Hi, this is Ambie from Board Game Blitz, and this is Strategically Thematic, a new segment where I talk about theme in different strategic games. This time, I’m gonna talk about one of my favorite games, Dungeon Petz!
Dungeon Petz is a worker placement euro game where you are a pet store owner raising these cute little monsters to sell to the dungeon lords. Basically it’s kinda like a Tamagotchi board game - you need to take care of your pets by feeding them, playing with them, and cleaning up their poop. There are quite a few complex mechanics in Dungeon Petz, but because the theme shines through so well, the mechanics make a lot of sense when you actually start playing the game.
For example, in the main worker placement mechanism, you put your imps into groups and send them to the market to buy the things that you need, like food, or cages, and of course the pets. There are some rules on which spaces you can go to, but the rules are explained thematically. For example, when you buy a pet, you also need to bring at least one gold, since you need to pay for it. When you get a cage, you need at least 2 imps in your group, since cages are heavy and one imp can’t carry it by himself.
But my favorite part of this game is the needs cards. In the game, you’ll have a hand of these different colored needs cards, and you’ll draw and play cards based on the colors shown on the pets that you own. Depending on what cards are played for your pet, you have to do different things to satisfy their needs. Green cards are generally about hunger, so there’s a lot of food and poop. Yellow are for playing, red are anger needs, and purple are magic.
Each pet has a different personality, shown by the colors, and that determines what the pet wants that day. There's a pet that really likes eating, so you’ll want to get a lot of food to prepare for him. And this one is playful and you’ll have to make sure you play with it. When you don’t satisfy the pets’ needs, they get sad and suffer, which makes them not as attractive to the customers, so you won’t get as many points. The needs cards are also used to determine how well the pets score in exhibitions and which dungeon lords you sell the pets to, and those are the main way you get points in the game. This dungeon lord wants a playful pet that’s not angry, so this pet here would be perfect for it!
Dungeon Petz has a lot of strategy, since you need to plan ahead all the time. You can see which customers and exhibitions will be coming up in future rounds, so you need to decide which pets to buy and which need cards you’ll want to play. But in addition to the strategy, the theme shows everywhere in the game, from the cute, detailed art to all the mechanics. The blend of strategy and theme makes Dungeon Petz one of my favorite games. Thanks for watching Strategically Thematic! Let me know what you think in the comments below!