personally, I really like it as it reminds me of AD&D; however, for people who like really highly polished games it may require some second thoughts.
- It is possible to lose just through bad luck. Unlikely due to the methods of mitigation, but possible.
Conclusion: D6 Dungeon Review
You know what, when writing this review, myself and my partner got talking. We then stopped, mid discussion to play the game, and then continued discussing it.
In our house, we have two places we store board games. We have the games in our spare room, which comprise of large games and the majority of our collection – and then we have games we keep on a bookshelf in our lounge. Lounge games include games with green boxes on the bottom shelf (we have a whole colour theme going on) – and then games we play a lot of in the middle.
D6 Dungeon kind of fits both categories (we have the version with the green box for starters). It happily sits on our middle shelf along with our current most played games of Battle for Rokugan, Arkham Horror, and Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game. The innovation and entertainment factor of playing D6 Dungeon, the fact it can easily be broken out for a 20 minute game, and the fact it is so entertaining whilst also delivering a fresh challenge each and every time, make it a game that is more than worthy to sit amongst our most played.
We really like it and we suggest you check it out. You won’t regret it.
On that note – what are your thoughts? Have you played D6 Dungeon? Did you back it on Kickstarter? Have you played it before? Would you like to? Let me know in the comments below.