In developing this How to Play video for Dungeon Petz, i learned that the artwork of David Cohcard (who also illustrated Alchemists and its expansion) is divisive. My wife Cheryl finds it busy and overloud. i find it weird, unsettling, and somewhat charming. Regardless of your take on Cochard, one thing is for certain: if you step on one of these plastic imps with a bare foot, you will surely die.

(click to view transcript)

Hi! It’s Ryan from Nights Around a Table, and this is Dungeon Petz, a worker placement/secret auction game for 2-4 players. Let me show you how to play!

You and your friends play a family of entrepreneurial imps who decide to open their own pet store to service the Dungeon Lords from the game’s sorta-prequel. You’ll shop for new petz, upgrade their cages, and meet their various needs, while showing them off in exhibitions and selling them to various Dungeon Lord clients, each of whom look for different qualities in a pet. A key part of the game is managing your petz’ needs, which tend to spiral out of control as the unruly petz grow larger and larger. You’ll have to feed them, play with them, manage their unbridled rage, and keep them from magically mutating themselves into other dimensions! You can lose your petz, your imps can end up in the hospital – it’s a whole thing. Luckily, you can construct better cages and collect powerful artifacts to help you manage your monsters and maximize your profits. At the end of the game, whoever has racked up the most reputation points wins!

You begin the game with a player screen, a handful of plastic imps, and 2 pieces of gold. Your empty pet store has one underpowered cage in it, but there are expansion slots where you can build three other cages, and helpful addons. You also start with a hand of four cards to help you meet your petz’ needs, but since you don’t have any petz yet, we’ll talk about those later.

The various phases in the game are detailed across the top of your player screen. At the beginning of every round, new information gets revealed, new stuff gets added to the game board, and all players earn income based on their player order. Again, we’ll do a deeper dive into those steps a little later.

SHOPPING

♪ Phase 2 is shopping! ♪ Dungeon Petz is a worker placement game. The board has 14 different worker placement slots where you can park your imps to get and do different things. Each spot can only hold one player’s imps, so once a spot is taken, it’s taken.

This is a game where there’s so much going on, it’s difficult to see the forest for the trees, but here’s what to focus on: the game lasts 5 or 6 rounds depending on player count. You’ve got one round to gather ye acorns and set up your pet shop. Then from round 2 onward… you can showcase one or more of your petz in exhibitions to earn points. From round three onward, you can potentially sell a pet to one of these randomly drawn customers for points and money. There’s a lot of stuff you can do, but all of your actions should primarily be in the service of those two big point-earning activities: exhibitions, and selling to customers.

♪So… back to shopping!♪ Your player screen has six different exits from your imps’ happy homestead that they can use to embark on shopping trips to the main board. You have to gather your imps in groups, secretly, from largest to smallest, left to right, across these spaces. When everyone’s ready, you lower your screens and reveal your imps. What you’re doing is you’re bidding for who gets to place their imps on the worker placement spots first. Whoever has the biggest grouping of imps gets to place that group first. The starting player token breaks ties, and if none of the players in the running for the most imps have the starting player token, ties are broken in clockwise order from the starting player.

So Beulah has the starting player token. Ricardo and Beulah’s biggest grouping is three imps each. But Martha… and Pistachio-pants Johnny each have four imps in their biggest grouping. Neither of them has the starting player marker, but since Martha is the first player going clockwise from Beulah, she gets to place her group of four imps first. Then Pistachio-pants Johhny places his group of four imps. This is a little later in the game, and Pistachio-pants Johnny actually has a second grouping of 4 imps, so he gets to go again. The next largest grouping of imps anyone has is 3, so Beulah, being the starting player, gets to place, and then Ricardo goes.

When you’re figuring out how to group your imps, you can up your bid by including any number of coins in the group. Each coin counts as an imp. So this is considered a group of three. You can send imps, and you can send imps with coins, but you can’t send coins without imps, because money can’t go shopping by itself.

When you place a group of imps on a worker placement spot, the group has to travel together – you can’t split them up. Some of the spaces on the board require you to spend money, but most don’t. So if you place a group of 3 imps and a coin on this spot that doesn’t require a coin, the coin just goes back in the supply. Some spots on the board require 2 or more imps; most don’t. So if you grouped seven imps together to make absolutely sure you would get to a certain spot first, even though the space doesn’t need seven imps, those imps are stuck shopping together.

If you get to place multiple groups of imps in a row – say this cluster of three and this cluster of three, because nobody else can beat three imps – you can choose which of the groups to place first.

If there are no good spots left on the board, or you want to hold your imps back for other reasons that we’ll learn about later, you slide that group down to your imp quarters. If the group had any money in it, you keep the money. You’re not passing – you’re just deciding not to send this group shopping. You can still send other groups of imps shopping when it’s your turn, if you have them.

ACTION SPACES

Let’s look at what your imps can do on the main board.

This section helps you improve your shop; you can buy petz, cages, and addons. Here, you can shop for food for your petz, or for special artifacts that give you a leg-up. This is a personnel section – you can either conscript new imps to your cause, spring injured imps from the hospital, or gain potions that help you manage your petz. These two areas at the bottom are tied to the two big scoring mechanisms – exhibitions and selling petz.

So in finer detail, you place one or more imps here, here, or here to buy a pet. Since pets cost money, the group of imps you send here has to have at least one coin in it. No matter how much money you send, you lose it all to buy a pet – you can’t make change. You can buy one of the baby petz down here, or one of the more mature pets up here. When you buy a pet, you take it and place it next to your shop for the moment.

Here and here, you can place a group of two or more imps to get a new cage for your shop. Cages are heavy, so it takes at least two imps to carry them, and a coin can’t stand in for an imp. Put the cage next to your shop for now. Cages confer different benefits – we’ll see what they actually do for you in a bit.

Place a group of one or more imps down here to take one of these addons. Again, put it next to your shop.

Up in the market, you can place one or more imps here, here, or here to take the available food in the market. The green ones are veggies, and the red ones are meat. Some petz are carnivores, some are herbivores, and some are omnivores who will eat either type of food. Place the food down here in your larder depending on its type.

Place one or more imps here to claim both of the artifacts on these two spots. We’ll see what they do later.

Place one or more imps down here to pick up your relatives from the train station. Everyone has distant relative imps waiting in the wings up here; by taking this action, you claim the imps of your colour beneath the round marker, and all of your imps going back to the left edge of the board. The newly recruited imps go on this space until you’re ready to collect them at the end of the round.

Place one or more imps here to collect your injured imps from the hospital. Imps can get hurt trying to placate angry dungeon petz. Rehabilitated imps go here until you collect them at the end of the round. Whether or not you have any imps in the hospital, you can also collect one of these potion cards, which act as wildcards when you manage your petz’ needs in a later phase.

If you place one or more imps here, you can volunteer to judge this round’s exhibition – essentially bribing the judges so that your petz fare better. Move the judge matching your colour up two spaces.

The platform can potentially get you more points when you sell your petz. The catch is that every imp you place here gets stuck on the platform unless and until you sell a pet. At the end of the round, imps on the platform don’t come back to you; they slide over to the right, waiting for the perfect customer to come along. So if you commit a group of three imps to the platform, and you sell one pet from the platform, this imp comes back home, but these two slide over. Later in the game, you sell a second pet from the platform, and this imp comes home. The last imp is still stuck on the platform until you sell a third pet! The orange platform space is limited to one player’s group of imps, but once those imps slide over at the end of the round, it’s freed up. Any number of imps from any number of players can hang out on the right side of the platform.

MEETING YOUR PETZ’ NEEDS

Phase three is all about managing the little monsters in your pet store. First, if you’ve purchased any cages, pets, or addons, you get to decide where to place them in your store. A pet always has to go in a cage… and an addon doesn’t do anything unless it’s next to a cage, but you can put it in any of these slots regardless. You can knock out an existing cage or addon if you want to, but you can’t move cages or addons around after you place them. You can also cover up the pre-printed cage with a purchased cage. If you replace a cage that has poo in it, the poo shows up in the new cage.

All pets have to be placed in a cage, and every cage can hold one pet. All players can take this moment to rearrange their pets into different cages. These black cubes represent suffering, and these tokens represent mutations. Suffering and mutations travel with the pet as you move it around, but poo stays in a cage. If you don’t have enough cages to house a pet, or if you don’t want it any more, you can release it back into the wild, but you suffer a lost pet penalty that we’ll look at later.

With your petz all settled, you have to attend to their needs. For each pet, you draw the coloured cards depicted on their wheel. So if you own this baby birdie, you have to draw one purple and one yellow card. As pets mature round after round, the number of cards you have to draw during this phase increases.

Once you’ve drawn all the cards for your petz as required, you have to assign cards of those same colours back to your pets. So birdie had you draw a purple and a yellow card. You have to assign a purple and a yellow card back to birdie, but they don’t have to be the same purple and yellow cards you just drew. One of them could be the yellow card you had in your starting hand, and the purple card could be one of the ones you drew for your pet ghosty.

The difference is that there are various symbols on the backs of these cards that represent your petz’ needs. Here’s a rundown of what the symbols mean:

Hunger
Poop
Play
Magic
Anger
and Disease

Cards with double-symbols are for an advanced variant of the game. Ignore them for now.

All of these needs are problems that you have to somehow mitigate. Everyone places the requisite needs cards for their petz face down near each pet. When everyone is ready, you reveal the cards you chose. The needs that you’ve assigned are resolved in a specific order:

For each hunger card you assigned to a pet, you need to feed that pet one unit of food that it enjoys. Carnivores eat red meat tokens, herbivores eat green vegetable tokens, and omnivores will eat either. Remove the requisite food cube from your larder.

Certain cages and addons will “forgive” your petz’ hunger needs. So if you assigned a hunger card to this carnivorous snakitty, this addon would satisfy that hunger card, and you wouldn’t need to spend a meat token. If you assigned a hunger card to this herbivorous wormie in this cage, it could eat the grass in the cage instead of a green food token. If you assign a hunger card to your pet and you can’t feed it, the pet gains a black suffering cube. If the pet’s suffering cubes match or exceed the number of bars on the pet, the pet dies – i mean… it goes to live on a farm, where it dies – and you suffer the lost pet penalty.

For every poop need you assigned to a pet, you place a brown poop token in its cage. Some cages can absorb one poop. There’s no limit to the amount of poopy filth your petz can wallow in, but if they get sick, you could be in trouble.

Your pets need to play to be happy. For every play need you assign to a pet… you need to assign an imp that you held back in the burrow to keep the pet entertained. Place the imp here, here, here, or here. An imp can satisfy one play need, but it can play with two petz at once. So if it’s here, it can play with these two petz or of it’s here, it can play with these two petz, and so on. It can’t handle two play needs on a single pet, but it can play once with the two petz it can reach. If your petz need more play time, assign more imps. You’d better hope they aren’t all out shopping! These symbols on cages and add-ons can address your petz’ play needs.

An unchecked dungeon pet can magically escape its pen. As long as your cage and/or addons have purple antimagic capabilities, you can absorb a petz’ magical outbursts. If your petz’ magical needs exceed your cage and addon abilities, then for every magic need card you deal in excess of your limit, your pet gains a mutation token. If your pet has two mutation tokens, it vanishes into another dimension, and you suffer the lost pet penalty.

Likewise, strong cages and addons with red numbers in them can address any anger cards you assign to your pets. This little drago is pretty p.o.’d – you’ve assigned two anger cards to him. But the cage he’s in can absorb his little temper tantrum, so you’re safe. If your pet’s total anger exceeds the capabilities of its cage and/or addon, the pet busts loose and escapes! But don’t worry: if you held any imps back in your burrow, you can assign them to the cage to wrangle the pet back inside – one imp for every anger need you can’t handle. The drawback is that any imps involved in the recapture efforts wind up in the hospital. If you don’t have enough imps to rein in a rampaging dungeon pet, you suffer the lost pet penalty.

Disease needs work in combination with poop. A pet in a cage with no poop can be assigned up to two disease needs with no consequences. Or, you can have a combination of one poop and one disease, and you’re still safe. If you exceed 2 in any combination of poop tokens and disease cards, your pet gets sick. Take one suffering cube, plus one cube for every point over 2 you exceed in your pet’s combined disease/poop score. So if you have 3 poops and 2 diseases, your score is 5. You get one suffering cube by default, and then three more, because 5 minus 2 is three. Four suffering cubes exceeds your pet’s -bar limit, so this pet gets whisked away to the Great Beyond, and you suffer the lost pet penalty.

At any point, you can spend a potion card to stand in for any colour of needs card you’re required to assign to your pet. So if this direbunny needs a red and a yellow card, and the only red cards you have are anger cards, and your direbunny’s cage can’t contain it… and you don’t have enough imps to chase it down… you can play the potion card that you gained when your imps visited the hospital to stand in for the red card. In doing so, you have to discard a red card from your hand, and you’ll lose the potion card at the end of the round.

Generally speaking, most coloured cards can randomly have most symbols on them, but some cards are more likely to have certain needs on them. This frequency chart on your player screen shows you how likely a card of a given colour is to have a certain needs symbol on it. The type of pet and the food it eats also play into it. This herbivorous wormie eats a lot of green vegetables, but it also has the potential to poop a lot. Try putting it in a cage that absorbs poop, and satisfies one veggie hunger. This meat-eating fiery fairy wants purple and red needs. It gets bunged up from all that meat, so it’s very unlikely to poop, but it’s highly likely to be angry and wizardy. It’s the same story with this magical ghostie that has a lot of purple bars; try putting it in a cage that absorbs a lot of magic so it doesn’t mutate.

LOSING A PET

The threat of losing a pet to suffering, homelessness, escape, or transdimensional banishment is ever-present. When you lose a pet, you discard all of its needs cards. You remove the pet from the game, and return any of its suffering or mutation tokens to the supply. Reputation points are tracked around the edge of the main board. When you lose a pet, for every ten points of reputation you have, you lose 1 point, rounded down. The more well-known you are, the more people frown on you for “losing’ a pet.

EXHIBITIONS

After all the needs are assigned and any dearly departed petz are settled in that Great Dungeon in the Sky, you get to show your petz off in the exhibition from round 2 onwards. Some exhibitions have you pick a single pet, and some apply to all pets in your shop.

The symbols on the exhibition card show you which traits are favoured, and which ones lose you points. So this one gives you a score of 2 for every play need you’ve assigned to all pets in your shop. It doesn’t even matter if you’ve satisfied all of these needs cards – you may have taken a suffering cube for one or more unmet need, but what matters is the number of play cards assigned to your petz right now. You deduct a point for every poop token you have, and 2 points for every mutation token. If your resulting exhibition score is over zero, you move your exhibition judge up that many spaces on this track. During this exhibition, you choose one of your petz. Score 2 for every hunger need you’ve assigned to that pet (whether you’ve fed the pet or not), and dock a point for any disease card it has. So this cthulie was assigned two hunger cards for 2 points each, and it has no disease needs. You move your judge up to number 4 on this track.

Once everyone has marked a score on the track, the player in first place gets 8 reputation points. Second place gets 6 points, then 4 and 2 for the third and fourth place winners. If your judge is still on zero, you don’t get any points no matter where everyone else places. These point prizes are a little different in 2- and 3-player games. If two or more players are tied, you all receive the points for the position where you placed, but you knock off a point for every other player who shares that spot with you.

It’s worth noting that as your petz get bigger, they require more needs to be met, which is challenging, but assigning more needs cards to a bigger pet means you’re more likely to satisfy and score higher in exhibitions, so there’s a real risk vs reward balancing act going on here.

SELLING PETZ

When the exhibition is over, from round 3 onward, you can optionally sell your petz to the dungeon lord presiding over this round. Baby petz aren’t worth any money, so if you see this symbol on the dial, you can’t sell it. Just like the exhibitions, the potential customers have certain qualities they look for in a pet. This guy likes aggressive petz – the angrier the better – and it’s cool if they’re a little magical. He doesn’t want any playful pets, and customers across the board dislike petz that are suffering. If a customer likes a poopy pet, that refers to the needs cards assigned to the pet, not to the poop cubes that have piled up in the cage. The buyer needs proof of poop ownership.

As with the exhibition, you tally up an interim match score. If that score is above zero, you can sell your pet. A customer will buy up to one pet from each player. You can always sell a pet to a customer from the black market, and you don’t need an imp to do it. If you sell from the black market, you multiply your total match score by 2, and take the result in reputation points. Porky Orky wants a hungry, angry pet that poops a lot, but who isn’t sick or suffering. Your liffard is hungry and doubly poopy, so that’s 3 match points. Unfortunately, it’s feeling a little peaky, which knocks a point off its match score. With a match score of 2, you’re still able to sell your liffard to Porky Orky… and if you sell him on the black market, you earn 2 times 2, which is 4 reputation points. As usual, the pet leaves, the poop stays. You also earn the amount of coins depicted on your pet’s wheel. Carnivorous petz are worth the most money, since they’re the most challenging to raise. For every mutation token on your pet, you earn two fewer coins when you sell it. It your pet’s coin value is below zero, you have to pay the customer to take the pet, and if you can’t afford to pay, you can’t sell the pet!

If you have at least one imp on either end of the platform, you can sell your pet publicly and earn a better return on it. Multiply your match score by 3 instead of 2, and collect your bounty.
Move an imp off the platform and into your pet’s cage to remind you that you’ve used it up.

The rainbow symbols on a customer card mean that only one card of a certain colour counts. This weirdo really wants to buy a sick pet, and this fiery fairy has 2 disease cards assigned to it, but they’re both purple, so only one of them counts towards the match score. The customer would like to see a range of sickness.

 

In the last round of the game, there are two customers. Each customer will buy up to one pet from each player, and you can only sell once from the platform, no matter how many imps you have there. So you can sell one from the platform, and one from the black market. Or you can sell two petz from the black market, as long as each pet gets sold to a different customer.

CLEANUP AND ROUND END

When the exhibiting and selling is all finished, discard all of the needs cards you’ve assigned and any potion cards you’ve used face up. Your hand should be back down to 4 cards – one of each colour.

If you have any imps remaining in your burrow, you can put them in the middle of your pet shop and have them muck out the cages. Each imp can clear out two cubes of poo, total, and those poos can come from any cage, as long as it’s empty. Are you crazy? I’m not going in there!

If you have any other leftover imps that you’ve held back in your burrow, each one earns a coin.

With the round over, it’s time to depict the passage of time. Turn the dial on all of the pets in your pet shop by the number of arrows depicted to make them grow. Baby pets advance two ticks; once a pet is salable, it only advances by one tick per round, and a size 7 pet doesn’t grow any bigger (thank goodness). The bigger the pet, the more demanding it gets, and the more needs cards you have to assign to it, but… the more money it’s worth, and the more likely it is to impress judges during the exhibition.

All of the food remaining in the market goes back to the supply. Next, your food starts to rot. Slide vegetable tokens to the right. If they reach this box, they spoil, and you have to throw them out. Meat is a use-it-or-lose-it commodity – you either feed it to a pet this round, or it spoils.

Then, take back all your imps, except the ones in the hospital, and the family members waiting in the wings. Don’t take the platform imps back either – instead, slide them to the right. Reclaim any imps lingering around your pet shop. Reset all the exhibition minion markers back to zero.

To begin the next round, pass the starting player token clockwise, and move the round marker ahead one step. In a 4-player game, the player with the fewest reputation points gets to be starting player in the final round. Keep passing it clockwise if players are tied at the bottom. In the final round of a 2- or 3-player game, you just pass the marker on clockwise.

ROUND START

At the beginning of every round, including the first one, flip over the next unrevealed exhibition and customer tiles, if any. You can always see one exhibition ahead, and two customers ahead. Remember that there are two customers in the final round.

The symbols at the bottom of each exhibition tile depict how much food goes out to market. For example, this one tells you to put out two vegetables, three chunks of meat, and two veg/one meat in the centre stall. Ditch any leftover artifacts, and deal two new ones to the board. Slide the lowest leftover cage to the top slot, and discard any other remaining cages. Then deal out two new ones. This means in the rare case that nobody took a cage last round, this one stays, and two new ones come out.

If there’s only 1 addon left, slide it to the top if it’s not there already, and deal out a new one. If both are still there, get rid of the top one, slide the bottom one up, and fill the gap.

If there are any petz in the upper row of the corral, discard them. For each pet you discard, add 1 meat to the meat stand. The rulebook insists that this is just a coincidence, and that the discarded petz are just fine. (Significant look). Slide any level-2 pets from the bottom row to the top row, and advance them to level 3, so they show 3 coloured bars. Then deal out 3 new baby petz at level 2 to the bottom row.

NEUTRAL IMPS

In a 2- or 3-player game, you’ll play on the opposite side of the board. To create the illusion of scarcity, you place imps of non-player colours on the spaces with a dot – here, here, and here – and in a 2-player game, three more imps three spaces away, here, here, and here. Every round, these imps rotate through these spaces, following the arrows. The neutral imps block these spaces, so you can’t go there. What’s more, they buy all the food if they wind up here, here, or here, and they reduce the market by one meat or one vegetable when they land here or here. No new artifacts get dealt out if a neutral imp is here… and you only deal out 1 new cage if a neutral imp is here, because he presumably bought the other one. If a neutral imp blocks the addon space, he buys the new addon, so nothing gets dealt out to that spot. If a neutral imp occupies this top corral slot, when you slide the leftmost baby pet up to that row, he buys it. If a neutral imp is on either of these bottom two slots, you only deal two baby petz to this row, because he buys the other one.

At the beginning of every round, including the first one, the starting player and the next player clockwise get 1 gold, and the other two players get 2 gold. In a 2- or 3-player game, starting player gets 1 gold, and everyone else gets 2.

ARTIFACTS

We haven’t talked about what those artifacts do! When you place a group of one or more imps here, you grab both artifacts… and place them in the treasure room of your burrow. If the artifact is a book, choose one of its two colours, and rotate the book so that the colour you chose is at the top. Then, you get to draw a card of that colour. For the rest of the game, you have an extra card slot of that colour, which helps you to be more flexible when meeting your petz’ needs. At the end of the round, you discard down to four cards, plus cards of whatever colours are on the tops of your collected book artifacts.

The crystal ball lets you discard and draw up to 3 cards before the phase where you draw cards to assign needs to your petz. The shovel lets you use an available imp to clean two poops out of your cages right before the exhibition, even if the cage is occupied. The imp armor protects up to 2 of your available imps so they can absorb 1 magic or 1 anger point each while they’re trying to rein in an angry, escaping pet. The employee of the month makes one of your available imps count twice when playing with a pet, catching it, or cleaning cages. The whip of obedience moves your judge ahead half a space on the track during every exhibition, so you automatically win any ties. It doesn’t count during the final two scoring exhibitions that we’ll talk about in a sec. And finally, the magic box is a refrigerator that gets you 1 token of food that can act as either meat or a vegetable, and at the end of the round, if it’s empty, you can fill it with one piece of food from your cellar to keep it from spoiling, and that token becomes a wildcard food too!

SCORING

At the end of the game, after the last exhibition has scored, and everyone has optionally sold up to one pet each to the two final customers – one pet to one customer sold from the black market, and one pet sold to the other customer from the platform, if you have an imp there – and you’ve aged your remaining pets and rotted your food and reclaimed all of your imps, except the ones on the platform, in hospital beds… and stuck in the immigration line – there are two special exhibitions to count up your remaining points.

In the first special exhibition, you’re awarded for your business acumen. You earn half a point for every leftover coin you have – that’s literally a half a point, no rounding. Place your minion marker between scoring spaces to denote halves – and 1 point for each unused food token, each potion card you still have in your hand, and each artifact in your treasury,. You lose 2 points for every imp you left stranded on the platform, or in a hospital bed. Tally up your points, move your judges, and score reputation points just like the other exhibitions.

Next, the Pet Display Exhibition gives you 2 points for every pet that’s still in your shop, 1 point for every addon and cage, including the pre-printed one if it wasn’t covered up, and negative one point for every suffering cube, piece of poo, and mutation token you have. As before, you move your judges according to your exhibition score, and then earn reputation points based on where your minion winds up. The whip of obedience holds no sway in these two endgame exhibitions.

When it’s all said and done, the player who’s earned the most reputation points is the winner, and tied players share the victory!

ADVANCED PLAY

If you’re masochistic and you want to play the advanced version of Dungeon Petz, you can optionally let these double-symbol cards stand in for two separate needs when you assign them to your pets. Turn the card so that the top shows the needs you want it to require – either one symbol or two. It’ll be more challenging to meet these needs, but may help you achieve higher exhibition scores and better sale prices. It also reduces the luck factor when drawing cards. You can also flip over an extra customer and exhibition tile off the top of the game, if you’re really good at planning. When stareplant gets sent to the slaughterhouse – i MEAN FARM – from the top row of the corral, add a vegetable token instead of a meat token to the meat stand. If it’s Baby Golem, add a coin to the meat stand instead. If it’s Ghosty, don’t add anything.

In advanced play, player order changes from round 2 onward so that the player with the lowest score goes first, up to the highest-scoring player. If two players are tied, the player closest to the starting player in clockwise order goes first.

SETUP

To set up the game, set out the central and progress boards on the 4-player or 2-3 player sides, depending on your player count. Put the round marker on round 1, and place one imp of each colour on these round spots for players to rescue later. Randomly deal out the exhibition tiles face-down, and the customer tiles face-down too. Then turn over the first exhibition and customer tiles.

On the central board, put the gold here, and the meat and vegetables here and here. Put out two veg, two meat, and one of each in the market stalls. Deal out two artifact tiles to these spaces. Deal two addons, 3 cages, and four pets to the market. The bottom row pets start with 2 bars, and the upper row pet gets 3 bars. Put one minion of each colour on the exhibition track… and reputation track. The potion cards go over here. Extra cages, addons, pets, and artifact tiles go facedown nearby. Put the suffering, poo, and mutation tokens alongside the board.

In a 2- or 3- player game on the other side of the board, place some imps in the non-player colours here, here, and here for 3 players, and 3 spaces ahead in each spot for a 2-player game. The bottom row of the corral gets only 2 pets. The mixed food stand gets no food. In a 2-player game, only two cages are dealt out initially, and the artifact spot is empty. Each player takes an imp burrow, a pet display board, and six imps in their colour. Shuffle the four decks of cards. Each player takes one card of each colour for a starting hand. The starting player is the last person to have fed a pet; pass out 2 gold to everyone, and then 1 gold, 1 gold, and 2 and 2 in clockwise order from the starting player. For games under 4 players, the starting player gets 1 gold as income on any given round, and everyone else gets 2.

And now, you’re ready to play Dungeon Petz!

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[Music – Board Game Boogie by Ryan Henson Creighton]

 

Addenda

At 25:37, i say that meat is a “use-it-or-lose-it commodity,” and that it spoils in the same round you acquire it if you don’t feed it to a pet. Not true! Angelica Andersson pointed out in a YouTube comment that when food ages, if it’s in the X’d out spot, it spoils. Then, you slide the food to the right. That means you have a full three rounds to use your veggies, and two full rounds to use your meat. Thanks, Angelica!

Get Your Own Copy of Dungeon Petz

Dungeon Petz will definitely be a heavier addition to your board game collection, unless titles like Trickerion and Terra Mystica (or complex wargames) are in your regular repertoire. If you shop for your own copy using the Amazon link below, i’ll receive a small commission.