October 22, 2013 7:00 PM | Lena LeRay
We're currently in between Ludum Dares, but the LD community isn't exactly sleeping. That's where I found Guild of Dungeoneering. In this browser game by Colm Larkin of Dublin, Ireland, your goal is to see your adventurer -- sorry, dungeoneer -- explore and safely obtain lots of loot in a dungeon. The catch is that you never control the adventurer directly.
Instead, your job is to build the dungeon. Each round you draw five cards, two room cards and three cards that can come up as monsters, equipment, or plain ol' treasure. Rooms can have one to four doorways, and a room can only be attached to another room with an appropriately matching opening. Items and monsters can only be played in empty rooms. Once you've played all five cards or tried to play an unplayable card, the round ends and the dungeoneer moves to an adjacent room. Naturally, the dungeoneer prefers treasure over monsters, which is good because you can only fight so many monsters before it's game over.
The game is still in alpha. That said, it's a great start. On my first playthrough, pictured above, my dungeoneer just walked back and forth over the same three squares, in spite of how the dungeon spawled. On the second playthrough, I discovered that deliberately playing unplayable rooms before putting in all the monsters gave me some leeway with dungeon design and allowed me to create a large swath of treasure far from the monster hordes. Even so, I eventually found my guy locked into going back and forth over the same two squares. Once you seal off all entrances and exits, the game stops giving you room cards and you're almost guaranteed to get at least one treasure out of the five cards, which makes it rather easy, if repetitive, to rack up treasure.
I think Larkin still has some work to do to make this a truly great game, but it's well on its way already. The alpha is playable here, and the developer is taking feedback on how the game can be improved. I recommend heading over to give it a try.