I’m not a very picky gamer. If a game can get my friends and family around the table for a while then I’m happy as a pig in mud. Even if the game is bad I can at least appreciate that we all shared some time together.
I hold solo games to a much stricter form of scrutiny. Seriously. I’m like evil, old Ms. Trunchbull from Matilda running around and forcing the chubby kid to eat all the chocolate cake. Maybe I swing a kid around by the pigtails and launch her from the playground.
That was really a kid’s book?
Wait…what was I talking about again?
Oh yeah! Solo games. Sorry. Yes. Solo games lack the human interaction that I so desperately crave and receive from most other board games. So…going into a solo game I already have that mindset against it.
So what do I look for in a solo game? If I’m going to commit a bit of free time to a game alone it needs to do a few things for me. I’m selfish like that. The game needs to have a rapid setup/ takedown and it needs to play somewhat quickly.
And it needs to KISS.
Not like with tongue and lips or the rock n roll variety either (unless you are playing an officially licensed KISS board game. You know it exists…just checked ebay…yes…God help us, it exists.)
No, it needs to KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID. But not stupidly simple. When I play a solo game it’s usually to get a quick fix, to calm my endless gaming hunger. I usually squeeze it in between the nooks and crannies of work and raising two daughters. There aren’t very many nooks and crannies after those things. It’s just pure insanity.
In short, my time is short, my brain power is short and I’m usually wearing shorts, so the solo game needs to be short. Capiche?
So…for the past few weeks I’ve been entering the One Deck Dungeon late at night after the children are tucked in. A wonderful place full of dice, a single deck of cards (shocker!) and all sorts of baddies ready to eat your soul! It’s really a wonderful time.
One Deck Dungeon is the latest game from designer Chris Cieslik and Asmadi Games. It’s a one or two player game that plays in around 30 mins or so. In typical Asmadi fashion, the box is small but the contents play big. Let’s delve deeper for just a moment…tee hee.
In ODD (that’s cool kid slang for One Deck Dungeon), you pick from five heroines (Warrior, mage, thief, paladin, and archer) and attempt to descend three levels of the dungeon of single decks to reach a big, bad boss at the end. You are equipped with potions, unique skills and a fistful of shiny dice that are the equivalent of your stats (strength, agility, magic and the wildcard, heroic).
I say that you attempt to reach the boss because you will die. A lot. In fact, I feel like I should get something off my chest right now. It’s a little embarrassing. Please don’t laugh at me.
I’ve never beaten the game. I know. Laugh all you want, you jerks!
But by golly, I’ve enjoyed every second playing it! On the outside, the game seems like a simple dice chucker and here’s the beauty of the game: IT IS. Everything you do in this game revolves around lady luck and her favorite mode of gaming; just rolling some freaking dice. Now that’s not to say that you have zero decisions. My friends, there are plenty of choices thanks to the Asmadi patent pending multi-use cards (that’s a joke…there is not patent that is pending…).
When you survive a monster or trap card, you will use your dice to try and kill the monster or survive a trap. You allocate the dice to spaces that match their color and number at a minimum. Its okay, sort of, if you can’t fill in all the spaces with the dice. You will suffer some consequences like health and time loss (time is the deck itself) and then decide what you want to do with the card. You can use it to increase your dice pool/ stats, add a new skill that will help you manipulate your dice, as a potion that grants variable, helpful things, or as experience points to level up so that you can have more skills and higher stats.
And that’s about it. Simple, stupid but not stupid simple.
So let’s throw it into the FRAK! Method of examination. You may have noticed that my method changed names slightly since my first review. Thanks to an awesome Facebook reader, Tom Palmer, I was informed that FRACK is something to do with oil companies and nothing to do with evil Cylons hell bent on wiping out mankind.
We want the latter so without further ado…FRAK!!
1) Fun? Yes! This is one addictive little game. I was quite surprised by all the decisions I could make. Keep in mind this isn’t a deep game by any means, but like I said before, I don’t want a deep solo game. KISS me. KISS me good, you naughty one deck dungeon.
2) Replayability? So far so good in this area. I’ve played around 25 to 30 times so far usually in sessions of three games back to back. I have only been playing against the dragon boss (I will kill that stupid lizard one day!) and there are a few more bosses available in the box. That said; you do see the same cards in the dungeon, multiple times each game. So I could see the appeal waning over time possibly; however, the high amounts of randomized things in this game keep it fresh for now.
Asmadi has stated that an expansion is coming so any fears of the game growing stale should be nipped in the bud. Plus I haven’t even looked at the campaign play!
3) Affordability? Good value? This game is a steal. You can get it at the online outlets for around twenty bucks, so you will easily get your money’s worth with this little puppy. The components are easily the best ever produced by Asmadi. The art is good, cards are decent quality, box holds everything and is sturdy. The dice are on the smaller side but this is a necessity due to the box size and sheer number of dice. The color choices are easy to distinguish and they pop on the table. Just a bargain of a game.
4) Keep it? One YES Dungeon! (Sorry…dad jokes) This game satisfies that gaming itch for me when I don’t have anyone to play with. If you want a short, simple, rewarding solo game, then this is a great place to start.