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Stonespine Architects... A Dungeon Designing Dilemma

Having studied the ancient minotaur art of dungeon craft for the past decade, it's finally time to demostrate your skill in one final project at the base of Stonespine Mountain... to carve your own treacherous dungeon. Once built, only the most challenging dungeon will gain Queen Amalia's approval and earn themselves the title of Master Architect!

Stonespine Architects board game

As fans of the Roll-player universe, as well as tableau building games, Stonespine Architects caught our attention as soon as it was announced. The prospect of designing your own dungeon to exacting requirments and meeting a variety of challenges along the way sealed the deal for us and we were really excited when it finally made it's way through our door!

First Impressions

The artwork on the box really screamed the theme of this game to me when I first saw it, and upon opening the box, this theme carried through nicely onto the components inside. The rule book has a linen finish on heavyweight paper, making it feel substantial without being too lengthy to read. The rules are written in easy to understand language with diagrams and descriptions throughout. This meant that it didn't take long from opening the box to playing the game.

Game Play Overview

Stonespine Architects board game

The game is played over 4 years, with each year made up of 3 phases: Construction, Improvement and Cleanup. During construction, you'll draft cards from a starting hand of 5. You'll choose one of the cards in hand, play it into the corresponding row of your dungeon and then pass the cards on to the next player. You'll then choose a card from the hand that is passed to you and repeat the process until you have played 4 cards. You'll then move onto the improvement phase where you'll calculate the amount of gold your dungeon is worth and purchase improvements from the market. Finally you'll carry out the clean up phase where you'll prepare for the next round. As you're choosing chambers and improvements, you'll be trying to get various monsters, traps and treasures into specific spaces or clusters in your dungeon to satisfy the requirements of your dungeon blueprints, or meet the demands on the challenge cards. After 4 years, you'll move onto final scoring and the player with the highest score is crowned the Master Architect!

Pros and Cons

Stonespine Architects board game

This game was relatively quick to learn and easy to get to grips with. It was great fun (albeit frustrating at times) trying to get the elements you needed into the right place with the available chambers and market items, however some of the icons and artwork are a little difficult to see across the table. It's not a heavyweight game, it has a nice amount of strategy in it for a shorter game and although there isn't too much involved in this game, it gets you thinking a bit harder than normal about which chamber is best for you, what don't you want your opponents to have and can you make that work for you? As well as gameplay, Stonespine Architects also comes with a fantastic insert in the box and a lidded tray for all your tokens to be kept in which doubles up as a tray to keep them organised during the game.

Final Verdict

Overall, this was another great game from Thunderworks Games. It's a great stategic game that doesn't take too long to play and keeps you guessing until the end as to who will win. Due to it's shorter playtime and suspense throughout, I can see this becoming a firm favourite in our household.

In conclusion, we would rate this game a 9.7/10

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