Written and Reviewed by Chelsea Siaca

Whether you are a Dragon, Ratking, Skelleton, Knocker, or even Cthulhu, you will have to band together to keep the Heroes out of your dungeons.

Welcome to Keep The Heroes Out! 

In this co-op dungeon defense game, you will be working with your fellow monsters to stop the Heroes from invading your dungeon.  The Heroes are after the treasures you all have worked so hard to collect. 

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I played the Tabletopia implementation of the game but the prototype photos of the components look fantastic! The game will include a series of different tokens including tokens for the Heroes, Resources, Wounds, Traps, Event, Portals, Tunnels, and Treasures. The Dungeon Room tiles will be laid out to make up the different dungeons for the different scenarios included in the game.  It comes with about 80 cards, which include the Special Ability, Monster, Craft, and the Guild cards. 

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Lastly, we have the meeples! Each faction of Monsters has their own individualized meeples! 

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Work together and stop the Heroes from taking the 4th treasure from your dungeon. 

Game Play

Keep the Heroes Out! is played in a series of turns,  in which the Monsters play as many cards as they have available in their hand to try to defeat the Heroes. Between each Monster’s turn, a Guild card will be revealed and resolved. The Monster’s turn has 3 Phases. In the First Phase, you will play as many cards as you can/want. They will generate icons needed to perform actions.  For every icon you generate, you will be able to perform the corresponding action one time. Some of the actions available are: 

  • Draw a Card
  • Activate your Monster’s Special Ability or the Dungeon Room action
  • Move
  • Attack – Melee or Ranged
  • Defend

During The Second Phase, you can discard Monster cards from your hand to renew/refresh the available Craft cards.  The Crafts cards consist of:

  • Beast 
  • Potions
  • Equipment 
  • Magic Scrolls

Each of the 4 different types of Craft cards can be claimed during the First Phase of  your turn. How do you do that? Well, you can activate a Dungeon Room to generate the resources needed to craft the card you want. Then, move to the Dungeon Room in which you can craft the type of card you want and expend the required resource. For example, you want to craft a Beast Card. Your Monster will need to be moved to the Graveyard and activate its ability to generate a bone. Then, you will need to use one boot for every Dungeon Room you have to move through to get to the Beast Trainer Room. There, you will activate that room’s ability and trade in a bone to craft your Beast Card. 

Once you have decided to keep or renew the Craft cards available, you will discard all the cards in your play area. If you have not played all the cards in your hand, you may keep them in hand for the next round.  In the Third Phase, you will draw cards into your hand from your Monster Deck. 

Between every Monster’s turn, the Heroes will have a turn. A Guild card will be revealed to determine how their turn plays out.  The amount of Guild cards revealed depends on the difficulty level – I will speak about that in a moment! When a Guild card is revealed, one of 2 things may happen. You may reveal a Scenario card, which will be resolved following the rules set forth by the scenario you are playing. However, you are most likely to reveal a Hero card. When this happens, a Hero is summoned. Immediately after being summoned the Heroes will show off and perform their Special Ability. The Heroes play out their turn out in the following phases:

  • Check for Traps. If there is a trap, remove both the Trap token and the Hero token!
  • If any Heroes were summoned to a room with exhausted Heroes, reactivate those Heroes.
  • Heroes attack or loot. If there are no Monsters in that location the Heroes will attempt to loot. If there aren’t enough Heroes in the room, the Heroes won’t move and will wait. 
  • Lastly, if there are any active Heroes in a room without a Monster or Treasure Chest, the Heroes will Charge and move toward the next Dungeon Room that is closest to the Throne Room Tile.

Lastly, here is how the difficulties work in Keep the Heroes Out! There are 3 different difficulties, ranging from Easy to Hard. They each have Levels 1 and 2. Each Level has a set amount of Guild Cards that will get revealed during each Hero Turn.  The game starts off on Level 1. When the Guild Deck has been completely depleted,  it is reshuffled and then you move to the next Level.  For example,

Difficulty Medium:

  • Level 1: 2 Guild Cards are revealed 
  • Level 2: 2 Guild Cards are revealed

The game ends once you have gone through all the Levels or the Heroes claim the 4th Treasure Chest. 

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Final Thoughts 

I had the opportunity to play the game on Tabletopia with the designer, who is also the artist. We played a 2-player game and I felt like it played great at that player count. At first, it seems like there are a lot of rules or iconography; however, after a few rounds they became second nature. We had so much fun fighting the Heroes.  

Keep all the Heroes Out! is a game that the digital implementation does not do it justice! There are a lot of tokens and meeples movement and the digital implementation makes that kind of wonky. I can’t wait to see the actual physical game. 

Let’s talk about how adorable the meeples are! They are so much fun. I think they are my favorite part of the game! Each faction of Monster plays a little bit differently and I really enjoyed that. The game also has a series of scenarios, which will change up the set-up and a few rules. Between those 2 things, I  feel like it won’t get monotonous and the replayability will be great!  Even though the game is a co-op, it felt like between the private hand and the personal deck with the Monster’s Special Abilities, the game doesn’t have a lot of space for an alpha gamer or quarterbacking.

I also had the opportunity to see the Cthulhu Monster in action, he isn’t included in the base game but it is part of an expansion that is on the Kickstarter campaign! How cute is Cthulhu!? The meeples for this game are just so cute! I can’t get over them! It was one of the first things that drew me in. I know,  I know: I am one of those people that are sucked in by the art and theme of a game. Keep the Heroes Out! does a great job at grabbing your attention and instilling the need to defend the Dungeon! 

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Keep the Heroes Out! has fully funded on Kickstarter!