Fun, scholarly study and low blows at the University of Rocca Civetta! Dungeonology is the result of a brilliant crowdfunding campaign. To celebrate, Ludus Magnus Studio decided to take players behind the scenes of the project, retracing the path that led Dungeonology to become the game they will soon have on their tables.

In this interview, Diego Fonseca and Danilo Guidi, co-designers of the game, answer some questions about the genesis of the game and their feelings about the project. Let’s listen to their story!

Ludus Magnus Studio: Let’s get to know each other a little better by talking about how your passion for boardgames began, developed, and turned into a professional project.

Diego: It’s all Dungeons and Dragons’ fault (and Hero Quest's as well)! It all started with me organizing games as a Dungeon Master at the age of 12. It brought me closer to the game design process; my great fortune was having a large group of friends willing to support my foolish ideas. Creating games and rules systems have remained a hobby for a very long time, until, following a course on Kickstarter together with my “comrade” Danilo, we decided to take the leap into the professional world.

Diego Fonseca and Danilo Guidi, the game designers of Dungeonology.

Danilo: My passion for boardgames began a long time ago, when I was around 10 years old. I remember that I used to go to my cousins who lived by the sea, and in the evening we played games like Risk, Crack, Monopoly, Hotels, and The Game of Life, but the “flame” lit up when my uncle decided to be our Dungeon Master in Hero Quest! From that moment on, it’s been a short step to role-playing games, a passion that still endures, both as a player of D&D, and as a DM with Cyberpunk 2020, The Call of Cthulhu, and many others. Having accumulated so much experience as a player and having created House Rules for both RPGs and boardgames, we (I and Diego) one day said “Why don’t we try to create our own game?”. The adventure began and I hope it doesn’t end.

LMS: On our social networks we have defined Dungeonology as an “atypical Dungeon Crawler”. Aside from its easy-going atmosphere, can you explain how your game differs from other games?

Diego: Dungeonology is based on the idea of creating a Dungeon Crawler with no fighting. Frequently, while attending the Roman university environment, even for work, I realized how much the life of a scholar is a real quest with lots of terrifying bosses to defeat. Then, I tried to adapt a system of rules without fighting and with a fantasy settings, to a purely modern and current theme.

Danilo: One of the characterizing features of the game is the “stealth” factor, which differs from the classic “we enter the dungeon and raze everything”. In addition, behind the “easy-going atmosphere” you were referring to, there are strategic mechanics that at first glance go unnoticed, but can be appreciated while playing... well, let me stop: I want the players to be curious and find out by themselves!


LMS: Why do scholars face the dungeon’s danger? What is the players’ purpose and how will they achieve it?

Diego: The scholars want to obtain the professorship of Dungeonology at the eccentric University of Rocca Civetta. To succeed, they must face other equally aggressive scholars, participating in a didactic expedition aimed at writing the best thesis on the creatures they will meet. During it, dirty tricks and low blows will be a daily occurrence.

LMS: Essen Spiel 2018 represented your debut as an author, presenting Dungeonology to a giant crowd of enthusiasts. From the feedback you’ve collected, what was the public’s opinion on your work?

Diego: Fortunately, many have been passionate about the project, either because of the atypical theme or the Disney-esque graphic style we gave to the game world. The presentation to the Essen public was a fundamental step in the Dungeonology finishing process, giving us, at least in part, the courage to remove some parts of the game we were fond of, in order to meet a more direct, but still profound, gameplay style.

Danilo: We received very positive feedback, and the thing that personally surprised us was the variety of users interested in the title, from casual to hard core gamers. We were often asked if the game could be approached by people who were unfamiliar with board games, as the theme and graphics were very captivating and attractive. We also appreciated the large number of female visitors who do not always like dungeon crawlers.

LMS: Is there a particularly nice or useful anecdote that you used as a source of inspiration for Dungeonology?

Danilo: The most “obvious” source of inspiration was the mechanics of taking advantage of “doctoral students”, which refers to the real situation of Italian universities. They are “used” by professors in the most disparate ways, which often go beyond the skills acquired during their studies. It is not something to be proud of, but over the years it has become kind of a joke, and often even scholars joke around about this.


LMS: After Dungeonology have “landed” at LMS studio, what kind of changes did it undergo from an artistic and design point of view? Are you satisfied with the collaboration with the staff members?

Diego: They got rid of the dice! Together with the classic changes that a publisher asks for a project (clear rules, specific materials for production, change of game setting), the biggest change for Dungeonology was the removal of the dice from the game system. Although I’ve been in crisis for about two months, the final results were excellent, elevating gameplay to a higher level. The collaboration with LMS is a fantastic experience, the team is close-knit and composed of fans of the gaming world; the whole Studio is a great breeding ground for ideas, in which a creative person can only have crazy fun.

LMS: Well, you made it to the final greetings safe and sound, but there is still a small request: greet our readers like a Dungeonology character.

Diego: “Give me your Information Cubes, fool!”

Danilo: “An academic greeting to all aspiring professors. See you in Laetus’ cave, and may the sly... ehmm, the best one win!”

This interview is originally published on Ludus Magnus Studio's magazine, Ashes Special 3, distributed at Essen Spiel 2019. Dungeonology is designed by Ludus Magnus Studio, and the English edition is published and distributed by Ares Games. The game is pre-releasing at the show and is expected to be in distribution in November. For more information about the game, visit the Dungeonology section.

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