Meeple Soup* is trying to defend his dungeon treasures with his fellow monsters in Keep the Heroes out by Brueh Games!

Keep the Heroes Out! Is an asymmetric, cooperative dungeon defence game for one to four players where you play as the monsters protecting their hard-earned treasures against invading hoards of “heroes” trying to plunder it. – Introduction to the rulebook.

Whilst there have already been a handful of games that have taken the fantasy trope of heroes’ dungeon delving and turned it on its head – this game makes it more appealing to a wider audience. For the gamer, there is the asymmetry of the factions, allowing you to challenge yourself to mastering the varying power play combinations. For the newcomer, there are easy to teach rules summed up with simple and clear iconography for actions and elements. And for the young gamer – and to be honest, even the child inside us adults will also love this – a simple clean cartoon visual style that instantly gives each faction, item, and ‘hero’ its own personality without copying heavily from the already plump bag of fantasy imagery out there. The secret sauce to combine all these players is the fact that the game is a joyful cooperative stroll through twenty scenarios that become increasingly harder with only small component additions and special rules to share around the table.

Let us begin with diving headfirst and discussing the large dungeon room tiles that link together to create the map for each scenario. Its noticeably clear what each room is, both visually and mechanically, through clear iconography corresponding to the rooms type and the special room action alongside simple yet stunning illustrations with telltale hints through the room’s objects.

On top of these tiles, you would place your chunky screen printed wooden meeples – with their exact starting location depicted on the horizontal clan card for their faction. Each faction has a differing amount of these meeples: from the Ratkin with a whopping nine grey and less than enthused looking meeples, to the equal parts sleepy and hungry looking single meeple of the Dragon.

Apart from the varied faction numbers, each faction’s asymmetry is shown through their ten card tactics deck – and yes, you guessed it! Ten card decks are synonymous with deck builders and this game has an element of that provided by the loot cards [more on those later]. A quick flick to page 4 of the rulebook splits them into three easy to understand roles: The Red Dragon, Lizardfolk and Gnoll are your crowd control factions, with most of their talent cards focussed on hitting those heroes hard and fast; The Slime, Skeleton and Ratkin factions are your defenders, with their talent card focussed on summoning more of their kind and repositioning them around the dungeon; and finally the Imp, Poltergeist and Witch factions are your supporters, with their talent cards focussed on assisting themselves and other factions with acquiring new talent cards and activating abilities through transporting the many items around the dungeon quickly. In three and four player games, it is wise to have a nice mixture of these roles, but it is honestly fun to experiment with a singular role heavy team.

Now, it would not be a dungeon without treasures and loot, would it? Each scenario will have you place numbered treasures in each room, with higher valued treasures further away from those pesky heroes – but when heroes would claim one due to their being an equal or higher number of active heroes to the number on the treasure chest with nothing in the room to engage with, the token flips presenting the players with a negative effect. These range from discarding a resource from the room all the way up to instant defeat [which is on the singular four numbered treasure token].

But its not all just for the heroes to steal! Five of the rooms have an action that creates resources which, when taken to other rooms by our monster factions, can be swapped for one of the available corresponding Loot cards, which gets added to your deck in the usual deck building manner of adding it to your discard pile and waiting for the moment you shuffle it into a new deck, hoping that your draw it that turn.

The only thing left to address is the Heroes that are storming your cozy dungeon unannounced! They are all represented by a Guild Deck, which will include Wizards, Archers, Warriors, and Rogues alongside scenario specific cards. These cards shuffle together into a deck and after every player turn at least one card will be drawn from this deck. The monsters must stand fast and endure this deck twice without the heroes obtaining that four numbered treasure mentioned earlier to win. When you draw a card the matching hero token is placed in corresponding rooms in a similar fashion to how each faction does and will also activate their own ability. Heroes have two statuses; active on their coloured side, exhausted on their grey scaled side. When active, they will attack the monsters, take treasures, or move into another room in the dungeon. If an active hero ever encounters an exhausted hero they inspire them back to their active side, causing a chain reaction of swarming, moving, and looting – if your team are not careful enough!

After succeeding the waves, the rulebook does not really give you a metric for how ‘well’ you have done at defending your underground abode – but its easy just to add up all the remaining treasure chests. Each scenario lasts about 40 minutes [up to 60 with a new group] and you can store your decks in the insert tray if you wanted to continue through the scenarios in one long campaign – that is, if you don’t grab refreshments whilst someone begins setting up the next scenario to continue your venture further.

I have played this game with a set of diverse groups – and its hit well in each as a light to mid-weight game. The family have also enjoyed it as much as our other young family friendly cooperative games – but this one does make itself to the table more often as its setup is rather simple and fast [our kids usually set it up and read the story and rules, which helps them with their lexicon, speaking and listening skills] and the game doesn’t outstay its welcome. The game is adjustable to be more difficult through the number of cards that are drawn from the Guild Deck each turn, giving the heroes more opportunity to group up, but not extending the games runtime, as you still only deal with two waves of the guild deck.


Theme: 7/10 Unique design choices make the fantasy theme have comic originality.

Game Flow: 8/10 Extra players do not make the game take longer.

Instructions: 8/10 Filled with splendid examples throughout. Scenario book has excellent quality writing and special rules make sense.

Components: 8/10 Solid components, punchboard, and cardstock of excellent quality.

Art: 9/10 Impressive art throughout helping to make the theme stand out further

Replay-Ability: 8/10 Twenty scenarios of increasing difficulty alongside difficulty settings does a wonderful job!

Overall Score: 80% Excellent game, always want to play it!

*Welcome to Meeple Soup, my name is Stuart! Although board games were a massive pastime as a young child, I started my board game journey in  2018 while at University through running a Tabletop Society. Since then my collection has grown and I have begun to take the plunge into reviewing and previewing these boxes of wonderous joy. The Meeple Soup motto is ‘Keep your friends close, and your tables full.