Roll dem bones

I’m in the One Deck Dungeon beta and it’s, dare I say, glorious

Mobile, PC/Mac •

Earlier this year my Kickstarted copy of One Deck Dungeon from Asmadi Games arrived and it quickly became my go-to solo game. It’s compact, easy to fit in a backpack, and plays fairly quick while still giving you something to think about each and every turn. Those gents at Handelabra have taken it upon themselves to convert this card game to digital and, just this week, they let me have a look behind the curtain to see how things are going.

They’re going very, very well.

If you’re not familiar with One Deck Dungeon, check out my review of the cardboard version. In short, it’s a one-person dungeon crawler in which the dungeon is a deck of cards and your abilities are tied a handfuls of colored dice. The mechanics are quite simple, with different colored dice needed to cover different values on each monster/trap you encounter, but it’s more than just a random dice chucker. Your character can level up, earn new abilities or find new items, and each and every time you roll the dice, you’ll have ways to manipulate them in your favor. It’s a dice game for the strategy set.

Pick yer poison

The digital version is still in beta, so there are a few rough edges. That said, the rough edges are already fairly smooth and I’ve had no trouble playing several full games of ODD. I’ve lost each and every one of them, so maybe there are issues when you reach the dungeon bosses, but it will be a bit before I figure that out.

One fiddly part of the cardboard edition is keeping track of time. Each turn you’re supposed to automatically discard the top two cards from the deck before you do anything. this leads to many turns of forgetting to do this, remembering later, only to question yourself as to whether you did or did not already spend the time. All that is taken care of automatically by the app, with cards remaining in the deck and discard helpfully shown in an hourglass in the upper right.

What’s behind door #1?

Monsters and traps are revealed via a cool animation of the doors opening and a Legend of Grimrock-esque shot of walking down a hallway to your quarry. It’s completely unnecessary, but a cool touch that adds to the theme immensely.

The app reminds you when you can use your skills by highlighting them at the correct times, as well as highlighting any dice that you can manipulate or still have to throw. In other words, it does exactly what an app should so for a board game port. Considering how well Handelabra did with automating the math in Sentinels of the Multiverse, that they’ve managed ODD’s considerably less confusing conditions isn’t a huge surprise.

Hey, handsome.

One Deck Dungeon is expected to hit Early Release on Steam soon, possibly even later this month. Of course, it’s a beta so anything could go wrong and delay that, but from where I’m sitting it looks like late February is a distinct possibility. The beta I’m in is for Windows and Mac, but they have confirmed that a mobile version is also in the works. One Deck Dungeon will fit right in there with other quick time-killers like Card Crawl and Meteorfall with the exception that One Deck Dungeon has a little more meat on its bones than either of those. We’ll let you know when you can hop on the Early Access bandwagon.

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