Cover Image: Dungeon Party

Dungeon Party

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Member Reviews

Yeah...this wasn't for me.  The premise was really intriguing, but the plot was just all over the place and the whole thing was confusing and I was just not a fan.
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Dungeon Party Book Review by Nicole Harmon

Title: Dungeon Party
Author: John Webster Gastil
Date of Publication: 2020
Text Copyright: 2019
Publisher: Cosmic Egg Prints

Book Blurb: "If he wanted to touch the Golden Ticket, he needed to avoid the pitfalls of mediocre gaming. No dull descriptions for crucial settings. No predictable encounters with lifeless non-player characters. Alan's principal worry was plotline discontinuity. His version of the Mythos was uniquely his own." Location 182
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Summary
Dungeon Party to me was an ode to RPG or role-playing games of yesteryear still around after all this time. 
Except now we have Trekkie Conferences and Comic Cons that people either visit in person or watch on television not to mention Cosplay events.
In this story we meet the following characters:
Randall Josiah Keller, Carlos Morales, Alan Crandall, Lance Langdon, Maya Washington, and Brianna Langdon.
All play parts in the role play game Dungeon Lords. A story is written that has many multiple scenarios and outcomes. But as it it's a game you have game codes written by the developers which give the actual win scenario. (more like the points you need to win). You the players have to go through the game to win. A fight occurs at the beginning of the story amongst two of the players which set the scene for the ending of the book.
Meet Devon Washington, one of the owners of the store where Dungeon Lords can be bought, and game scenarios or actual games played. He is also one of the designers of the game or games just like Dungeon Lords. His daughter, Maya, plays with the men in this year's run-up to the tournament.
The characters as played by:
Lance: Lancelot
Briana-Hermione
Alan-(I honestly don't remember his character)
Carlos-Santana
Maya-Angelou
Randall-Boldheart. 
To get into the tournament you must have a play until the end of the third edition. As the crew without Randall including Brianna began to play the third edition, Randall started to unravel. Note: Alan and Randall were friends growing up and past college where they were roommates. The falling out maybe was an eye-opener to both and their game mates. Upon finding that Alan was continuing to play the game to enter the tournament Randall was pissed off. So he hatched a plan to go to the tournament and make them pay. Playing with other groups to determine who played what following the fall out he decided on a plan. To make sure his plan worked, Randall hurt his adopted little sister Tiffany.
As the character (real names no game names) stories unfold so do the role-play game characters of Dungeon Lords of Middle Mirth. As the tournament gets closer, Randall rejoins the group. Maya, Alan, Brianna, and Carlos bond becoming closer. Randall started to go deeper into his psychosis working on a way to destroy Middle Mirth for his former game-playing partners. He made Boldheart reborn.
On the date, Middle Mirth started the group was tired. And Randall went back into the computer system to find the code that made the game end for one player or another. After entering the game he found that game code to "take a character out by its roots from the WOK server farm. Devon-True Death". Well, you can figure out the rest. I don't want to spoil it. But it will take you a couple of sittings to finish the entire book.
Analysis
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. When I was younger, I loved Dungeons and Dragons, the cartoon, not the game. This was immediately recognizable as a book about a role-playing game. The characters I wasn't sure about. I had nothing to base anything on. But I think my favorite character is Carlos. Lance is okay, Alan is a stable force as is Maya. Brianna provides the backdrop. All provide different points of view to relationships to each other both in and out of the game.
The scenery set was great but fight scenes are better. The scenes with Randall's family were a good show of his descent into payback for a slight he felt was done to him. Each relationship either dating, family, or friend is written nicely. 
The only problem I had was it took me a while to get through the tournament. However, I do recommend that you read the book.
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This was a good, solid read. It is about a group of role playing friends and what happens to them when life intervenes and one of them feels utterly betrayed by the final death of his character. The fantasy role play narrative meshes really well with the story of their real lives. I would give it a higher score but for two things, the final challenge is slightly unbelievable and the resolution for my favourite character happened off-stage. Gastil shows promise.
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This book has a fun set up of combining the 'fantasy' world of the characters games into their very. real one. Explores friendships, motivations, and lots fun along the way.
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I struggled to get into this book - I figured as a TTRPG player and an avid reader, this would be right up my alley, but wasn't able to connect with the characters or the story.  Just not my cup of tea.
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So bad, if i could give it 0 stars I would. i thought maybe it was just me and got a secnd opinion. Nope it's just unreadable. How on earth did this even get published?
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An interesting take on D&D gaming, intersecting real life with fantasy... but the gimmick felt old very quickly and difficult to be engaged throughout,
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Dungeon Party: A Novel
By John Webster Gastil

Dungeon Party reminds me a good bit of the 1982 Tom Hanks movie Mazes and Monsters—in both tales, the world of RPG (roleplaying games) interacts meaningfully with the real world, though that’s perhaps an unfair comparison since the Hanks movie is pretty lousy and far more dark than Gastil’s novel. Well, maybe only sort of more dark than Gastil’s novel.

In Dungeon Party, Alan is a 30-something player of the fantasy adventure game Dungeon Lords. The tension really starts when Alan’s longtime gaming pal, Randall, is killed in the course of a game in the mythical land of Mythos. Randall nerd-rages and quits the game.  

In an attempt to infuse some fresh excitement into the game, Alan replaces Randall with Maya and Brianna—the first girls to ever game with this group. All seems okay, except that ex-group member Randall is out for revenge. He plots to ruin his old group’s efforts to play in a Dungeon Lords tournament, causing trouble both within the game world and in the real one, too.

Do you have to be an RPG enthusiast to like this book? Nope, but if you have a love for the polyhedrals (those funky many-sided dice), you’ll probably have levels of nostalgia happening. After all, Ed Greenwood—a big name in the world of Dungeons and Dragons—said that Gastil’s novel is “a great story,” and few know D&D like Ed.

4 out of 5 coffee cups

www.JohnGastil.com
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I tried to connect with this book a few times, leaving weeks in between thinking my quarantined brain might not be ready for the story, but eventually, I gave up. This story was not for me. I struggled to get into the plot, and the characters did not pull me into moving forward with the story. 

I think I was the wrong audience for this book.
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As a Dungeons & Dragons fan and player, this book had me from the start. The writing, characters, and story only solidified my intrigue and this was truly a delight to read.
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Dungeon Party is a fun dive into the world of roleplaying fantasy games, with a unique twist to the plot line I didn't see coming at the beginning. 

Very few contemporary fiction books feature 'nerds' as the main protagonists, so when I saw this title pop up, I knew I had to read it. The book starts off slow, but picks up as it goes. Over all, it was an enjoyable read.

The characters were varied, and while there was one very definite nerd stereotype that left me disappointed, overall I appreciated the author's work to show off the world of roleplaying fantasy. These games have become so much more mainstream over the years that I thought some of the representation in the books to be a little hard to swallow however. This isn't a game reserved just for basement dwellers and the unfit, nor is it the type of thing to make you a social pariah in school anymore (at least not where I am from)

That being said, there were lots of fun nods to different types of games and other nerdy franchises that put a smile on my face and in this time of a pandemic, the overall climax become that much more unsettling and effective as a result. 

I also enjoyed the opportunities to follow the characters into the world of their own characters for a story within the story. It was a fun writing choice to move the plot along and help you connect with the characters themselves. 

Anyone looking for a light, fun, read with lots of nerdy flavour, I would recommend this book; just don't take it too seriously.
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It doesnt support or open after I download the pdf version of it. It's also not showing in my shelf in netgalley and I cant open it to read Please look into the issue and if you can send me the pdf in my mail ID- taniagungunsarkar@gmail.com I cant read the book from here. Please look into the issue
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this was a really enjoyable read, it had what i enjoyed from things like Clue. The characters were fun and I really enjoyed getting to know them.
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I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review,

In Dungeon Party, a roleplaying group expels a volatile member, who decided to seek revenge against them in a sick game invented by him and Alan's group have to try everything to stop him.

I had great expectations for this book, but it disappointed me. I found the antagonist too antagonistic, too "bad", I didn't like the characterization and the plot was a bit too confusing for me.
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This was a fascinating book.  I am not certain that I knew where it was going in the beginning but as I read it really surprised me.  This is not a Lit-RPG type book where the characters disappear in the story.  Instead it was a normal, down to earth story about people who happen to play role playing games and the very human troubles that they find themselves in.  It is obvious that the author has spent much time as a gamer and around gamers because unlike much general fiction that includes a character who is a gamer, these characters are not caricatures.  

Alan, Randall, and Carlos come together tragically and maintain that bound through a decade or more until an in game event throws the psychologically fragile Randall into a rage that sparks a conflict that comes to a head in the real world.  The author writes each of the characters in the group in such a way that their motivations and actions are understandable from their own perspective.  A very touching book.

The copy I read was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I got an ARC or galley for this book and it obviously took me way too long to read. Of course time and opportunity played into that, but the main reason was that it was a tough read.
It is a passable book, to be fair, otherwise I would have put it down. But it felt like a great mess in the realm of storytelling. I am quite surprised the writer managed to somehow wrap the story up in an almost satisfying way.
I went into it expecting an almost Ready Player One style of story, by paying homage to fantasy classics like Harry Potter and Lord of The Rings and literally navigating the world of gaming - like actual tabletop, roleplaying games. That would have been awesome, if there weren't so many paralel stories and points of view going on, not to mention a real life crisis caused by a rogue player.
It was a good idea with a lot og merit, but it wasn't well executed from my reader's perspective. 
That's why it is only passable, not good.
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Much as the premise is great, the execution is dire. Confusing with bad characterisation, you'd be better off finding a local Dungeon Master and actually playing the game instead of wasting your time on this.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC without obligation.
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I book developed in a DnD style with characters playing both themselves and their game characters--sign me up. Unfortunately, Dungeon Party is filled with unlikable characters, underdeveloped characters and plot, and blah reasons for characters' actions. While the plot delivery was a bit confusing, it reminded me of an old Tom Hanks movie, Mazes and Monsters (a movie where the characters are all DnD players and one becomes too immersed in the game and his character after a death in the family). There were more misses than hits in Dungeon Party.

Thank you NetGalley and John Hunt Publishing for the opportunity to read an advance reading copy.
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It was a little hard for me to get into the story, it’s a little confusing at first and it doesn’t make you want to keep going because you’re enjoying it. Of course I was curious all the way and that’s why I was motivated, but the premise wasn’t clear to me, maybe it’s because I wasn’t really connecting with the characters that I couldn’t keep track of the plot. 

I think this story had a huge potential but the development of the characters and plot didn’t do justice to the premise. I was always waiting for the moment when I would change my mind but I didn’t.
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First and foremost, I play DnD, so I was quite looking forward to the idea of a book based around the world of fantasy and game playing. The premise is simple two teenagers who both have an interest in the world of game play, in particular 'Dungeon Lords' (a version of DnD). Both boys are very different characters but a tragic car crash within the opening pages, ensures that they remain linked by the tragedy for many years and brings a third boy into their circle. Later, in adulthood, the trio are joined by a fourth member but this group remains largely the same for over a decade. The few attempts made by Alan (DM) to introduce newcomers are met with a flat refusal by Randall who rules the game in more ways than one.
Randall's character is drawn as deeply unpleasant and the reader is shown no redeeming factors. In fact, his behaviour leads to his regular departures from the group and his subsquent acts of sabotage in the gaming community, reflect on the darker, cruel aspects of his character. 
Meanwhile, his own gaming group have found two new (female) members and are preparing for the Middle Mirth convention. The contrasts between the two groups are profound - Randall is senking further into misery and alone while his friends are moving onwards and enjoying themselves. 
During this story, there are regular 'breaks' while we rexert to the tale of a game in motion and learn about what the characters avaarts are upto. I found that this completely interrupted the flow of the main storyline and did not reflect what was happening there. Prehaps it would have worked better as an added storyline at the end.
Overall, this story was a disappointment as it had such great potential. I'd rather had focused on the tale of Alan and co, then had the tale of their avatars afterwards. 
Thank you to Netgalley and John Hunt Publishing for the kind opportunity to read this book.
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