In a Dungeoneer game, players are involved in an RPG-like adventure, in which they have to explore an area, face monsters and other threats, and solve perilous quests. Each set consists of 55 or 110 cards of different types:
- White-backed "map" cards, used to create the dungeon/wilderness area;
- Green-backed "hero" cards, which serve as the players' character sheet;
- Purple-backed "quest" cards, which define the specific goals of each player;
- Brown-backed "adventure" cards, representing spells, treasure, monsters and threats.
During each game turn, players alternatively take on the role of the "dungeon lord", who unleashes monsters and traps on his opponents, and of the adventurer who explores the dungeon trying to solve his quests. The game is won either by a dungeon lord who defeats all of his opponents, or by an adventurer who successfully solves three quests.
The first set, simply called "Dungeoneer" was originally released by Citizen Games, but was later released by Atlas games, with some significant changes (both in the looks and in the game mechanics) and a new name, "Tomb of the Lich Lord", in November 2003. "Tomb of the Lich Lord" is much of a classic dungeon crawl, a crypt filled with undead and classical sword-and-sorcery archetypes. The first set has been followed by several others, each one with new cards and a different background:
- Vault of the Fiends (2003)
A twisted mage has built an impenetrable vault in which to pursue his heinous experiments. Horrendous fiends now plague the countryside, terrorizing helpless peasants and destroying vital crops. The people cry out for great heroes to confront this evil. Do you have the courage to enter the deadly Vault of the Fiends?
- Haunted Woods of Malthorin (2004)
The betrothed of an elven prince was brutally slain on the day of their wedding. The mad bridegroom now uses his powerful magic to turn his forest realm into a horrific haunted nightmare. Do you have the courage to bring peace to these cursed woods?
- Den of the Wererats (2004)
A master wererat and his transformed minions hold the city in fear. Vermin and shapeshifters, thieves and cutthroats lurk in every shadow. Can you face your fears and eradicate this sinister infestation?
- Dragons of the Forsaken Desert (2005)
Long ago the sorcery of the Eldritch Lords transformed fertile plains into a desolate waste. Now the crumbling ruins of a great civilization litter the landscape, and only the remnants of the people known as the Drakan survive the harsh desert. But the mighty Dragon King has summoned legions of his kind and their lizard-men minions to lay claim to the desert. Can you defend the villages of the Drakan and defeat the vile dragon horde?
- Realm of the Ice Witch (2005)
Chohzar the Ice Witch has unleashed demons of cold to invade the warm southern lands and wrap them in her icy grip! Only the most hardy of heroes can venture into her frozen realm to stop her before all the world is embraced by her wintery spell!
In addition, Atlas Games released two sets with higher-level heroes: Epic-level
- Call of the Lich Lord (2006)
The dark god of death and magic has raised his most faithful servant -- the Lich Lord -- back to undeath! Heroes who survived the Tomb of the Lich Lord have been called back, along with daring new allies, to destroy the Lich Lord forever. But his new crypt is more dangerous, his minions more powerful, and the Lich Lord himself more terrible now that he possesses the dark god's sinister gift -- the Scepter of the Shadow Plague. Legendary-level
- Wrath of the Serpent Goddess (2007)
The twisted Knights of Ilbor were banished after being corrupted by the serpent goddess Nakari. Now they've rebuilt their armies in the wastes and coupled with her priestesses to spawn unimaginable slithering horrors. Gather your courage to enter the serpentine temple, where you'll journey into the very heart of Nakari’s abysmal lair to rid the world of this blight.
Players take on the role of one of six heroes. Each hero has variable melee, magic and speed scores which increase as they level up through completing quests and each has a unique ability. Your second role in the game is as the malevolent “Dungeonlord”, trying to exterminate the other heroes.
You win the game when as a hero you complete 3 Quests, such as destroying an evil laboratory or rescuing a princess. The other method of winning is to defeat all the other heroes.
Turn order for each player includes:
- The Reset Phase where all temporary cards are discarded, and all traps and doors are relocked
- The Dungeonlord Phase, in which you may play Monsters, Traps and Banes on opponents
- Build Phase, in which the dungeon grows by laying down a Map card
- The Hero Phase lets you move through the dungeon collecting Glory and Peril resources as you travel. You may spend an extra movement to lay another Map card. This is when you play Boons and Treasures for yourself. This is also when you are able to make an attempt to complete a Quest
- Discard/Draw Phase in which you discard one card and draw up to five cards
The dungeon is created by the laying of Map cards making the setup of each game different and dynamic. The quests necessary to win the game are fulfilled on specific Map cards. Combat is simple and consists each player involved rolling one six-sided die and adding either the Magic or Melee score of the monster and the hero it is attacking.
Traps, doors, and other hazards are overcome by rolling equal to or above the objects Threat. Example: Movement 5+. Add your heroes movement skill of 2 to a die roll of 3 or better.