Last summer, or maybe it was even late spring, we visited a few community yard sales and hit the vintage board game jackpot. Over the course of our travels we found four or five vintage board games worth purchasing and trying out to see if they were terrible. The game Anthony was most excited about was DUNGEON! a D&D-based board game put out by TSR, the company created by D&D founder, Gary Gygax. All sorts of periphery products came out when D&D was in its heyday, including board and video games, which seem rather redundant (board game particularly – Anthony enjoyed the video game) considering that D&D is a tabletop game already.
When we came upon the rather beat-up box Anthony was thrilled beyond measure and instantly texted photos of it to his fellow D&D-loving friends. None of them had ever played it before and not long after we brought it home we had three additional volunteers excited to experience DUNGEON!
The art on the cards was pretty fantastic, with the teleporting wizard card being my favorite. He’s like, “I’m over here! Now I’m over here! Got yer nose! I’m over here!” The wizard casting a spell card is a close second. It’s magnificent. Something about the size and shape and cardboard texture of the cards made me thing they’d all make exceptional press-on tattoos.
Just like in regular D&D, players needed to pick a class. Players could chose between Elf (which is a race and a class in this game, I guess), Wizard, Hero, or Superhero. I thought the fact that they gave you a choice between being a Hero or a Superhero was hilariously odd, and eventually I think so did they, because in later versions of the game they did away with that dichotomy entirely.
Our four party members set forth into the dungeon, excited to try a new form of D&D. They wanted treasure, xp, and most of all, to be entertained. Sadly, the only loot this dungeon had to offer was a severely boring time. They also weren’t sure if they had all the equipment they needed to play the game, all the cards and so forth, but in the end they all got so bored it didn’t even matter. And this is coming from people who love D&D so much they’ve been known to play it for 8 hours straight.
The day after their epically uninteresting adventure I visited a new thrift store in town and was combing through their comic book section, looking for anything of interest, when I came upon this original ad for DUNGEON! from the early 80s. In addition to rocking some pretty sweet Wesley sweaters the kids in the ad look like they are having such a fantastic time they don’t even realize they are about to be eaten by a dragon. Or maybe he just wants to play. It’s hard to tell.