That dialogue happened at me home some time ago:

  • (my wife) Honey, we will need some presents for children soon – we will have their birthdays and other anniversaries in the coming weeks. What do you think?
  • (me) Well, a good boardgame is always a great idea!
  • (my wife) I knew it! Again! And I am sure you have something already in mind?
  • (me) Well, the guys are old enough (6 & 8 years) for their first dungeon crawler!
  • (my wife) What? Dungeon crawler??? Like D&D (Dungeon & Dragons)?
  • (me) Nothing so complicated! It is called Karak and is great entry for children into the world of adventures.
  • (my wife) Well, whatever! Evidently you have everything already figured out!
  • (me) Of course, you can always count on my! Thank you Darling!

Well, what can I do after this “green light”? Of course, I purchased Karak!

The Game

What lies beneath the crumbling walls of Karak castle? A labyrinth full of treasures…and monsters! Six brave adventurers are going in there for a fortune waiting to be claimed, each one of them with a different trick up their sleeve — but the treasure chests are locked and monsters are everywhere. Who will outsmart their opponents, beat the monsters, and seize the dragon’s gem?

In Karak, also known as Catacombs of Karak, each player leads one of six different characters into the labyrinth. Tile by tile, they uncover what the labyrinth looks like, and it will differ on each play-through. They have to equip themselves with weapons and spells, fight monsters, and (most importantly) collect treasure. The player with the most treasure at the end of the game wins — a true champion of Karak! The game end when the Dragon is defeated, but that does not mean that character who performed that feat will win the game…

The Sessions

We have already played with my family multiple times in Karak – in 2, 3 and 4 players set-ups. The game never took more than 45-60 minutes and we have so much fun each time – really, you do not get bored even after multiple sessions. As and example how the game looks like a short session I had with Jakub. Should nicely present the mechanics and look & feel of that title.

You can click on each of below pictures to enlarge it.

Warrior (me) and the Oracle (Jakub, my younger son) at the beginning of the game; the latter is pretty powerful one! Two Turnkeys visible – we did not manage to defeat them in first attempts.
The character mat – each have Hit Points, two slots for weapons which modified rolls, place for key which open treasures as well as three spells.
Finally! I found dragon and after few attempts managed to get rid of it! You need to roll modified 16 or more on two dices so really, weapons and spells come handy.
Above how the dungeon looks like – you can really build it in different directions.

Although I defeated the Dragon and got additional points for this – in total 2.5 – my son was marginally better, with 3 treasure chests. Good for him – of course, we immediately played one more game after this!

Karat – the first impressions

Let me share now my thoughts and experiences regarding the game:

  • This is a great entry into the world of adventure boardgames for children; simple enough to quickly learn the rules, but with enough amount of choices to make it interesting
  • It has pretty nice replayability – with six potential characters – each having two separate special abilities; also, with every game, the dungeon looks differently
  • The game is short enough to keep children attention
  • There is fantastic, climatic end of the game, which ends when the Dragon is defeated!

I am really happy I convinced my wife to this game. Boys simply love to play Karak, and are bringing this to the table whenever we have free time. There is also expansion to this so I am pretty sure we will get it too. Highly recommended for children as “first dungeon crawler”!