Dungeon Petz is a fantasy themed worker placement game for 2 to 4 players ages 13 and up, that takes about 90 minutes to play.
“Become the leader of an imp family that has just started a new business – breeding and selling petz. Sound simple and safe? Well, we forgot to mention that those petz are for Dungeon Lords.” – Board Game Geek page
The game consists of several rounds in which players use a mechanic that works like a mix of worker placement and bidding raise and care for their baby creatures needs in order to sell them as grown and scary creatures to Dungeon Lords. In the meantime, they also attend various contests in which they show off their pets, scoring additional points.
In the first round of each turn players bid an amount of imp workers and/or money to go to market and purchase petz, food, extra pens, artifacts, or going to the hospital, inviting more imps to help, or volunteer to judge a contest. If you place your imp at the food stand you will take all of the food tokens at the spot. If you want a new pen you must put at least two imps at the space in order to take one of the available pens. Near the pens are also add-ons for the pens that need a single imp to occupy the space. When on the space that gives artifacts you will take two face up artifacts that will provide you with bonuses. Inviting more imps allows you to summon imp family members to join your business and gives you more workers for the preceding turns. To buy a pet you must send an imp to the pet maarket with gold in order to choose one of the available creatures. You can also choose to keep imps at home to care for your petz.
In the next phase, everyone needs to arrange their petz in their pens and put add-ons to the pens in which you want bonuses. If you have more petz than you have available pens they will run away. After this players assign ‘Needs’ cards to each pet from a hand of cards depending on the needs of each pet. Each pet is represented on a dial and the older they get the more you turn their dial and the more needs they will have. These needs will be things such as hunger, poop, play, magic, anger, and disease. After revealing your cards on each pet you will work on resolving them by feeding, playing with, and wrangling your petz. In this phase there is also an exhibition going on. The exhibition will say how many petz can be entered and based on the pet that you have chosen’s needs and attributes you will get a number of points.
At the last round of the game there will be Dungeon Lords looking for petz with with particular attributes and you will have to decide if you want to sell your pet to them or not if you have what they are looking for. If you sell petz you will acquire money and points. Any petz that you don’t sell to the dungeon lords age then you will move on to the next round. Petz only live to a certain age and also have an age in which they are in the prime of their life and worth a lot to Dungeon Lords. Exhibitions are good to win but you must remember that you are raising these petz for dungeons, eventually you will have to let them go, as sad as that may be. After a certain number of rounds based on the amount of players playing the game have passed you will get to the end of the game and the final two exhibitions to try to get the last little bit of points.
Thoughts: This is a fun game! At the beginning there is a decent amount of information to take in but once you get through a round or two you will really get the hang of it. I enjoy the mix of fantasy, economic, and simulation in the game as well. Each of those aspects feels nice and strong but one doesn’t over power the others. The components are nice as well, well crafted, and great art. The creatures are adorable, and sometimes adorably grotesque. Whether you have some kind of cave slug, or a dire bunny, you will enjoy each and every one of the baby creatures. The game has quite a few moving pieces and a decent amount to keep track of and take care of so it may be more difficult for some children, but those who get a chance to play will enjoy this fun/funny medium weight game.
For the Parents:
Violence: Your Imp workers may get injured trying to wrangle angry petz.
Sexual Content: None.
Horror/Occult: The game is based in a fantasy universe, your main workers are imps, and the various petz are creatures such as Dire Bunnies, Golems, and Dragons…but they’re all so cute.