Loot and Scoot Game Review

The Basics:

  • For ages 8 and up (publisher suggests 10+)
  • For 2 to 4 players
  • Variable time to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Reading
  • Pattern/Color Matching
  • Risk vs. Reward

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • Build a dungeon and an adventuring party as you attempt to outlast your opponents and make off with the most loot!

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek approved!
  • Parent Geek rejected!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

The life of an Adventurer is more or less focused on getting as much treasure as possible and then living long enough to enjoy it. The trouble is, most of the really good treasure is being horded by very aggressive and overly greedy monsters. Lucky for Adventurers, there is no shortage of dark and dangerous places to go explore and engage these monsters in combat. It’s all about getting rich quick or die trying, with emphasis on the dying which usually involves being eaten, smashed, burned, torn asunder, or carved. Remember, you don’t have to be the fastest when running away from a dragon, just not the slowest.

Loot and Scoot, by Victory Point Games and part of their Euro-Family game collection, is comprised of 40 Monster tiles, 24 Adventurer tiles, Money tokens (in values of 1, 3, and 5, representing copper, silver, and gold), 4 Divine Pity markers, 7 Loot markers, 8 Hireling tiles, 8 Upgrade Building tiles, 2 Poison tiles, 2 Treasure tiles, 6 Adventuring Party tokens (in 6 different colors), and 4 Dungeon/Inn cards (1 per player). Not included in the game, but necessary to play, are at least 2 six-sided dice. You might also consider getting a small bag or a cup when playing the game to keep all the game bits in order.

Example of what is included in the game prior to being punched out and set up

Game Set Up

To set up the game, each player is given a Dungeon/Inn card, 1 gold (worth 5)  Money token, 2 Hireling tiles, and an Adventuring Party token.

All the remaining Money tokens are places in “the Bank”, the Divine Pity markers, Hireling tiles, Upgrade Building tiles, and Adventurer tiles are placed in their own piles and next to the Bank. Additional set up might be needed based on the number of players. Place the Loot markers in a cup or a bag.

Find and place face-down the level 6 Boss Monster tiles. Have each player select one and discard any unclaimed Boss Monster tiles for the duration of the game.

Place the remaining Monster, Poison, and Treasure tiles in a cup or a bag (not the same one as the Loot markers) so they can be randomly drawn. Have each player draw 3 tiles. Place the cup or the bag to the side.

Select a first player. The first player now selects 2 different level 1 Adventurers. For example, a wizard and a knight, or a squire and a priest. The next player, going clockwise, now does the same but cannot select the same 2 Adventurers as the previous player. Continue until all the players have 2 Adventurers.

You are now ready to go looting, but first you must build the dungeons.

This Old Dungeon

Starting with the first player, and going in clockwise order, each player will now select and place 1 Monster tile face-down on their own Dungeon/Inn card in any of the empty rooms. The player then draws another tile to replace it. This continues until all the players have completed building their dungeon. Depending on the number of players, this could be from 10 to 12 rooms. While populating their dungeon, the players should place their Boss Monster, making sure it is in their dungeon ready to eat Adventurers. Once placed, tiles cannot be moved again by the player.

Important Note on Populating Your Dungeon: Each dungeon space is marked with a room level. When players start to populate their dungeons, it is in the player’s and the monster’s best interest that the rooms are populated with monsters that have an equal or higher level than the room’s level.  For example, you would not want to place your level 6 Boss Monster in a level 1 room. That would just be silly. If a higher level monster is in a lower level room, the monster becomes weaker and is easier to kill. That would seem like a good thing, but the purpose of a monster is to render Adventurers asunder, not simply fall over and offer up its treasure.

Now that the dungeons are populated, it’s time to send in Adventurers to attempt heroic feats and messy deaths.

QUESTING TIME!

Note: There are a lot of details in the rules we will not cover here for sake of keeping this review to a reasonable length. We encourage you to read the full rules for all the details.

Staring with the first player, and going in clockwise order, each player will take their turn which allows them to complete up to 2 actions. Once the actions are completed, it is the next player’s turn. Players continue taking their turns until the game ends. The actions are as follows:

Recruit an Adventurer

The player can pay to hire one or more level 1 Adventurers, taking the Adventurer token into their collection. Players cannot have any more than 3 Adventurers of the same class at any time. Adventurers are essential for fighting monsters and grabbing the loot.

Hire a Hireling

The player can pay to hire up to 2 Hirelings, taking the Hireling tokens into their adventuring party. Hirelings cannot fight and are exceedingly less interesting then even the lowest level Adventurer. However, they have a wonderful talent and ability to take hits and being eaten. This makes them very useful as monsters tend to snack on the Hirelings before the Adventurers.

Beg for Funds

Yes, even fantasy worlds can fall on hard times and recessions. A player can take a 5 valued coin, but it will cost them both of their actions. Opponents are welcome to mock the player’s misfortune if they so choose, but should keep in mind that financial woes can befall anyone.

Build an Upgrade

The standard fantasy village is so last century. A player can spend their hard-earned coins to spruce up and modernize their village by building upgrades, but no more than 2 upgrades can ever be built due to zoning laws.  Upgrades look great and allow the owner (and other players who are willing to pay) to train their level 1 Adventurers, but only if the upgrade is appropriate. For example, you cannot training a warrior at a wizard’s school.

Train Adventurers

If an Adventurer matches an available Building Upgrade, the Adventurer can go from level 1 to level 2. If an opponent has the proper Building Upgrade, a small fee can negotiated for use of the structure.

Trade Adventurers

Sometimes you just get tired of the pomp that comes with spells and a change is in order. If an opponent is also looking for a change, an Adventurer swap can take place if the price is agreed upon by both parties.

Go Looting

When the player is ready, they can send their Adventurers to loot an opponent’s dungeon. Like the Beg for Funds action, a player can only go looting once per turn and is the last action they can take.

Whistle While You Loot

As an action on the player’s turn, they can send their Adventurers into an opponent’s dungeon to grab whatever loot is handy. The problem is that the loot is often times guarded by monsters. Terribly inconvenient, but not an insurmountable problem. Most Adventurers know their way around a weapon or spell and can take care of themselves. Well, most of the time, anyway.

Note: A player can never, EVER loot their own dungeon. Such an act is considered rather unseemly in most social circles.

To loot an opponent’s dungeon, the player places an Adventuring Party token on the dungeon entrance. If the dungeon entrance has been cleared, the Adventuring Party token is moved through the dungeon until it lands on a filled room. The tile is then revealed, and based on the what is shown, the following actions are taken:

Treasure

If a Treasure tile is revealed, the player rolls two six-sided dice and collects that many coins of equal value from the Bank. For example, if a 7 were rolled, the player would collect a 5 coin and a 2 coin for a total of 7. The player can then have their adventuring party leave the dungeon or continue to explore.

Poison

If a Poison tile is revealed, 1 six-sided die is rolled to Save vs. Poison. If the rolled results is higher than or equal to the room value, the adventuring party successfully avoided certain death. The Poison tile is discarded. If the save failed, the adventuring party takes 1 wound. The Poison tile is taken by the player and will be a penalty to the final points at the end of the game. Regardless of the outcome, the adventuring party can continue in the dungeon or leave, but only if there are any Adventurers left to make that choice.

Monster

If a Monster tile is revealed, then things get complicated…

Monstrous Complications

An adventuring party has two choices when they encounter a Monster. Stand and fight or run screaming.

If the adventuring party elects to fight another day and run screaming from the dungeon, the Adventuring Party token is ejected from the dungeon and returned to the owning player. The Monster tile remains face-up in the space it was found in the dungeon. Additionally, if the adventuring party did not loot one single room, the spiritual powers take pity on the gutless Adventurers and bless them with 1 Divine Pity marker. These can be used in the future to add dice in battle.

If, however, the adventuring party chooses to stand and fight, a battle ensues! Each Monster tile has a series of symbols. These symbols are matched with the Adventurers in the adventuring party. For every match, the adventuring party can attack once with the matching Adventurer. The six-sided die are rolled and if a “6” is rolled (or less depending if the monster’s level is higher than the room level), the Monster dies! If the roll fails, the adventuring party takes wounds. If the adventuring party includes Hirelings, they are the first to go, then a level 2 Adventurer is flipped to a level 1 if there is still a wound not yet assigned, and if there is still a wound and no more level 2 Adventurers or Hirelings, a level 1 Adventurer perishes.

Loot!

When a Monster perishes, the Monster tile is places in front of the player whose adventuring party took it down. After leaving the dungeon, the player will receive 3 coins worth for each level of the single highest-level Monster tile that was successfully looted. For every Monster tile with a Loot icon, one random Loot bonus is drawn and kept hidden. Finally, if the adventuring party leaves between battles without running and screaming, the player gains 1 coin bonus for each looted room or special tile gained.

Big Boss Battle and Endgame

Fighting a dungeon boss is like fighting any other monster, except, the game ends when the Monster is killed. All the players now count their Monster tiles and Loot markers, counting the victory points they are worth, and subtracting victory points for any harmful tiles they collected along the way (Poison, for example).

Any unexplored or unclaimed tiles in the player’s dungeon award the owner victory points, and if one of those tiles is a Treasure, the owner gets a number of victory points equal to the value rolled on a 2 six-sided dice. Finally, each player gets 1 victory point for every 5 coins worth of money they have collected.

All the points are added and the player with the most victory points wins the game!

To learn more about Loot and Scoot and read the full rules, see the game’s web page.

Prediction

Like me, my little geeks love a good dungeon plunging game. Games that have monsters, treasure, and exploration are always a big hit. Most of the time, games with that use these thematic elements are either cooperative or semi-cooperative. This is the first time I have ever played a fantasy dungeon exploration game where the players were going against each other that was simple enough to play with little geeks. This fact was not lost on my friends and family either. Several of them immediately remarked it reminded them of the video game Dungeon Keeper or the board game Dungeon Lords, which I would consider to be the more complicated version of Loot and Scoot.

The game has a lot of pieces, but not to a point where it becomes over complicated to play the game. In fact, once you get the game set up and the dungeons built, the game is very smooth and exceedingly straight forward. I spent the majority of my time with my little geeks discussing tactics and strategy and very little on the game play (which they immediately understood). This leads me to believe that my little geeks will have little issue playing the game. The same goes for the Parent and Gamer Geeks, although I am curious to see how well received a fantasy themed game is from the Parent Geeks who don’t care for fantasy in the first place.

And so, after explaining the game, demoing combat, and showing how you count victory points, we reset the game to play. As I did so, I asked my little geeks their thoughts on the game so far.

“I’m excited to play! I really like that I get to make my own dungeons!” ~ Liam (age 8)

“Can I have my dungeon be full of dragons and Liches, Daddy?” ~ Nyhus (age 5)

Seriously, how cool is it that a 5-year-old knows what a Lich is? So cool. Looks like both of my little Dungeon Masters are ready to go. Let’s populate our dreaded lairs of doom and see if we find fun adventure or we end up attacking nothing more than the darkness.

Final Word

Both of my little geeks did well in the game, but my 5-year-old was having some serious issues right from the start. First off, he didn’t populate his dungeon very well and put some higher level monsters in the lower level rooms, making them much easier targets to destroy. This gave his opponents some easy points. Second, he didn’t think through his adventuring party well enough and ended up loading it with just one type of Adventurer. From his point-of-view, he was playing the game in a way that made the most sense to him thematically (he wanted his biggest monsters in the front of the dungeon entrance to keep all of us away). Game wise, his method of play did not allow him to be a strong player. After three tries, he never changed his mind. While we believe a 5-year-old could play this game, our testing did not demonstrate they could play it well enough to validate lowering the minimum age to 5.

My 8-year-old commanded his Adventurers beautifully and built his dungeon intelligently. He placed his Poisons in the high level rooms and his monsters in the right areas every time. He clearly demonstrated adventuring party leadership and dungeon mastering, making this a game that we had no problem suggesting the minimum age be dropped to 8.

Parent Geeks had no problem with the game, but did not enjoy it. They just never seemed to “get it”. The Parent Geeks with serious Gamer Geek background enjoyed the game well enough, but the majority of Parent Geeks (who are primarily casual gamers) never really connected with the game. They said it was “OK” or “Alright”, but that was as far as they went. When they played it with their little geeks, they said it only marginally improved.  Personally, there lack of interest in the game made little sense to me as they were all laughing and enjoying it while playing. Can’t please everyone, I guess.

Gamer Geeks enjoyed the game, hated how random it was, and really liked the dungeon and adventuring party design. Every Gamer Geek who had played Dungeon Lords said Loot and Scoot was the “little brother” equivalent and played fast and easy, but had none of the depth or strategy as its big brother. The Gamer Groups were split 50/50 on this at first, but after several games they warmed up to it and had a great time.

My oldest gives me a “whatever man” look when I tell him he picked the wrong dungeon room to loot

Gamer Geeks, this is a rather straight forward game of dungeon designing and exploration where success is very much luck driven. The amount of luck necessary to win the game can be offset, however, by playing smart, building and using upgrades, and diversifying the adventuring party. This makes the game much more than just a roll-and-hit experience. Additionally, because the player’s design their own dungeons, essentially creating the game board for other players, they can control the level of difficulty. This adds a very interesting element to the game and makes exploring another opponent’s dungeon a fun experience with a lot of smack talk. Loot and Scoot is perfect for your gaming table when you just want a fun game for a social gathering of Gamer Geeks.

Parent Geeks, unless you enjoy games set in a fantasy theme, this game is not for you. Every Parent Geek we played it with was not enamored by this game, although the Parent Geeks with more game experience appreciated it much more than the non-gamers or casual gamers. The only time we had a Parent Geek suggest it was a game they’d play again was when they were playing it with their children or playing it with other Parent Geeks who liked fantasy-based games. We simply did not gather enough positive feedback to warrant a ringing endorsement from the Parent Geek crowd, despite their ability to play the game well.

Child Geeks, this is a game that will challenge you to build a dungeon in a way that will be deadly to your opponents and then gather the right mix of Adventurers to go explore dungeons. This is a risk vs. reward game and luck plays a major role in success. Save up your hard-earned coins and buy those upgrades because you are going to need it. The game can be difficult, but will not punish you severely for risking it all. You might not win the game, but we are certain you’ll have a great time exploring and wandering around in the dark dungeons for treasure.

Loot and Scoot is a fast game once you get it going, but the set up and the break down are a bit tedious. The game suffers from its small bits that work very well during the game, but are a bit of a bother to separate. A minor nit pick but something you’ll want to address immediately if you get the game yourself. Once the game starts, it plays smoothly and is a lot of fun. The amount of luck needed can be a bit frustrating at times, but the game was not meant to be taken seriously enough to suggest that the death of an adventuring party should be considered anything more than a very minor set back. A player who looses to another player’s dungeon might very well find themselves effortless beating the most horrendous of beasts during their next visit. The ability to haggle over Adventurers for trade and to use another player’s Building Upgrades, as well as gain money at any time as an action, is a brilliant move by the game designer as it allows for a level of player interaction that compliments the heavy table talk and to keep all the players in the game. In the end, Loot and Scoot is a stripped down dungeon crawler that takes very little space and time to play. It left me feeling satisfied but yearning for a deeper dungeon exploration experience.

If you are looking for a competitive and casual dungeon exploration games where the players design the layout and create their own adventuring party, do give Loot and Scoot a try the next chance you get.

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....
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