Game Setup

Choosing a Game Mode

Players can choose to play as teams or play where everyone is their own team (know as Free for All play mode).  There needs to be an even number of players for each team so 1vs1, 2vs2, or 3vs3 works.  1 player can also choose to control up to 3 miniatures in 1vs1 play.  If you have an odd number of people that want to play, then one person can play as the Monster Master (rolling for combat and moving miniatures around).  See the Advanced Rules for more about the Monster Master role.

Player can also choose to play in Campaign Mode.  For more about Campaign Mode, see the Advanced Rules.

Player Profile Cards and Playable Miniatures

Each player picks the playable miniature they want to use in the game.  If there is contention about who gets what, the players can roll dice to determine who gets what.  The player then place the profile card for their miniature in front of them.  

The Player profile card includes the base special rules for each miniature.  These special rules provide some advantage from the start of the game.  The Player profile card is also used to align positive and negative items into slots.  Learn more about this under the section on Traps and Treasures.

Game Tile Setup

Each Black Keep Dungeon box set contains 6, 12"x6" game tiles with a movement grid of 1.5" squares.  These game tiles form the basis for setting up the dungeon.  Use the steps below to get started:

  • Each player roles a single dice to determine who starts placing game tiles first.  
  • The highest role wins. If the roll is a tie, the players who tied reroll until there is a clear winner.  
  • The winner places the first tile. Then, going around to the left from the winner, each player takes turns placing a tile, until they are all placed.

 Tiles can be placed in any configuration within the play area.  A table that is at least 6’ x 4’ is recommended but smaller or bigger spaces can be used, even if the tiles have to fit in tight.  

The main rule with tile placement is that movement grid lines have to match up where two tiles connect.

Placing Monsters

Monsters are placed in the order in which Terrain tiles were placed, starting with the person who won the roll.  Monsters can be placed to block access between game tiles.  The order in which monsters are placed does not matter.  Boss Monsters must be placed inside 9 squares.  Minion monsters must be placed inside 4 squares.  Base sizes reflect this.

Placing Terrain and Treasure Markers

Terrain is placed in the order in which Terrain tiles were placed, starting with the person who won the roll.  Terrain cannot be placed to block movement between tiles.  After all of the terrain is placed, treasure markers will start to be placed.  Epic treasure markers cannot be placed on terrain or with monsters, but smaller treasure markers can be.  No more than 4 treasure markers can be placed with monsters (including on the Boss monster).

Rolling for Deployment

After all monsters, terrain, and treasure markers have been placed, every player rolls a D6 to determine where they place their miniatures in the dungeon.  If playing as teams, players deploy to the same edge (farthest edges of the dungeon).  If playing in Free for All Mode, Players deploy at least 8 squares away from each other.

Objective Cards

Each player selects an objective card after they have deployed their playable miniatures.  The Objective details their personal objective in the game.  The Objective card is placed at the bottom of the player profile card.  It will be used to help drive the player towards earning the Exp Points bonus listed on the card.  More information about Exp Points is available under the section about winning the game.

Rolling for Initiative

Now that all players have selected an Objective card, every player rolls a D6 to determine who goes first.  Once a clear winner is determined, that player can begin their turn.  The player to the left takes their turn and so on until all players have had a turn.  The phases of a turn include Movement, Combat, and resolving Trap / Treasure.


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