How many decks?

How many decks in a dungeon? One. One deck. [UPDATE]

It’s been a busy few weeks for the folks at Handelabra. First, their baseball dice-roller, Bottom of the 9th, heads to Steam and then they celebrated the third anniversary of Sentinels of the Multiverse‘s release with a massive sale. Little did we know that the biggest news from Handelabra was yet to come. They’ve teamed up with Asmadi Games and are bringing card game One Deck Dungeon to our laptops (and, hopefully, touchscreens).

We don’t know much about the digital version of One Deck Dungeon yet, other than it’s Handelabra’s first collaboration with a publisher other than Greater Than Games. We also know that Handelabra will be running a Kickstarter beginning November 1st to bring the game to life. This will be the second Kickstarter I’ve backed in regards to One Deck Dungeon. Maybe, one day, I’ll actually get to play the game… [or you could play the PnP version, but you’re far too lazy to make your own version. Please, readers, don’t feel sorry for him. -ed.]

So, having not played it, I can’t really talk about how it plays but I can talk about why I backed the cardboard version. Reading the blurbs, ODD sounded to me like a cooperative roguelike which plays in 30 minutes. Best of all, it’s compact and can be played solo, so it’s perfect for traveling. The base game can manage 1-2 players, but you can combine two decks to play up to 4. The digital version will launch with solo play for 1-2 heroes, with the ability to control up to 4 heroes available via stretch goals. Another stretch goal will involve bringing the Forest of Shadows expansion to life. Considering how well the Kickstarter for the cardboard version did, I don’t think it will be much of a stretch to end up with both of these options.

I think we need to blurb this one a bit, both to give you a better representation of what we’re talking about and, let’s be honest, to bump up my word count. This is the equivalent of using 2.5 line spacing in an essay to push it to the required page count.

Adventure calls… but you don’t always have time to spend hours setting up hundreds of pieces! One Deck Dungeon lets you jump right in to bashing down doors, rolling dice, and squashing baddies with style. By utilizing cards in four different ways (as an encounter, XP, a skill/potion, or a stat-boosting item), all the experience of dungeon delving has been fit into a compact package. You can choose to venture in alone, or bring along a friend. The dragon doesn’t care, he’s happy to eat both of you! And don’t even think about trying to spare him, that’s the wrong game entirely.

So, that sounds fun, no? The upcoming Kickstarter appears to only be for the Steam version, but they’ve already mentioned that a mobile version will follow if the Kickstarter performs well enough. Let’s make sure that happens, okay? More info on the game and Kickstarter as we get closer to the launch date.

[The original post indicated the game has local multiplayer. I’ve since corrected it to indicate that the game is single-player only with the ability to control multiple heroes. -ed.]

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Notable Replies

  1. Sentinels boggles my mind because I should love it but dislike each repeated play that I give it. I also don't particularly like Bottom of the 9th.

    But Handelabra certainly knows how to make games. They are polished and functional. I'll continue to try out what they have to offer.

  2. Why do I always read it as 'Handbra'. WHY.

  3. As I've said before, Sentinels is a game that just begs for a single-player campaign. I think that was a stretch goal in their Season 2 Kickstarter, but I don't remember if they reached it. I'd be a lot more interested in the game if I was progressing toward something. Playing online co-op multiplayer doesn't interest me.

    Bot9 apparently now has a campaign, which has me a little more interested, but I haven't bought it yet. I will when I clear a bit of my backlog or they put it on such a good sale that I can't ignore it.

    ODD sounds really cool, though. Cautiously optimistic about this one.

  4. I consider the weekly one-shots to be the single player campaign. The hardest thing I have to cope with in Sentinels is the choice paralysis of trying to pick a villain(s)/environment/set of heroes. Having catered missions fixes that for me.

  5. Why not just randomize all your games?

  6. I had avoided Sentinels because I don't care for the art style. I did grab it on sale, though and played the tutorial. I was quite surprised at slow the gameplay felt. Naturally, that would improve with familiarity, but not as much as I'd like because of constantly having to select targets and the like. I was also disappointed to find that on many, if not most turns, my characters wound up doing the same things over and over.

    This is the second time I've recently played a pseudo-deckbuilder where you are generally playing one card at a time. I much prefer playing a whole hand each time because much of the enjoyment comes from deciding what order to play things in.

    As for ODD, I thought about backing it a few months ago, but had just backed Gloomhaven, so chose not to. Looks like a neat game, though, and would like to see it on iOS or switch.

  7. I feel exactly the same way. I have pumped significant cash in their direction for the 2 x season passes, but I just can't play it.

    Maybe it is more emergent? I just feel like it is an arm wrestle type game, where both sides grind down over 10+ turns against overwhelming odds.

    And doing 1 point of damage to something with 90 hps just feels like a WoW raid boss.

    I should like that! But it doesn't click

  8. I feel almost the same way. I've played some of the weekly one-shots. Some are great challenges, others seem to require specific actions to avoid devastating blows from the villains. There were one or two challenges where the best way to play was do nothing for the first few turns because you would lose all your equipment no matter what play you made.

    I hate to say it, but the game can eat up a ton of time and they you get crushed at the end. I guess you need that to have a feeling that your overcame huge odds, but my win ratio has not been good enough.

  9. It seems like a small thing, but one of my biggest issues with SotM is that the enemy gets to go first; sometimes I feel like I am in such a hole before I even get to take a turn that my motivation to play is completely lost.

  10. Tamsk says:

    That's in keeping with the genre, though. Superheroes never initiate the action by preemptively taking the fight to the villain; instead, the bad guy always does something dastardly to establish a cause for the good guys to band together to deal with him. And the game is balanced to allow the heroes to build up and overcome their initial disadvantage.

  11. I get that it works thematically, but when I look at co-op games that I enjoy - even the extremely difficult ones - the threat escalated throughout the game so that you start with a sense that the task is manageable and the games become nail biters as the threat pushes you to the breaking point. SotM takes the approach that you are going to start the game by getting smacked around, but if you’re willing to weather the abuse and stick around for an hour, you might get to the point where you can eke out a win. That model just doesn’t work for me.

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