Game Length: 90 minutes
Best enjoyed: With 4 players wanting to manage a unique business
Dungeon Petz, despite the unfortunate spelling, is not a board game implementation of 90s-era shovelware, but a unique take on worker placement and risk management designed by Vlaada Chvátil, in the same setting as Dungeon Lords. Much like Dungeon Lords, Dungeon Petz is a very front-loaded game, and players will need to be happy with sitting through a lengthy rules explanation before their first play.
In Dungeon Petz, players will take the roles of enterprising families of imps, each seeking to become the most renowned monster breeders in the land. They will do this by purchasing baby monsters and nurturing them as they grow – however, these families will be treading on each others’ toes, as there are only so many monsters, cages and other essential paraphernalia available each round. Not to mention the monsters themselves – as they grow, they’ll become increasingly harder to handle!
There are two sides to Dungeon Petz – the worker placement side and the pet management side. In the worker placement side, you will be competing with the other families for the limited spaces on the board, and using up your supply of imps and gold to try and get your preferred positions, and to gather the resources you’ll need for pet management. In the pet management side, you will assign a set of cards to your various monsters – this will determine their behaviour, which will in turn determine their suitability for the various clients and pet shows. Do well in the shows and sell the right pet to the right client, and your renown will grow – and renown will determine the final winner of the game!
There are lots of fiddly rules, and expect to get a few wrong on your first play. Lots of careful planning is required in a game of Dungeon Petz too, as there is a wide range of things you need to take into account – some players can be overwhelmed by this. However, for those who are up for the challenge of learning the rules, there is a rich and fulfilling game to be found.
Dungeon Petz works best with four players, but still works fine with two or three. It comes highly recommended to experienced gamers as a unique game that combines risk management with worker placement. It rewards careful planning, and watching your monsters grow while you try your hardest to keep them in check is very satisfying. The game itself is chock full of character – the board is covered with quirky art, there are biographies for all of the monsters and while the rules are complex, they make sense once you understand them. Just don’t ask what happens to pets that you don’t buy, and you’ll be fine!