iPad, Android Tablet, PC/Mac/Linux •
Not to get all Galadriel on you, but the world has changed. I can feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I sense it on the App Store. Earlier this week saw the actual, zeroes-and-ones release of a digital board game, Among the Stars. Today we learned that another much-anticipated game is coming to life next week. If the headline didn’t give it away, it’s One Deck Dungeon from Handelabra.
One Deck Dungeon is a solitaire rougelike originally created in cardboard by Asmadi Games. You play as one or two heroes trying to make their way to the big bad at the bottom of the dungeon, represented here by a deck of cards. Get through the deck three times and it’s off to fight the boss. Beat the boss and it’s fame and glory.
One Deck Dungeon handles character stats via colored dice. Red is for agility, Yellow for strength, and blue for magic. There are also black dice, which are wild and are always appreciated. As you select either traps or monsters from the deck, you can see what it will take to defeat them, and what happens if you don’t. Basically, you’ll roll dice and cover up as many of the spots on the baddie’s card and take the penalty of whatever is left open at turn’s end. Each card has three different treasures which you can select from regardless of whether you covered all the spots or not. As long as you’re still breathing, you beat the critter and get its loot.
It’s a small game that is perfect for traveling (I brought mine along in my backpack) as it plays quick and it’s hard. The dice mechanism is a fun puzzle each and every turn, and there are enough choices of how to improve your character or what special abilities to use each turn that you won’t feel like you’re being taken along for a ride. You’re definitely in control, which makes it so much more frustrating when you continually lose.
The digital version has everything that its cardboard cousin has and more. Well, maybe not more, but it’s awfully nice to not have to track everything yourself. The game isn’t that fiddly, but having spaces highlighted when you have the proper dice, or being reminded to grab a black die make life easier. The game also has Hero Progression, which allows you to run a campaign of sorts, adding special abilities to heroes that carry over from game-to-game. I haven’t tried this yet (I need to win at least one regular game first, I think), but it seems like a cool idea.
The app has both single-hero and dual-hero mode, where you control either one or two heroes on a run. The hero’s abilities change if they’re alone or part of a team, so make sure you read what each hero can do before you assume they still have that one power you were in love with…only to find out they don’t. The app is currently solitaire only, and it is a fantastic solitaire game, but Handelabra has also mentioned that online multiplayer is something that could possibly be added some time after release. This is how Sentinels of the Multiverse launched, too, and that has become one of the best online multiplayer ports out there. Lets keep our fingers crossed.
One Deck Dungeon is releasing for PC/Mac/Linux on Steam next week on May 18. It will be coming to iPad and Android tablets five days after that, on May 23. The price will be $10 on all platforms which should have them howling over at BGG.