*Note: at the time of posting this, the creator just informed that, due to copies being damaged in warehousing, it is currently listed as out of stock, but there are plans for restock within 2024 – I’ll update here if I hear anything. Until then, please consider supporting the creator as they’re trying to reprint, and this game is an excellent example of mechanics design and accessibility to learn from*
Heroes & Treasure is made for age 4+
Heroes & Treasure is made so kids ages 4+ can track their own character using the symbol-based character cards, tracking tokens, and custom dice that automatically build in hits, crits, and misses. My kid, who is 5 years old, had no problem keeping track of everything after one explanation.
This game does involve combat, but there are also options to befriend some foes (like the goblin workers in level 1), and any descriptions are entirely left up to the game guide and players, so you can tone any fighting to the tolerance level needed for your game table.
Heroes & Treasure is set in a medieval fantasy dungeon crawl
Heroes & Treasure takes place in a medieval fantasy setting with players adventuring through dungeons based on rumors they overheard at the local tavern. They’re seeking to uncover mysteries, and find treasure with their fellow heroes! The explorable dungeon builds, level by level, as players enter new rooms and is separated into floors that give easy break points for pauses, long rests for characters, and “chapter markers” for picking up the game next time.
Each floor of the dungeon that you’re in is also outlined in a single two page spread in the adventure book, so the game guide can easily build each layer with the available tiles to match the book, knows what encounters to add, and has descriptions to read for every room in one view. I ran one floor reading ahead to prep at first and then tried doing the second one without doing any prep at all, and it still ran smoothly; you can definitely just sit down to play, even as the game guide.
Player characters in Dungeons & Treasure
Your character in Dungeons & Treasure can be one of four starting character classes: cleric, rogue, fighter, or wizard. They’re tracked on character cards that already have health, spells, and leveling instructions summarized and with pictures so players who are still learning to read can follow along. All you need to do is pick your class, count out your health token and spell trackers, get your color-coded die that’s just for you, and give your character a name! It took maybe 3 minutes to explain everything to my kid and count out our tokens, and they were all set!
Mechanics in Heroes & Treasure
I’ll cover certain elements in detail below, but, overall, the mechanics for Heroes & Treasure were very easy to understand while still feeling like a classic TTRPG. The mechanics are all explained on a few pages in the instructions booklet, and the reference cards replace having to look up character spells and creature stats, so every encounter went smoothly with no breaks to look up more information in another location.
Color-coded dice with built in probability modifications
The game comes with custom dice that have sides with blanks and various numbers so that your probability for getting a miss, certain amounts of damage, or a crit are already built into the roll without needing to add modifiers.
These dice are also color-coded, with the appropriate color denoted on the character or creature card, so it is clear what die to use for a roll and if there’s any special situations that you might get to roll multiple dice (like with the rogue class).
The combination of color-coding and built in probability variation allows for a lot of differentiation between different classes and creatures while not actually becoming more complicated to track. My kid, playing a wizard with spells and probably the most complex early-level character, had no issues with matching the colors and tracking what attacks and moves to do.
Leveling up is tracked from what level in the dungeon you’re in, so all characters level at the same time, and there’s no need to track XP. All level up instructions are also already on the character card showing what level to increase health and by how much, how to modify abilities, and what new spell tokens to take.
This made it incredibly easy to explain tiered leveling, and it was great for tracking between sessions since the level always matches the number of the dungeon floor that we’re in.
It also helps that when you level, you don’t need to mark anything on your character card – all of your health increases, shields, spell trackers, etc are tracked by tokens that you count out after referencing your level on the card at the start of each floor. After that, it becomes more resource management than it does needing to track an increasingly complex character sheet.
To adjust the difficulty of encounters based on the number of players, there’s notes on all of the creature cards that very simply states what the health pip difference is and if there’s any particular new abilities or modifications needed. Creature cards have a little more detail on them since it’s assumed that the game guide would be the grown up or an older kid running the game, but it’s not overly complicated. This may include something like adding a stunning effect for the medium to hard difficulty to give more of a challenge. The difficulty scales directly with the number of players, so you always know what tier you’re on and don’t need to calculate any ratings separately to prepare.
Overall thoughts on Dungeons & Treasure
We had a lot of fun with this game, and it was intuitive to play with clear attention paid to making it accessible for young and new TTRPG players. Everything was well laid out, and both my kid and I were able to jump into the game without needing to make any notes or question the rules. Even with that ease, however, there is enough variation between the player characters and encounters to facilitate strategizing your moves, necessitating teamwork between players, and feeling satisfied by the end of the dungeon floor. As soon as we finished the first level, my kid asked when we could play again and was very excited to keep going – it was a big hit, and it’s a great game to try out, especially as a bridge from board games into TTRPGs.
Find a copy of Dungeons & Treasure
Once it’s in stock, you’ll be able to find a copy of Dungeons & Treasure, along with expansions of the game, like Ice & Flame, through the Davis & Daughters Games website.
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