The 13 Best Dungeon Crawler Board Games Still in Print, Ranked

Dungeon crawls appeal to the adventurers within us. These board games capture the spirit AND are still available to buy.

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Dungeon crawlers are a special breed of board games, as they distill the experiences found in tabletop RPGs (like Dungeons & Dragons) and video game RPGs, but adapted into board game format.

Sadly, a lot of dungeon crawler games came out decades ago and are no longer in print, while modern dungeon crawlers can be hard to acquire if you missed their initial Kickstarter runs.

The good news is, there are plenty of great in-print dungeon crawlers still worth playing. You just need to know what they are!

What Are Dungeon Crawler Board Games?

There isn't an official definition for "dungeon crawler board games," which has caused lots of confusion across board gaming communities—everyone has their own idea of what the term entails.

Here are the elements I personally consider to be core to the dungeon crawler board game experience:

  1. Small party of heroes. Whether played solo or cooperatively, the crux of the game centers on individual heroic characters with special abilities who work together.
  2. One environment to explore. A singular labyrinthine location with many rooms, requiring the heroes to explore for information.
  3. Tactical encounters. While exploring, heroes encounter monsters, traps, events, and surprises that involve smart decisions to overcome them or else face consequences.
  4. Items to loot. While exploring, heroes acquire items that serve as equipment, treasure, or some other gameplay purpose.
  5. Character progression. Over the course of the game, heroes grow in power to tackle even more difficult encounters.

A great dungeon crawler brings all of these elements together in a way that emphasizes a kill-loot-explore game loop while forcing the party to delve deeper into the environment.

Any board game that meets these criteria is a dungeon crawler in my eyes, even if it doesn't explicitly have a dungeon-based theme, even if it has a strong emphasis on other gameplay mechanics.

With that said, here are my recommendations for the best dungeon crawler board games and why each one is worth playing!

13. Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

Players supported: 1 to 4 players

Average playing time: 60 to 120 minutes

If you know anything about Gloomhaven, you might be surprised to see it ranked so low on this list given how popular it is. In fact, most Gloomhaven fans would crucify me for this ranking!

To be clear, I'm not saying Gloomhaven is a bad game—it's actually quite good—but it's not exactly representative of the dungeon crawling experience. It's more of a puzzle game with dungeon crawling features.

Gloomhaven is a complex, cooperative game that involves a heroic campaign across multiple sessions. But the hand management mechanic is so important that it doesn't feel like a dungeon crawl.

All that said, if you're interested in jumping into Gloomhaven, I highly recommend starting with Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion. This is a simplified, streamlined version of the game that's much easier to get into.

If you're looking for a dungeon crawler board game that plays like an optimization puzzle, then you'll love this one. If you want more of a hack-and-slash experience, it will disappoint.

12. One Deck Dungeon

Players supported: 1 to 2 players

Average playing time: 30 to 45 minutes

One Deck Dungeon is a great introductory dungeon crawler for those who don't want to invest in heavier board games with lots of moving pieces, tons of complicated rules, and game sessions that run for hours.

One Deck Dungeon packs a lot of fun into a single deck of cards. As you explore the dungeon in the role of a unique hero, you roll dice to defeat monsters. Defeated monsters turn into experience or loot, which serve to grow your character via new abilities and improvements.

With a single box, One Deck Dungeon can be played solo or with two players (cooperative). With the Forest of Shadows expansion, One Deck Dungeon supports up to four players.

11. Mice and Mystics

Players supported: 1 to 4 players

Average playing time: 60 to 90 minutes

In Mice and Mystics, players take on the roles of characters who have been turned into mice and must now work together to reach the king and warn him of the dangerous Vanestra and her minions.

Mice and Mystics is comprised of 13 scenarios (called chapters) that each have their own unique board setups, challenges, and objectives. The goal is to achieve the objectives before time runs out.

Every mouse hero has their own stats and abilities, and you'll acquire new items over the course of play. The board tiles are also interactive—like water that pushes you downstream—which makes the world feel alive.

Mice and Mystics is decently complex, making it an excellent transition game between lightweight dungeon crawlers like One Deck Dungeon and heavier dungeon crawlers like Too Many Bones.

10. Deck Box Dungeons

Players supported: 1 to 4 players

Average playing time: 30 to 60 minutes

Like One Deck Dungeon, Deck Box Dungeons is a fantastic lightweight dungeon crawler that's comprised of a single deck of cards.

Played using a companion mobile app, Deck Box Dungeons takes you through different scenarios full of monsters, encounters, and loot, with each scenario having its own unique goal to achieve.

The genius of Deck Box Dungeons is how much gameplay value comes from its character, equipment, and ability cards that fit together like puzzle pieces for varied results.

While Deck Box Dungeons supports solo play and two player cooperative play right out of the box, two sets of Deck Box Dungeons can be combined together to support up to four players.

9. Minotaur

Players supported: 1 to 4 players

Average playing time: 45 to 60 minutes

Minotaur is a fantastic gateway board game for the dungeon crawler genre because it's more complex than the single-deck dungeon crawlers mentioned above but easy enough to learn with a single playthrough.

You can play solo or cooperatively with up to four players, with each player taking the role of a special class with unique abilities.

As you explore the Labyrinth, you'll encounter monsters and hazards that impede your progress, as well as items that can aid you. The Minotaur may also appear, which you can defeat—but will return again and again.

Minotaur features a map exploration system where moving off the map reveals new room tiles, but also removes room tiles from the opposite side of the map. You can also go down stairs to entirely new, deeper levels.

Find all the shattered Medallion pieces to seal away the Minotaur once and for all before the Minotaur's minions take down your party!

8. Tiny Epic Dungeons

Players supported: 1 to 4 players

Average playing time: 30 to 60 minutes

If you're looking for the best dungeon crawler board game that crams into a tiny, portable box, then Tiny Epic Dungeons is the one for you.

Despite its small size, Tiny Epic Dungeons is far more complex and involved than most modern dungeon crawlers. Once you learn what all the symbols and cards mean, it's actually very fun.

Tiny Epic Dungeons features a modular board that's different every time, full of minions to defeat, encounters to solve, and items to discover. At the end of it is the Dungeon Boss within the boss's lair.

You can play Tiny Epic Dungeons solo or with up to four players, although it tends to play best with either one or two players.

7. Stuffed Fables

Players supported: 2 to 4 players

Average playing time: 60 to 90 minutes

Stuffed Fables is one of the best dungeon crawler board games of our time, primarily for its unique theme, streamlined mechanics, layered complexity, and captivating narrative.

Players assume the role of stuffed animals as they help their owner—a young girl—navigate various childhood experiences. While Stuffed Fables may seem like a children's game, it's just as wonderful for adults.

As a group, play your way through numerous stories that each take place across multiple maps, each one full of narrative twists and turns, with an epic overarching storyline that unfolds before you.

6. Sword & Sorcery

Players supported: 1 to 5 players

Average playing time: 60 to 90 minutes

If you're looking for the most complicated, most demanding, most involved dungeon crawler board game, this is it.

Sword & Sorcery has an unforgiving ruleset with a steep learning curve, lots of setup time, lots of cards and moving pieces, and heavy emphasis on phases, cycles, and strategic planning.

It's the kind of game that's designed for the most enthusiastic of board gamers, ones who are willing to digest labyrinthine gameplay and try the game multiple times in order for it to finally click.

But once it does click, Sword & Sorcery offers one of the deepest dungeon crawling experiences of any board game.

5. Star Wars: Imperial Assault

Players supported: 1 to 5 players

Average playing time: 60 to 120 minutes

Star Wars: Imperial Assault stands out among dungeon crawler board games for several reasons, but most of all for its departure from the usual fantasy adventure theme that's so pervasive in the genre.

Another interesting aspect of Star Wars: Imperial Assault is that it has two game modes: the one-versus-all campaign mode and the one-versus-one skirmish mode. (Only the campaign mode is a dungeon crawl.)

In the campaign mode, one player controls the Galactic Empire's units while the remain players are heroes of the Rebel Alliance. Both sides gain experience and new abilities over the course of the campaign.

Whether you're looking for a mid-heavy dungeon crawler, a fantastic one-versus-all game, or simply just a fan of the franchise, Star Wars: Imperial Assault is a best-in-class, must-play experience.

4. Clank! Catacombs

Players supported: 1 to 4 players

Average playing time: 45 to 90 minutes

Clank! Catacombs is a tactical board game that plays like a hybrid between a traditional dungeon crawler and a competitive deckbuilder.

Players are in a race against each other to steal Artifacts from the Dragon's lair, and they must escape intact without dying to the Dragon's attacks. But the longer you stay in the lair, the more noise you make—and the more noise you make, the more enraged the Dragon becomes.

Along the way, you'll acquire new cards to add to your personal deck, which influences how each player approaches their time spent in the lair.

Clank! Catacombs improves upon the original Clank! in many ways, primarily by ditching the preset map boards and using tiles that unfold to reveal a unique dungeon layout every time.

While most dungeon crawlers are cooperative, Clank! Catacombs is indirectly competitive, with players never attacking each other and simply seeing who can successfully escape with the most valuable treasures.

Clank! Catacombs is a great dungeon crawler for groups who prefer one-shot sessions rather than long-running campaigns. With the free companion mobile app, you can also play solo!

3. Too Many Bones

Players supported: 1 to 4 players

Average playing time: 60 to 120 minutes

Did you know that dice used to be called "bones" back in the day? From that, you should get a sense of what Too Many Bones is about—it's a self-described dice-builder RPG with over 100 unique dice included.

If you're a fan of roguelike video games, then you'll have a blast with this epic board game that uses dice for nearly everything—combat, events, and more—as you play through the campaign.

Nearly everything is randomized to some degree, so between the many encounters, items, and complex hero characters, the replay value is pretty much infinite. It's dungeon crawling refined to the next level.

Too Many Bones is playable solo and as a group, but it tends to play better with fewer players (unless long turns aren't an issue for you).

2. The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth

Players supported: 1 to 5 players

Average playing time: 60 to 120 minutes

The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth is an incredible experience that's elevated by its companion mobile app, which acts as the game master and streamlines most of its complexity.

Players assume the roles of Middle-Earth heroes (e.g. Bilbo Baggins) and cooperatively explore the world while vanquishing the dark forces that threaten to overtake the world.

Each session is its own adventure, but they all come together to form a long-running campaign with an epic story to tell. That said, you can replay adventures and they'll always unfold differently!

The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth is one of the most epic dungeon crawlers and it's especially good for couples!

1. Shadows of Brimstone

Players supported: 1 to 4 players

Average playing time: 90 to 150 minutes

Shadows of Brimstone is up there as one of the ultimate dungeon crawling experiences in board games, not to mention its incredible theme of Old West meets Lovecraftian horror.

Form a party of Western heroes to venture into the unknown, take down demons and terrors, acquire hard-earned loot, and gain experience to level up and unlock special class-specific abilities.

Play out an entire campaign of horrifying adventures that involve lots of dice rolling, tactical decision making, and card-driven exploration. The complex mechanics reward those who take the time to learn them.

Shadows of Brimstone is available as two standalone core sets—City of the Ancients and Swamps of Death—meaning you can buy either one without the other. If you combine the two, up to six players can play!

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