Quest For The Dungeonmaster

In 1984 TSR produced a board game called Quest For The Dungeonmaster in which the players had to rescue the Dungeon Master from Warduke. (The game was inspired by the In Search Of The Dungeon Master episode episode where Warduke captures Dungeon Master but the similarities end there.) Instead of dice numbered cards are used to replicate dice rolls. The game is for 2 to 6 players, aged six and upwards.

One notable mistake is that Dungeon Master is spelt as Dungeonmaster in the game's title and also as DungeonMaster on the playing cards. Other mistakes are that bullywug is spelt as bullywog and Presto's card describes him as a magic-user instead of magician.


The box cover showing the heroes gathered round a tree stump playing the game with Uni and Venger as onlookers. Hidden in the surrounding forest are Strongheart and Warduke.


The box's underside showing an example of game play with the board set up with playing cards and assembled character cards.


The illustrated game board. The illustrations depict Presto climbing up a cliff using a rope (reminiscent of the opening titles where he conjures noosed ropes to escape Tiamat), the monster from cell 13, Bobby the barbarian thumping the ground with his club, Tiamat the dragon, Eric shielding himself from one of Venger's fiery blasts, a blue-cloaked Sheila, Diana, Hank, Kelek and one of his dire wolves, Uni severing a thread from which Lolth dangles (reminiscent of the scene in the Hall Of Bones episode), Warduke and two bullywugs and the Dungeon Master.


The playing cards with a proof of purchase ticket and two blank cards presumably to be filled in to replace lost ones. The reverse of the playing cards feature the Dungeon Master.


There are 56 cards (with their values or asterisk in brackets) comprising of:

x4 Hank the ranger cards (7).
x6 Eric the cavalier cards (6).
x7 Diana the acrobat cards (5).
x7 Presto the magician cards (4).
x7 Sheila the thief cards (3).
x6 Bobby the barbarian cards (2).
x4 Uni the unicorn cards (1).
x5 Venger cards (*).
x3 Tiamat cards (*).
x2 DungeonMaster cards (*).
x2 bullywog cards (*).
x2 blank cards.
x1 proof of purchase card.















The six character cards. These are to be punched out, folded in half and inserted into the plastic stands show below.



The instructions are printed on the inside of the box's base. Below is a transcript of the rules.


A fantasy adventure game for 2 to 6 players, ages 6 and up.

OBJECT OF THE GAME
Our adventurers are searching for the Dungeonmaster to free him from WARDUKE Evil Fighter. Be the first player to reach the Dungeonmaster and win the game!

CONTENTS
1 game board, 6 playing pieces, 54 cards.

LOOK AT THE PLAYING PIECES: Carefully punch the characters out of the cardboard sheet and bend in half. Insert each character into a plastic stand.

LOOK AT THE CARDS: Carefully punch out all the cards and collect them into a pile. Save the Proof of Purchase card and set it aside.

HOW TO SET UP THE GAME
Each player chooses a playing piece and places it on the board in the corner marked START. Shuffle all the cards and deal three face-down to each player. Place the rest of the cards face-down in the box marked DRAW PILE in the middle of the game board. Do not show your cards to any other player.

HOW TO PLAY THE GAME
Choose one player to go first. The next player is always the player to the left.

HOW TO TAKE A TURN
1) Take a card from the top of the DRAW PILE and add it to the cards in your hand.
2) Put one of your cards face-up on the DISCARD PILE.
3) Do what the card says or move your playing piece forward the number of spaces on the card.

HOW TO USE THE CARDS
NUMBER CARDS: These show you how many spaces to move forward. You cannot move backward with a NUMBER CARD. For example, if you choose to play a PRESTO card, you move forward 4 spaces.

STAR * CARDS: These let you move yourself or another player forward or backward. A TIAMAT card lets you trade all your cards with another player.

FREE TURN: If you land on a space already taken by another player, you get a free turn! (See HOW TO TAKE A TURN.) You might get more than one free turn in a row. As soon as you land on an empty space, your turn is over. You do not get a free turn if somebody else moves you to someone else's space. Then you must move to the next empty space in front of him.

SHORT CUTS: Shortcuts are the coloured arrows on the game board. To take a shortcut you must play a card that has the same colour as the shortcut arrow and the same character that is near the arrow on the board.

1) If at the start of your turn you are already on a shortcut, you may hop across the shortcut by playing the NUMBER CARD that is the same colour as the shortcut arrow. Now your turn is over. You do not get to move the number of spaces on the card.

2) If you land on a shortcut by playing the NUMBER CARD that is the colour of the shortcut arrow, you get to hop across the shortcut right away. You do not have to play any more cards or wait until the next turn. Your turn is now over unless you landed on another player's space. Then you get another turn!

HOW TO WIN: The first player to reach the space marked END by the Dungeonmaster wins the game! You do not need to reach the space by the exact count. Now you can rescue the Dungeonmaster!

7 comments:

  1. I played this game with friends 2 weeks ago. Was kinda ok. A bit less "complicated" but more strategical than the french version I talked you about. (That we tried the week before). All is in the shortcuts ! :D

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  2. Yes, I was a bit surprised by the dice-free game mechanics but it is more strategical having to choose which of three cards to play rather than the luck of a dice roll. So probably more challenging for younger players as it prompts them to think about how to move.

    But as an adult I have to see it does look a bit boring!

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  3. Being a rule tweaker I'd include the two blank cards as a miss-a-go rule; the player can either play the card to get rid of it and not move or hang on to the card but this leaves them with only two functional cards to play with. (Or just one if they're unlucky enough to have both blank cards in their hand.)

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  4. The shortcut rules are wrong! They talk about the cards being the same color as the shortcut but the cards aren't colored. Surely they mean cards with the same character as the shortcut? This is how I always played it with my family.

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  5. Yep, it does seem the rules should mean character instead of colour. (I never noticed that before.) Perhaps the author was getting confused with the backgrounds of the playing pieces whose colours match the arrows?

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  6. Another rule tweak for the blank cards could be to have them as wild cards instead where the player chooses which card the blank one is going to copy.

    There could be three variants of this rule; Universal, where the wild card can copy any card, Numbered, where the wild card can only copy numbered cards (Uni, Bobby, Sheila, Presto, Diana, Eric & Hank) or Starred, where the wild card can only copy starred cards (Bullywug, Dungeon Master, Tiamat & Venger).

    A further variant could be to limit the deck to only one blank card instead of two.

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  7. The illustrations depict Presto climbing up a cliff using a rope (reminiscent of the opening titles where he conjures noosed ropes to escape Tiamat)

    Lassos, he summons lassos.

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