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RECIVS' Boardgame Projects

House Rules, Variants & Hacks



A Mexican version of Dungeon!

Posted by RECIVS on August 22, 2013 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (89)

Welcome to DR&D´s recently launched blog. This is my first entry so I must warn you: please don't mind my poor writing skills as I’m still in the process of learning English as a second language. This project is actually a challenge and excellent practice, which ultimately encouraged me to be part of it, for the same reason I will try to be as concise as I can through the following paragraphs, just in case you keep reading ;)


As mentioned elsewhere, drndproject is a site dedicated to the divulgence, discussion and development of DR&D, a set of variant rules for Dungeon! fantasy board game. This variant is based on the "Classic" 1992 edition, borrowing and adapting elements from the Mexican "rings and dragons" version as well. We´ re looking for added depth and strategy yet keeping things simple and beer/family friendly like in the original. That´ s what we call the DR&D Project.


The purpose of this blog entry however, is to provide some background information about the Mexican version of Dungeon! (Calabozo) and its successors, considering the heavy influence they exert over DR&D and the limited information available in English.


As far as I know, Calabozo has been in the Mexican market since the early 80´s, published by Novedades Montecarlo (Montecarlo Novelties). I clearly remember how the original artwork from the game box caught my eye as a kid every time I walked through the toys section in stores and supermarkets. From all the board games stacked on those shelves Calabozo in particular got my attention for some years. I recall myself wondering what was inside that box; I had no idea what it was nor how to play it. The game wasn't suited for my age and I didn´t have the chance to buy it directly, so the mystery remained unveiled until a friend of mine got his first copy back in 1989 during my early puberty.


Calabozo was basically a translated version of the third edition (1981) of Dungeon! It used almost identical artwork and components, except for the box and the rule book. One interesting issue to point out is the scarce information available online about this early edition of Calabozo, according to this source for instance, Gary Gigax apparently had no idea that this version ever existed.


There's not much available online about this early version of Calabozo except for some relativeley recent images and comments posted at Montecarlo´s Facebook. They seem to be very active trough FB, responding regularly to customer requests and comments, all in Spanish. I want to point out that Montecarlo uploaded the old Clabozo´s rulebook to FB for the first time on august 19 2013, while I was finishing this entry.


On the other hand, Calabozo: La Aventura de los Anillos (Dungeon: The Adventure of the Rings) is an original Montecarlo's novelty. I don't remember exactly when it was available in stores, however the only information I could find online is the official record for the trademark, which was apparently granted on July 27 2001. This “rings” version incorporates new elements (mentioned below) to the original, and despite its shortcomings, it provides a layer of depth and plays like a different game overall, though based on the same old mechanics.


After the rings version a new member of the family made its appearance, Calabozo: El Escape (Dungeon: The Escape) which is roughly the same game except for a few changes and combat refinements.


At the time of this entry, the DR&D ´s website is apparently the only source in English available online for the rules and components of the “rings” version. The games are currently out of production, so they´re unavailable in retail stores. Montecarlo´s website doesn't even mention the games at all.


If you google "calabozo la aventura de los anillos" a limited amount of information appears in Spanish about the game, most of the scarce images come from this site, the few others come from online ads as the game is currently available solely through independent retail sellers in Mercado Libre, the Mexican eBay.


There is however one post on Montecarlo´s Facebook suggesting that a new version is in development. Apparently they're up to something, as they also recently published a public invitation on their wall to the first 10 men and 10 women to arrive at their headquarters after 2pm on august 23 2013 “to give opinion on 4 new products soon to be released”. Montecarlo's website is currently under construction but we'll report as soon as new information is updated.

EDIT: The latest version of the game was released  by Novedades Montecarlo on July 15, 2017 as Calabozo: Una Nueva Aventura Comienza ("Dungeon: A New Adventure Starts").

Concerning the actual elements of the game, we could say that the main features of the Montecarlo's rings version are:


* Teamwork. The game is designed to be played by 2 multiplayer teams composed of 1-4 players each, though optional rules for multiple teams are given. Combat between opposing adventurers is possible and even necessary at later stages of the game. This new dynamic adds a coat of strategy, players now have to coordinate efforts and manage resources in order to succeed.


* Rings. The victory conditions are not given in amounts of looted treasures but as a number of rings required. There are 6 rings in the game and 4 are required to win, each ring (along with one magic weapon) is guarded by a dragon.


* There are no levels. There's only one deck of monster cards, you never know what you'll face next.


* Any adventurer may teleport. Ten teleport cards are scattered as treasure throughout the dungeon, these work for every player to go wherever he desires except the main hall, discarding the card afterwards. This element surely provides new combat options.


* Underworld. When a player dies he goes to the underworld instead of starting again in the main hall. Once in the underworld, the adventurer needs to be rescued by a teammate or to have an elixir in his possession upon dying, taking one turn.


These elements ultimately became defining mechanics of DR&D as well.


Even though these (rings and escape) versions have their obvious shortcomings, they do provide a couple of interesting ideas which ultimately influenced DR&D.