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Posted on Aug 3, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Give Your Grey Matter a Work Out with Dungeon Time!  Game Review

Give Your Grey Matter a Work Out with Dungeon Time! Game Review

By Rick Martin

Dungeon Time Board Game Review. Publisher: Ares Games Game Designer: Carlo A. Rossi Price $25.00

Rick Martin

Passed Inspection: fast paced, fun, nice components, exercises your memory, addicting, family friendly

Failed Basic: rules are a little difficult to figure out

Ares Games of Italy is perhaps most well known for being the company behind the Wings of Glory World War I and World War II aircraft game but their product line is growing from other miniature war games such as Sails of Glory to epic science fiction games such as Galaxy Defenders and Euro Games such as Odyssey. Now Ares gives the card game genre a unique twist with Dungeon Time!

Dungeon Time is a card based game with a twist – for the first phase of the game, there is a strict time limit! An hourglass which is included in the game gives you 5 minutes to achieve your mission, when the time runs out, the first phase is over and the players then see how well they did.


The theme of the game is that you are playing a character in a fantasy world. The central piece of the game is communal backpack which you and the other players must fill with useful items and treasure. Specific cards are story or adventure cards which are grouped by the difficulty of the quest. Other cards are items such as torches, grappling hooks, swords, shields and such which will help you accomplish the quests.

Each player gets a hand of cards the number of which is based upon the number of players. The hand is a mix of Mission Cards and Items. The hourglass is turned over and the players have 5 “real time” minutes to play Mission Cards and then match up the items needed by the mission. For example, one Mission Card may require a torch and a sword to complete. The players rush against time to match up the items with the missions. When the mission is accomplished, it generates another item or treasure. Then the players play the next Mission Card and they may be able to use the treasure generated by the last Mission Card to fulfill the current Mission Card.

When the timer runs out, the players then take the pile of cards that was created by the Mission phase and lay out the missions and items. If the Missions are completed, they generate an item which is then put in the backpack. Items placed in the backpack can be used to fulfill other missions – if they do this, they are removed from the backpack. If the 8 slots in the backpack are filled with more than three items the backpack “breaks apart” and the players lose the game.

Different difficulty levels make the missions more challenging. As the “party” of players gets more experienced, they can attempt more difficult missions and even play the challenging Adventure Scrolls which add a whole new level of difficulty to the game. Legendary Heroes may also be added to the game which helps the party during their quests.

This game is a based on memory and how well the players do under the extreme stress of the hourglass. Don’t expect to play this game well immediately upon opening the box and reading the rules, you actually need to practice to get good at Dungeon Time! It’s more like mental athletics than a board or card game.

The rules are well illustrated with plenty of examples but even with that, it can take multiple read-throughs to figure out some of the game play. The Adventure Scrolls were difficult to figure out and an extra line of text in the rule book would have helped with this issue.

The game accommodates solo play or play by up to 5 players. It’s a great game to bring to a party and it doesn’t take up much table space or time to play. A complete game can take as little as 10 minutes. It’s very addicting but also mentally challenging.

Dungeon Time is a fun game which may help exercise the old brain cells in way that most games do not. So head out to the dungeon for an adventure or two and bring a big backpack! It’s “Dungeon Time”!

Armchair General Rating: 92 %

Solitaire Rating: 5 (1 to 5 with 1 being Poor and 5 being Perfect for Solo)

About the Author
A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer who can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!

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