The Alphastream Game Design Blog

Cooperative Dungeon! and Young Gamer Parents: Hang In There


Want to play the Dungeon! board game cooperatively? Are you a new sleep-deprived and overworked parent wondering if life will ever get better? Let’s talk about both!dungeon_board1

Cooperative Dungeon!

Last night my son and I played Dungeon!, the 2012 remake of the classic game created by David R. Megarry as a DM-free introduction to D&D. The game is good quick fun played normally, but we favor a cooperative variant:

  • Dungeon_coopEach person chooses a class.
  • You add up the total treasure value for each character: everyone has to work together. You keep treasure on your character, but the moment the total across all players meets the total needed for all classes, the group can head back to the central chamber.
  • If two players are in the same chamber or adjacent to each other, you can trade treasure as your action (can’t have monsters in the room/chamber).
  • When each player gets back to the central chamber, they summon a monster of the highest difficulty recommended for their level, plus 1 (if your recommended level for monsters is 1-3, you meet a level 4). If other players arrive they can fight your monster or their own. (Sometimes my kids demand a level 6 too, just because they don’t want the game to end)
  • When all monsters in the central chamber are defeated, everyone wins.
  • Everyone loses if the number of deaths equals the number of players + 2 (adjust this to taste… sometimes we drop this rule completely).
  • We also like this house rule for chambers: When you defeat the third monster in a chamber, you gain 2 treasures. (This makes chambers more fun)

The cooperative variant is a lot of fun with kids.

Gaming Parents: Hang in There!

I will never forget how hard I worked as a parent when my kids were babies, toddlers, and for several years after that. It felt as if every ounce of energy, every hour of sleep, and every moment of time usually spent on gaming… was now devoted to them. It was always wonderful, but also exhausting. At the height of my sleep deprivation one of my friends said, “look, it gets better. I wake up these days and the kids have already made breakfast.” I needed to hear that, and maybe you do too.

At age 9 and 11, here is what my day was like today:

  • FFGLast night, my son wants to play Dungeon! We have a blast.
  • Wake up fully rested, come down and my kids are reading fantasy-themed novels. (All those years reading to them sure paid off!)
  • Daughter decides we should all make omelets, so we all start cutting up ingredients, taking turns cooking, etc. Much fun!
  • Wife heads off for much-deserved time away with friends.
  • Son demands a lightsaber fight. He wins, because the force is strong with this one.
  • Son plays Dungeon! solo while I shower. Daughter says she wants to play later, finishes her book.
  • We go to nearby park to get pond water so daughter can look at it with microscope because she liked doing so in school. We run around the park’s trails, get water.
  • Drop by area diner, have great lunch. The table is left reasonably clean.
  • Come home, look at pond water.
  • We decide to play the Star Wars FFG RPG, invite neighbor kid, play for 1.5 hours.
  • They play 30 min of Minecraft while I write this. Son wants to create a basketball-type game in Minecraft.
  • We will watch Empire Strikes Back.
  • We will make burritos and they probably will help cook and clean.
  • They will make a reasonably tolerable amount of demands at bed time, but then stay in their rooms. Life is good.

That’s a darn great day. Not every day is that good, but many are. And the days where I felt completely overwhelmed are past. That hard work paid off, and it will for you too. If you work hard your kids will be great people, great gamers, and it will be a ton of fun (and you will get sleep). Hang in there!

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This entry was posted on November 15, 2015 by and tagged .


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