5 Minute Dungeon
I was quite intrigued when I first found this board game at the local library. My eyes first spotted the very fitting dragon-esque number 5 in the center of the box and I was quite pleased with the game that I checked out on a whim. I had not heard of 5- Minute Dungeon by Wiggles 3D prior to my library trip but this is definitely a hidden gem of a game.
It is rated for ages 8 and above and is for 2-5 players. I find it interesting that there were pieces written in French on the cover- but also a text box that says “Knowledge of English Required.” The contents inside is 200 player cards, 55 dungeon cards, 20 challenge cards, 3 double-sided boss mats, 5 double-sided hero mats and a rule book. When you get the box new there is also a plastic insert to keep things organized and from rattling around in the box. This game also has an expansion available as well.
How to Play
This is a a cooperative party game that can be played by 5 heroes in the main box, 6 if you are using the expansion pack. You and your party have a 5 minute timer to defeat the dungeon spawn and a big boss. There is a easy to follow step-by-step rule book that tells you all of the rules of the game, but there is also a QR code that links you to a YouTube video on how to play incase you don't want to read through the book.
The boss mat states how many dungeon cards you will place on top of them plus 2 challenge cards per player. There are 6 boss mats in total that you are to complete, and let me say that this game is fun but difficult. You start with boss 1- Baby barbarian and work your way up to fight the DM. Each player picks a side of one of the hero mats to play and then they get to take the matching player cards stack to that color. Each hero has a special move that they can do at the cost of discarding cards from their hand. From what I could tell each player has access to the types of cards needed (scroll, shield, arrow, sword, jumpy guy, etc.) and also had some black cards such as heal, holy hand grenade and others that did things to help your party regain cards or take away monsters or obstacles.
Once everyone has their character picked out you deal yourselves out the starting amount of cards (which changes based on the number of people who play that round. For sleepy and I it was 5 starting cards for 2 players). Then you use a 5 minute counter to track your time as you start to go through the cards. I highly recommend using the 5-minute Dungeon app which has 6 different voice actors that will narrate and keep you on track as you play.
Out of the 3 rounds Sleepy and I only made it to the boss mat once, with 34 seconds to spare, and we were unable to win due to the lack of cards in our hands. I can see why this game can be hard with just 2 people and much easier with more players as it gives you more cards with each player you get. As it is a cooperative game you are working to take the cards from you hands to match the colors/symbols from your hand to the colors/symbols on the dungeon, challenge, and boss cards. When you and your companions match all the symbols you can discard that monster/obstacle/etc and go onto the next one until you reach the boss mat at the bottom. The boss mats get harder and harder to defeat, requiring more cards to vanquish them. This is a fun party game as you are working against the clock rather than against each other. There is a definite need for strategy as you need to match certain cards, but you can also discard cards for class specific powers (like my paladin could discard 3 cards to auto defeat a monster). Sleepy and I both learned the hard way that you don't want to just dump cards either as you don't know when you will need that color or if you or your cohorts will have that card in the future.
The game goes until you defeat all the cards and the boss to win or there are many ways to loose. If the timer reaches 5 minutes, you loose. If you run out of cards that have the matching symbols when you get to the boss mat, you loose. If you and your fellow players run out of cards to play you also loose, good day sir. Sleepy and I fell victim to all three of those ways to loose in the three rounds that we played.
For accessibility I like that they hand not only symbols and colors to match on the cards, the type of dungeon card also had a symbol so those with character special abilities wouldn't necessarily know how to read but only needed to notice the wolf heads to match monsters, the person outline to match to people, and mountains for obstacles. This made the game open for players of younger age, those who may have trouble reading, and those who are color blind able to still participate. I will admit when we were playing we didn't really pay attention to the thing itself on the card and focused more on which symbols were needed and if either of us had a special ability to get rid of it. After the round was over we went through each of the monster cards to really appreciate the art and creativity that made each piece special.