Dungeon Decorators Strategy Tips

Strategy Tips!

With the launch yesterday of the Kickstarter campaign for Dungeon Decorators, we thought it would be a good idea to share some strategy tips so that you can make sure that your dungeon is the fanciest!

If you don’t know how to play, check out the rules first! And if you want to try the game before reading strategy tips, you play the game on Tabletop Simulator or on Tabletopia!

1. Synergize your opening hand.

Your opening hand is 3 shape goals and 3 decoration goals, and you must keep any 4 of them. It’s usually best to look for synergies between them and discard accordingly. Suppose your opening hand is:

You should almost certainly keep the Adventurer Holding Cell, the Den of Wicked Schemes, and The Grand Parlor, since they synergize very well. Both Decoration Goals include a table, and if you use the same room to score both the Cell and the Den, then you’ll automatically have a room with three decorations for the Parlor!

Now, the fourth card to keep in this example is definitely up for debate, and may just come down to personal preference. The Minions’ Entrance is pretty easy to make but doesn’t award too many points. The Maze and Closet are increasingly difficult to make and offer more points.

Related to this, if your opening hand includes one or more high-value cards, it’s often helpful to keep one as a “tentpole” card to build towards. The best time to go after a high-value goal is early in the game because of our next strategy point…

2. Pay attention to the clock.

One of the most important aspect of Dungeon Decorators is that you never know exactly when the game is going to end. During the first bag, you have time to build a fancy dungeon and work toward high-value cards. However, once you hit that second bag, the end of the game can easily sneak up on you, so from then on, the order of the day is to just grab points wherever you can!

Related to this, if you have Mimic or Architect Tokens late in the game, use them! Turn them into points! They’re worth nothing if you have them left over at the end of the game. (Remember, though, that you MAY use Mimic Tokens to help you with a Boss Goal at the end of the game!)

3. Don’t forget about the draw/exchange action.

That unassuming spot in the middle of the draft board can be just what the decorator ordered. If the tiles on the draft board don’t spark joy, and if you are still several tiles away from making each of the goal cards in your hand, then the draw/exchange action can give your game the boost it needs.

This is, of course, a risk, since both the tile and the card you get are random and therefore are not guaranteed to help you. However, the exchange is quite often better than taking a tile that you don’t really need.

4. Draw from the “right” deck.

Whenever you must draw a goal card, you may draw either a Shape Goal or a Decoration Goal. So, which should you pick? Well, the answer is “it depends”. In fact, this is an area of some debate even within the design team! Because of this, we’re just including some quotes from that design team:

I go with a balanced deck at first while looking for synergy with that first set. From early to mid game I stay balanced because I could catch some breaks (or reuse) with either kind of goal.

Jeff LaFlam, Designer

Jeff points out that you’re always going to start the game with at least one Shape Goal and at least one Decoration Goal. Since Shape Goals tend to synergize with other Shape Goals and Decoration Goals tend to synergize with other Decoration Goals, there are good reasons to keep your hand somewhat balanced throughout the early to mid game.

I try to pick from the goal deck that I believe my dungeon has the unbuilt opportunity to fulfill. Put more simply/specifically, if I think my dungeon hasn’t closed off my chances of scoring new Decoration Goals, then I try for Decoration Goals.

Jen Kitzman, Dev Team

Jen’s strategy is a little different from Jeff’s. In the early game, Jen leans a little more toward Decoration Goals, with a gradual shift to Shape Goals later on. This strategy can work well since, on average, Decoration Goals are harder to make but score more points.

What do the bosses want? Shoot for goals that the bosses will reward you for along the way, since the game may end before you even score the card!

Do I have Mimic Tokens and wild decoration spots -or- Arcane Architect Tokens and solid diversity of decorations? Then I lean toward Decoration Goals for that sweet sweet token-to-VP rate.

Sam Waller, Dev Team

Sam’s quote is only a piece of a longer conversation we had on this topic! His strategy focuses on things other than his hand and dungeon shape. For example, if Stacy the Spider Queen (who likes spider web decorations) is one of the bosses, that would push Sam a little more toward Decoration Goals. If, on the other hand, Manticore Dali is in play (who likes colored hallway tiles), Shape Goals might be more in order.

In addition, he also makes sure to lean toward Decoration Goals if he has Mimic Tokens to burn!

So hopefully this strategy guide has given you some ideas for how to impress your friends and family with your mad dungeon decorating skills! Remember, you can play the game right now on Tabletop Simulator or on Tabletopia!

The Dungeon Decorators Kickstarter campaign is live now and runs until October 29! Don’t miss it!