Introduction: Dungeon Crawl, a Better Game Than Solitaire

Picture of Dungeon Crawl, a Better Game Than Solitaire

This is my very first instructable, so feedback is greatly appreciated. Dungeon Crawl came out of one sleepless night I had a few months back. The mind does weird things when it's tired and for some reason that night I latched on to the idea of making a better single player card game than solitaire. After roughing out the rules and play testing the game for a month I feel confident that it's ready for the masses! I hope you enjoy. If you enjoy this game please vote for me in the Toy Challenge 2 contest.

-1 deck of normal playing cards with Jokers taken out.

Step 1: Choose a Character

Picture of Choose a Character
You can either play as a mage or a warrior. Each character
has it's own card set up and play styles.

Mage: Mages only get half the face value of their HP card.
However they are the only character that has a mana pool.
This is a second stat card drawn after the HP card. Mages
get the face value of the card in MP cards (see “Drawing
your stats” section). In battle, Mages melee attacks are only
worth 1 damage. However, Mages may use MP cards to cast
either an attack spell or a shield spell. Each spell costs one
MP card. When used the Mage takes the MP card and turns
it over, The damage dealt (attack spell) or absorbed (shield
spell) is equal to the face value of the card (EX:a 4 of
diamonds can either deal 4 damage or absorb 4 points of
damage from a monsters attack). Mages may regenerate MP
cards by spending 10 score points per card (see collecting
your score).


Warrior: A warrior's HP is the full face value of their HP
card ( see “Drawing your stats” section). The Warrior also
draws a card from the deck for every melee attack.
The damage dealt is the face value of the card. Warriors
also get a shield card. This is drawn after their HP card.
The shield card absorbs one half of the face value of the
card in incoming damage rounded down. (EX: if the shield
card is the three of diamonds then all incoming attacks
lose 1 damage. An enemy attacking with a 7 of clubs would
only deal 6 damage).

Step 2: Draw Your Stats

Picture of Draw Your Stats

After deciding on a character you will need to draw their
stats. This is done by drawing a card from the deck. The
first card you draw is your character card. This will
determine the number of hit points your character has. For
a warrior the face value of the card will be your HP. For a
Mage it will be half the face value of the card (EX:If you
draw the ten of spades, your character would have ten hp if
they were a warrior and five if the were a mage.) You will
then draw the appropriate number of cards to use as HP
counters and place them next to your character card (see
“Lay out your cards” section).

Next, if you are a Mage you will draw for your mana poll.
Draw another card to see how much MP you will have.
You get mana points equal to the face value of the card.
(EX: if you get the king of diamonds then you would have
13 mana points.) Draw the appropriate number of cards to
represent your mana poll and lay them next to your player
card. (see “Lay out your cards” section)
If you are a warrior, you will draw your shield card (see
warrior section of selecting character for description of
shield card). This is laid sideways and placed under the
character card (see next section).
Note: In Dungeon Crawl, jacks are worth 11, queens are
worth 12 and kings are worth 13

Step 3: Lay Out Your Cards

Picture of Lay Out Your Cards

Here is how to lay out your cards. For a warrior your shield card goes under your player card and sideways. Your HP cards can then be stacked next to your player card. For a mage your player card is turned sideways with your Mana pool to your left an your HP to your right.

Step 4: Battles

Picture of Battles

Once your character is set up and ready you can begin your
adventure! Exploration follows three basic phases.
1) Enter a room
2) Fight the monster
3) collect your score.
Before you begin, shuffle the deck and set aside. This
becomes the battle pool which is used to draw monsters
and decide damage during combat. You may now decide if
you will be playing on normal, or hard core difficulty. In
normal difficulty the face value of a monster card also
dictates it's maximum damage. In hard core mode there is
no damage cap for monsters. This means that a monster
who could normally deal a maximum of 2 damage in
normal mode may be able to deal as much as 13 in hard
core mode (see Fighting the monster)

Step 5: Enter a Room

Picture of Enter a Room

When you enter a room you make the monster that you
will be fighting. To do this you draw a card from the battle
pool. This card becomes the monster card. Its HP is the face
value of the card. Draw the appropriate number of cards to
act as the monsters HP counters. Depending on your game
mode this also dictates the max damage the monster can do
(EX: a two of hearts would have 2 hp and in normal mode
could do a max damage of 2).

Step 6: Fight the Monster

Picture of Fight the Monster

Fighting starts by drawing for initiative. You first draw the
monsters initiative card from the battle pool and then your
own. The card with the highest face value wins. That
character gets their turn first. In this case the monster drew
an 8, while I drew a 1. Therefor, the monster goes first.

NOTE: at the end of each turn, all attacking cards, lost HP
cards and used Mana cards are shuffled into the deck.

Step 7: Monster Turn

Picture of Monster Turn

On the monsters turn you will draw a card for the
monsters attack. The attack is worth the face value of the
card if it hits (Ex: an ace of spades would be worth an
attack of 1 damage). Next you will draw your evasion card
from the battle pool. If your evasion card is a different
color than the monsters attack card, their attack misses
(EX: you draw a 7 of hearts, it is a different color than the
ace of spades and the attack of one damage misses). The
monsters turn now ends.

Step 8: Player Turn

Picture of Player Turn

If you are a warrior than your turns are exactly like the
monsters turn. Draw a card and the attack is worth the face
value of the card. The monster then gets a chance to evade,
etc. The only difference is the damage absorption of your
shield on successful monster attacks (see warrior section of
choosing your character).
When playing a mage your turns are a little different. If
you decide to do a melee attack you still draw a card.
However this is only to find out the color of your attack
(either red or black) for when the monster draws it's
evasion card. All mage melee attacks do one damage. To do
any real damage a mage must play a spell card from their
mana pool. Spell cards work exactly like a normal attack
card and do face value damage. On monster turns, if a
monsters attack hits, a mage may choose to cast a shield
spell. To cast either spell a mage would turn over a card
from their mana pool and play it. The card either deals or
absorbs the face value of the card. The cards are always
drawn from the top of the mana pool.
No matter what character you play as, once you have
drawn your attack card the monster draws their evasion
card. This works exactly like a player evasion on the
monster turn.

Step 9: Collect Your Score

Picture of Collect Your Score

Play continues until the monster dies. Once this happens
the player may add the number of hp the monster had to
their total score (EX: a monster with 6 hp is worth 6
points). While Warriors can do nothing but gain more
score, Mages may choose to sacrifice 10 score points to
regenerate their whole mana pool (up to the total number
of mana from their original mana card, see drawing stats
section). This may be done at any time, even during
combat. In normal difficulty you may keep your score
when your character dies and record it on the high score
sheet. If you are on hard core difficulty you may only
record a high score if you chose to leave the dungeon and
end the game. If you die you lose all your score. On the
high score sheet you record your name, your character
type, the game difficulty and your final score. A handy score sheet,
as well as a mini copy of the rules can be found here. Just fold it along the
Lines and cut along the dotted line.

Hope you have fun with this game! Again, feedback is appreciated.

Step 10: Variations

Some very helpful people have proposed variations for this game and I'd like to include them here for your own enjoyment.

TristanGood suggested adding a "Rouge" class. A Rouge gets half HP like a Mage does but has a  counter attack pool instead of a mana pool. Upon successfully evading the monsters attack a Rouge can burn one of their counter attack cards to do a counter attack on the monster. The damage is the face value of the card. The counter attack cannot be blocked.  The counter pool can be replenished just like a mana pool by spending 10 score points. 

Raykevinr suggested including jokers in the game as item cards. Upon pulling a joker you then draw another card. Red cards heal the face value of the card in HP (extra hp above your total is lost). Black is either a MP/CP restorer (for Rouges and Mages) or a new shield card for Warriors. The MP/CP potion works the same as the HP potion. New Shield cards replace old shield cards for Warriors.

Darthunicorn suggested a really cool survival mode. In survival mode score can be used to do various things. If a character spends 30 score points they can add a plus 1 to their health.  For 40 A warrior may get a new shield card (equal to a +1 to their current shield)  or a Mage may gain an extra mana card to their total mana. Fights become progressively more difficult however, after 15 rounds,monsters get plus 2 on their hp. After 25 rounds they get plus five. And after 35, they lose the damage cap.

Any more good ideas are welcomed!


Maulxx (author)2017-11-22

One more question. An attack card that hits... is the damage equal to the attack card or is the defense card value subtracted from it?

Maulxx (author)2017-11-22

If you draw a face card for a monster (their HP) what is it worth?

ShaneS59 (author)2016-03-12

You draw your attack to maybe really fun I'm probaly going to spend hours in this game

haloisbeast504 (author)2016-03-09

Awesome idea! Its a little difficult to learn but i love the concept. Is there any way you could make this a two player game? Like have one person play as the monsters or play as a final boss at the end or something? That would make it the ultimate card game!!

darthunicorn1998 (author)2015-04-18

Hey Marc, do you mind if I put up a card and dice game based on this? I'll lend credit where credit is due, the two are still fairly different. I've decided on a steampunk/post apocalyptic/ destiny type game.

By all means. Thank you for asking. I'd like a link once you've got it posted because I'd like to see it too. :)

sounds good. thanks

darthunicorn1998 (author)2015-02-10

Just refound this. Still frikkin awesome.

Coin of Gold made it! (author)2015-01-27

This is awesome! I was recently playing solitaire, and was quite bad at it.

The attached photo is of me, the 6 of diamonds fighter with the best shield, fighting a 10 of hearts to the death. I was doing quite well, I had 39 score, and expected to win the battle. But then the dreaded 10 pulled out a 10, and killed me. (I was already down two health.) I was playing on "normal," with the variation of jokers being items, but never encountered any.

This is a really fun game, and I hope to see more! Take this "I Made It!"

marccase (author)Coin of Gold2015-01-27

I'm glad you liked it! I mostly play warrior. It's more straight forward and I end up with a higher score.

aimawish (author)2014-05-09

Hey! So I came across this today - it's a pretty cool idea, and I had a thought for adding items to the game - this may seem complicated, but it's really not.

So, after each monster is killed, you can do an item draw, which is that you draw two cards, and if the sum of the cards is greater than or equal to 20 (this number can change to adjust for difficulty, but 20 gives about a 17% chance) then you find an item. The item is the bottom card in the monster's HP pile, and the items go by suit:

Hearts (Health) = Refill HP, and you can't go above max. (e.g. you have HP of 4/10 and the item is a 3 of hearts, you go up to 7/10)

Diamonds = Money, although you'd have to introduce a store element to make the money worthwhile

Clubs = Weapon (adds half of its value to attacks)

Spades = Armor (adds half of its value to shield or shield spell)

Some of these could be pretty powerful, but you can change the probability of getting an item very easily by shifting that number up or down.

marccase (author)aimawish2014-05-09

That's a very cool Idea! I'll have to try and add it in when I play the game and see how well it works.

FILTUT (author)2013-12-22

I with my brother created a) a co-op gamemode and b) a huge rpg variant with Quests,shops,skills...

marccase (author)FILTUT2013-12-22

wow, sounds awesome! I'd love to hear about it. Why not put it on instructables :)?

FILTUT (author)marccase2014-01-26

Sorry, but it still has to be cleaned up atleast from 1 TB To 1 G

marccase (author)FILTUT2014-01-26

Either way, I'd love to hear about it.

mechagen (author)2014-01-07

How about a new class called a thief class? That can steal another players mana or shield cards when they try to use it and use it themselves when in a duel type game.

marccase (author)mechagen2014-01-07

Sounds fun, you'd have to balance it with some drawback though. For example, the thief would have to see if they evade it like a normal attack, or the thief could only do it X number of times.

crossfire (author)2011-12-29

What a great idea! i really like this card game, any thougths on adding more characters?

marccase (author)crossfire2011-12-30

yes, I was thinking a golem with double HP and a vampire that can drain hp from monsters.

Hey guys. Havn't commented in a while. Just wanted to give props to marccase. Fantastic game, so many cool adaptations... It's great and easy.

Awww thank you :)

pat234 (author)2013-05-23

And also, when you +1 to your health in survival, do you refill it or not?

marccase (author)pat2342013-05-25

Up to you on both accounts, I'm still tweaking my version of the game. If you'd like to be able to refill your health by all means add that in!

pat234 (author)2013-05-23

You should be able to refill your health for 20 score points, that would make games last longer and more fun in my opinion

beebot83 (author)2013-04-17

Very clear, except for the objective of the game. How do you win?

marccase (author)beebot832013-04-18

It's mostly a score attack game, try and beat your own high score.

darthunicorn1998 (author)2013-03-30

Thanks. Great job on this. My brother really likes it. Have you tried it for 2 players? I normally play with one, but when my brother plays with me we just add two monsters and allow mages to shield other players. Any ideas?

When I thought of 2 player I thought of fighting against each other in a best out of five duel, but if you're brother is on the young side he may not like doing that. I know I didn't when my brother and I were younger. Yours is fun too for people who like co-op. I might suggest even adding a third monster and flipping a coin to see who they attack.

darthunicorn1998 (author)2013-03-28

Hey. LOVE THIS GAME SO MUCH. Play with brother. So cool... I added another class, by the way. I added a ranger. He gets health equal to face card, but his attacks get -2. He also gets an invisibility pool. It is one half of the card drawn, and makes him invisible for 1 monster attack, but he can still attack. Test him someone plz I have not really gotten the chance.

Also, I added survival mode. In survival, 30 points will buy plus one to your max hp, but 40 will get you plus one to shield or to mana or invisibility. However, after 15 rounds,monsters get plus 2 on their hp. After 20 rounds they get plus five. And after 25, they lose the damage cap.

Wow, sounds like you and your brother have had some fun with this. I really like the idea of the survival mode, I'll have to dig out my deck and try it.

coolo52 (author)2012-08-12

ok so if my shield blocks it (as a warrior) but the block would make their attack negative do i subtract the monsters life because its negative?

marccase (author)coolo522012-08-13

no, that would make normal fights too simple.

TristanGood (author)2012-06-22

Awesome Game! I would like to suggest a 3rd class to this system. A "Rouge" class where by you get half hp like a mage and instead of Mana you use "Dexterity which would allow you to make an evasion attack By this i mean after you evade a monster attack you can use it like mana and flip the top one over for a counter attack which would work just like a regular one An just like the mage you can use 10 points to refill the Dexterity.

marccase (author)TristanGood2012-06-23

I'll have to test that one out and see how it works. Thanks :)

raykevinr (author)2012-06-05

You could use Jokers as Item cards. If the monsters health has a joker in it he has an Item or two if he has both cards. Then you draw cards to see what you got Red is a health potion and Black is equipment. The number determines what it heals if its a potion and if it is equipment it adds that much to health, if you are a warrior you look at the number if it is even its equipment if its odd its a shield which if its better then your current shield it replaces it if not then add half the face value to your score.

marccase (author)raykevinr2012-06-23

Sounds cool, I'll have to think about adding that one.

manadhon (author)2012-04-22

I just started playing today. But,
I just ended a hardcore game with 65 points!

marccase (author)manadhon2012-04-24

WOW! I don't think I've ever done that well T.T

marccase (author)2012-04-24

Better than mine, I think I got a 35 >.>;

michealjanssens (author)2012-02-24

Cool! Two questions:

Can a mage cast a shield spell twice (i.e. monster swings for 7, I cast a shield spell for 3, but I only have 3 hit points, so I would die unless I can cast a second shield spell to save my butt).

For my HP, as a mage, I drew an Ace. You say it's half rounded down... did I die already?

marccase (author)michealjanssens2012-02-25

The first answer is, it's up to you. In hardcore I'd say no but in normal sure. The second is that I usually just re-roll if I get an ace.

michealjanssens (author)marccase2012-02-27

Cool. Any thoughts on how the golem or vampire would work?

marccase (author)michealjanssens2012-04-24

Golem would get double HP with no shield and the Vampire would get the ability to steal hp. Sorry it took me so long to respond.

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