I enjoyed D&D as a teenager, but when my 10-year-old son asked for it for his birthday, I wanted something simpler he could play with his younger brother.
Looking at the Dungeon! board and all the tokens, I thought even this may be too much, but it is pitched at just the right level, introducing some of the concepts of D&D but with rigid rules to keep it simple.
The first page of the rule book is a quick start introduction to the basics, which had us up and running before the boys lost patience.
We filled in the gaps as we went along, and by the second game had a good grasp of the rules. They is no need for notepads and pens, as the board, cards, and counters are all you need to track progress through the caves and keep score.
Of the four character classes, only the wizard has unique abilities, but this keeps it simple. Rogues (thieves in my day) find it easier to take short cuts through secret doors. Fighters fare better against dangerous denizens of the dungeon, but must collect more treasure to win. Disappointingly, clerics are just second-rate warriors with a less demanding target for victory.
Each player works independently - there are no rules for co-operative play.
The rules include a few suggestions for solo play, including a treasure hunt and NPC tracking you down.
I am not sure how long the basic game will keep the boys' interest, but I am sure it will give us value for money. The boys (and their dad!) will no doubt experiment with their own rules and thus develop towards the real thing.