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5-Minute Dungeon Board Game: Rules for How to Play

5-Minute Dungeon Board Game: Rules for How to Play

Looking for a specific 5-Minute Dungeon rule?  |  Set Up  | Playing the Game | Matching the Symbols | Using an Action Card | Using a Hero’s Special Ability | Defeating a Card | Refilling Hand | Defeating the Boss | Losing to a Boss | FAQ | Components |


The objective of 5-Minute Dungeon is to work with the other players to play cards with the correct symbols to defeat the dungeon’s boss within five minutes.

Set Up

  • Each player chooses one of the heroes to play as. Once you have chosen a hero, you will place the corresponding Hero Mat face up in front of you.
  • Grab the deck of cards that match the color of the hero you chose. Shuffle all of the cards and place them face down on the corresponding place on your Hero Mat. If there are only two players, you will also choose one of the unused hero decks and shuffle it into the deck matching the hero you chose.
  • All of the players will draw a starting hand of cards from their own personal deck. The number of cards you will draw depends on the number of players.
    • 2 Players – 5 Cards
    • 3 Players – 4 Cards
    • 4 or 5 Players – 3 Cards
  • You will need a timer that you can set for five minutes and can pause at anytime. Otherwise the game has an app that works as the timer.

Dungeon Setup

To prepare a dungeon in 5-Minute Dungeon you will follow these steps. You will do this at the start of each round.

  • Choose which boss you are going to fight. It is recommended that you start with Baby Barbarian (Boss #1) and move onto the next numbered boss when you defeat it. Place the chosen Boss Mat face up in the middle of the table.
  • Along the bottom of the Boss Mat is a number next to a card symbol. This number indicates how many Door cards will be used in the round. Mix up the Door cards and count out the corresponding number of cards and set them near the Boss Mat.
  • For each player you will draw two Challenge cards (has a horned skull on the back). These cards are added to the Door cards you set near the Boss Mat. Shuffle all of these cards and place them face down on the Boss Mat so they cover up the symbols printed on the mat.
Preparing the Boss deck
For this first boss battle the players will use 20 Door cards as well as two Challenge cards for each player. They will shuffle them together and place them on the Boss Mat so the color symbols are no longer visible.

How to Play 5-Minute Dungeon

When all of the players are ready to play 5-Minute Dungeon you will flip over the top card on the Boss Mat. At the same time you will start the five minute timer.

There are a number of different types of cards that can appear in the Boss’ deck.

Door cards feature something that you need to defeat in order to proceed in the dungeon. The cards feature a number of symbols that you have to match in order to defeat it. Along the bottom it also mentions what the card is. The card’s type is referenced by certain special cards and abilities.

Door card
The players revealed the Squire Nedward Door card. This card is a person and requires two yellow shields and one green arrow to defeat.

Mini-Boss cards are similar to Door cards. The main difference is that they feature more symbols and thus are harder to defeat. You also can’t use special abilities to defeat Mini-Boss cards.

Mini-Boss card
The players revealed a Mini-Boss card. The Giant Enemy Crab card requires you to play three green arrow cards and three yellow shield cards to defeat it.

Finally there are Event cards. Whenever you flip over an Event card, you will take whatever action is printed on the card. The only way to avoid the action is if a player plays a Cancel or Holy Hand Grenade card.

Event card
The Trap Door Event card was revealed. Unless the players play a card to prevent it, all of the players will be forced to discard three cards.

Most of the cards will feature a few colored symbols on the bottom of the card. There are three different ways that you can defeat the card which allows you to reveal the next card.

Matching the Symbols

Most of the time you will have to match the symbols printed on the bottom of the card. In your hand you will have cards that are different colors/symbols. If you have a card in your hand that matches one of the symbols on the top Boss card, you can play it to the middle of the table. There is no turn order in the game. Any player can play a matching card. You can play multiple cards, or several players could play a card(s) that matches the symbols on the top card. To defeat the card the players have to play a card that matches all of the symbols on the top card. You do not have to play the matching symbols in the order that they are presented on the card.

Defeating a card by matching the symbols in 5-Minute Dungeon
To defeat Squire Nedward you need to play two yellow shields and one green arrow. The players have played the corresponding symbols so they have defeated the card.

If a card features two symbols on it, it applies both symbols to the card that it is played against.

Playing an Action Card

The second way to defeat a card is to play an Action card. There are some cards in your deck that have a special action printed on them instead of a color and symbol. Some of these cards can automatically defeat a Boss card if its defeat criteria matches the top card.

Defeating a card with an action card
The players are currently facing A Cactus That Wants a Hug, who is a monster. One of the players plays a Fireball card which automatically defeats a monster. The Cactus That Wants a Hug is defeated.

Other Action cards allow you to take a special action. You will follow the action on the card and then place the card in the middle of the table.

Special action card
When a player plays this Action card it acts as one of all of the resources. It will act as a red sword, blue scroll, green arrow, etc.

Using a Hero’s Special Ability

Finally each player chose a hero to start the game. Each of these heroes has a special ability that can help when fighting cards. If you would like to use your character’s ability, you have to discard three cards from your hand. You will place these cards face up on the Discard Pile space on your Hero Mat. Then announce your ability to the rest of the players and take the corresponding action. You can use your special ability as many times as you want. Each time you use it though, you have to discard three cards.

If the hero’s ability only defeats a certain type of Door card, you can only use the ability to defeat that type of card. For example if the ability defeats monsters, you can only use it to defeat a monster card.

Defeating a card with a special ability
The Ninja has the special ability of defeating an obstacle. They discard three cards in order to use their ability to defeat the current card which is an obstacle.

It does not count as playing a card when you use a hero’s special ability. Therefore if the game is currently paused, you can use the ability before you have to restart the timer.

Defeating a Card

Once you have defeated a Door or Challenge card, you will set it aside. Any cards that the players played to defeat it are set aside as well. These cards are not placed in your own personal Discard Pile. The one exception are cards you discarded to use your hero’s special ability.

You will then turn over the next card on top of the pile on the Boss Mat. The objective is to now defeat this new card.

Revealing the next card after defeating a card
After defeating Squire Nedward, the players discard the card and reveal the next card. The players will now have to defeat A Cactus That Wants a Hug.

Refilling Your Hand

Whenever you play or discard a card, you will draw new cards from your deck. You will draw cards until you are back to your starting hand size. If you ever have more cards in your hand than your starting hand size, you will not draw any new cards until your hand has less cards than your hand limit.

If you ever run out of cards in your Draw Pile, you can’t draw anymore cards unless a player plays a card that gives you cards or lets you take cards out of your Discard Pile.

Defeating the Boss

The players will keep playing cards in order to defeat the Door and Challenge cards on top of the Boss Mat. Once you remove all of the cards from the Boss Mat, it will reveal a number of symbols printed directly on the mat. You now have to play cards to match all of the symbols printed on the mat.

Facing the boss
The players have defeated all of the cards on top of the Boss Mat revealing the boss’ symbols. To defeat the Baby Barbarian the players have to play two red swords, two green arrows, and three purple jumps.

If you can match all of the symbols on the mat, you have defeated the boss and have completed the dungeon.

Defeating Baby Barbarian in 5-Minute Dungeon
To defeat Baby Barbarian the players had to play four cards. One of the players played Magic Bomb which counts as one of each of the symbols. In this case it will count as one red sword, one green arrow, and one purple jump. A player also played a red sword/purple jump card which counts as both symbols. Finally the players played a green arrow and a purple jump cards. As the players have matched all of the symbols on the Boss Mat, the players have defeated Baby Barbarian.

After defeating a boss in 5-Minute Dungeon, you will move onto the next boss. For example once you beat the Baby Barbarian (Boss #1), you will move onto the Grime Reaper (Boss #2). To set up the next dungeon you will follow these steps.

  • Gather up all of the cards that players played during the game. Sort the cards by their backs and return them to the corresponding player. Each player adds these cards to any cards they had in the hands, Draw Pile, and Discard Pile. They will shuffle all of the cards to prepare their deck for the next dungeon.
  • Place the Boss Mat for the next boss in the center of the table. You will construct the boss’ deck following the instructions in the set up section above.
  • Reset the timer so you will have five minutes for the next dungeon.
  • You are now ready to try and beat the next dungeon.

Losing to a Boss

While the goal is to defeat each boss, you may eventually hit a point where you cannot defeat a boss. This may happen due to three things.

If you ever run out of time before you defeat the Dungeon Boss, you lose the fight.

Next all of the players could run out of cards. Since none of the players have any cards to play, you can’t defeat the Dungeon Boss.

Finally you may get into a situation where none of the players have cards in their hand that can defeat the current Door/Encounter/Boss. If you don’t have a card or a hero ability that can get you out of this situation, you also lose.

Should you lose a fight, you will restart 5-Minute Dungeon by facing off against the Baby Barbarian.

5-Minute Dungeon FAQ

If you have any questions about how to play the game, leave a comment below on this post. I will try to answer any questions asked as best and as quickly as possible.

Components for 5-Minute Dungeon


  • 5 Hero Decks (40 cards each)
  • 40 Door Cards
  • 10 Challenge Cards
  • 5 Hero Mats (double-sided)
  • 5 Boss Mats
  • Instructions

Year: 2016 | Publisher: Spin Master, Wiggles 3D | Designer: Connor Reid | Artist: Alex Diochon

Genres: Card, Cooperative, Dungeon Crawler, Family, Speed,

Ages: 8+ | Number of Players: 2-5 | Length of Game: 5-30 minutes

Difficulty: Light | Strategy: Moderate | Luck: Moderate

For more board and card game rules/how to plays, check out our complete alphabetical list of card and board game rules posts.