FTW Staff Picks - 5-Minute Dungeon
For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new.
Genre: Real-Time Cooperative
Designer: Connor Reid
Player Size: 2 to 5 Players
Game Length: 5 minutes
For fans of: Magic Maze, Escape: The Curse of the Temple, Hanabi
How many games do you think could legitimately play a full game of in 5 minutes? It's probably a pretty short list with things like Jenga and Connect 4 leading the way. 5-Minute Dungeon plays in exactly 5 minutes (give or take a few more to set it all up). And somehow after those 5 minutes, you will have felt a level of accomplishment as though you had played a full-fledged 30 to 60 minute experience.
In 5-Minute Dungeon, players team-up to speed their way to through a randomized dungeon in real-time, to defeat the dungeon's boss. Each player selects one of the ten heroes in the game to play as, and receives their own unique deck of cards. The dungeon is randomly constructed with monsters and challenges. Players have 5 minutes to get through each Dungeon card and defeat the boss. There are no turns. Players play cards simultaneously and discuss their contributions. If the players are able to defeat the boss before time is up they have cleared the dungeon and may move onto a 2nd Dungeon in the campaign. If the players cannot defeat the Dungeon before time runs out, they have lost the game!
Like most real-time cooperative games, 5-Minute Dungeon is all about communication and coordination. It's not a particularly difficult game, but it does require everyone to be alert. Carefully using your resources without overspending will help make the final boss encounter much more manageable. Each hero has its own unique ability, and each hero board has two-sides both having different abilities. And each hero also has a unique deck of cards. It's important to set yourself up for the best chance at winning with the right combination of heroes.
If you think a 5-minute game is too quick for any kind of strategy, you'll likely be surprised after one game of 5-Minute Dungeon. It's not just throwing cards into a pile. You get that same sense of expedition that you find in other RPG-style games, but with a higher sense of urgency. Instead of complicated and bloated combat mechanics, the game will test your time and resource management skills. It was among the few games that received a Spiel des Jahres 2018 recommendation and its family-friendly approach certainly earned its place among those bestowed with the accolade.