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One Deck Dungeon

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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.

One Deck Dungeon is a 1-2 player cooperative game. With two sets, you can play with 4 players. Once you know your way around the dungeon, a game takes 30-45 minutes. It might take a little longer if you're learning, or a lot shorter if you jump into a pit of spikes... (Safety Tip: Don't do that!)

User Reviews (3)

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Novice Reviewer
I Own a Game!
Explorer - Level 3
14 of 15 gamers found this helpful
“Campaign Mode is the Boss”

One Deck Dungeon (ODD) takes an adventure (or two or four) into a dungeon with the goal to get through three levels and defeat the boss. I play this primarily as a solo game so my references will be to a single hero rather than constantly put hero(s). This is a good cooperative game for 2 players and there are rules for expanding it out to 4 players but I have not played it with more than 2.

How it works
ODD contains oversized player cards, some health markers, a pile of dice, dungeon cards, and a deck.

The cards in the deck are used in several ways, but the most obvious way is as obstacles for your hero to overcome. These obstacles are either perils (traps) or foes. The cards are also used as a timer. Some obstacles will cost you time rather than life. Each time you go through the deck, you have descended a level into the dungeon and the challenges become harder. The deck is also used as rewards for the hero to use to become more powerful. After facing a challenge (usually, win or lose), you take the card and use it as experience, a new skill, or to increase your stats. Each card has a skill, item, or experience reward, so you have to select how you will use the reward when you get it. Harder obstacles will have better rewards.

Your character has several different stats; strength, agility, mana, and health. The number you have of that stat is how many d6 dice you have to roll for that stat. They have colored dice that match the color of that stat. The number of health is how much damage you can take.

Facing a peril card gives the player a choice of two ways to get past a peril. These usually give you a choice between two stats and one usually costs more time than the other. You choose the method best for your character, gather the number of dice you have for that stat, add bonuses that you might have, and roll. If you succeed, you gain the card for the reward. If you fail, you pay the life or time and then gain the card.

When facing foes you roll all your dice. The foe may have a special effect, but all foes have boxes with different target numbers to fill for different stats. A foe may have 3 strength boxes, each with targets of 4. A foe may also have 2 agility boxes. The first is a larger box allowing you to put in as many agility dice as you would like but have the target of 6 and another may be the small box only allowing one die to be placed with the target of 5. Some boxes may require they get filled before you can fill other boxes. Each box has a consequence that will take place if the box is not covered appropriately by dice. These consequences are primarily damage and time. Using acquired skills and character abilities, along with heroic dice that can be used as wilds and some other mechanics, it is a fun puzzle to see how you can best defeat the foe and suffer the least amount of damage.

When you get to the bottom of the deck, you find the stairs to the next level of the dungeon. The dungeon card (there are several to choose from with varying levels of difficulty) shows a unique added rule that applies to all encounters that take place on that level. When you descend to a new level, you reveal the next level challenge that increases the difficulty of the dungeon. When you descend past the 3rd level, you flip the dungeon card over and face the boss of the dungeon. When facing the boss, it will take several attempts while you both take damage.

There are other details about leveling up your character, healing and other potions, and dice manipulation, but that is the main points.

What I think
Timer mechanism – using the cards are a timer has you discarding cards from the deck all the time. This is a thematic approach that says if you are able to accomplish something fast, you will have more time to explore before you have to descend. If you take the safer path, you will have less time to spend on that level (before the difficulty ramps up). This also allows you to only encounter a fraction of the cards each time you play a level. It randomizes the encounters and you don’t know which you will get this time or not.

Hard game – the game gets harder as you descend levels, but you also get stronger the further you go. Even with that, it is a hard game. I tried time after time on the easiest of dungeons and failed all the time. Then I tried the campaign mode. Campaign mode allows you to adjust the starting conditions to tailor the difficulty to your situation. You are rewarded for incremental accomplishments (levels achieved and floors cleared) by checking boxes off a campaign sheet where you can unlock new abilities. This allows you to face harder dungeons with new starting abilities after you have unlocked them in earlier delves. You get more rewards if you choose a more difficult starting condition.

I don’t play solo games much. This is the exception. The campaign mode makes the game for me. It is also an enjoyable two-player game I will play with my son. I don’t care for confrontational games so most 2-player games are out. We both enjoy this one.

One Deck Dungeon has a new version that was kickstarted in May 2017, Forest of Shadows. This new version is an independent version of the game that introduces some new effects. It can be combined with the original ODD. I am particularly looking forward to getting the optional player mat add-on they offered during the campaign.

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Tasty Minstrel Games Fan
AEG fan
Mage Wars fan
9 of 10 gamers found this helpful
“a BIG little”

First Impression: There is so much going on in such a tiny game! The box fits in just one hand, but the adventure is as big as your imagination. I was very impressed with the replay value and depth of such a tiny game.

Components: I love the translucent dice that come with this game. they are also small which some people didn’t like, but I thought they were better small considering the large number them you will be chucking around. The cards were thinner than I would have liked, but it was a kickstarter game, so you run that risk. Artwork was good though.

Gameplay: The game is a dice game at heart, but defeated enemies can be used as trophies in multiple ways. This adds a strategic depth that is sometimes missing in dice throwers (think Dungeon Roll). Playing with 2 players is good because you act as a group instead of downtime as one player or the other does adventurous things.

Cons: I would have really like thicker cardstock for the components. Only 2 players with 1 copy of the base game is a bit of a bummer,, but it is mostly a solo game anyway.

Conclusion: The replay value is high and my friends have enjoyed playing it together. I really enjoy a game that can be played well as both a solo endeavor, and as a grouptivity. This scratches the dungeon crawl itch for me in a 30 minute, small box, glorious way. I look forward to the expansion that is due out March of 2018.

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The Gold Heart
Grand Master Grader
3 of 9 gamers found this helpful
“I have no idea who this is for”

Crack open the box and get ready! You’re in for an exciting hour of reading a manual while trying to figure out how to set this game up properly!

Wait, sorry, I meant excruciating, not exciting. I get those confused sometimes.

The first thing you’ll notice about this game once you dump out the box’s contents is the character cards. This is because they’re the largest things in the box, and not because there is anything interesting or memorable about the characters in any way. While most games these days give an artist room to toss some stylized or eccentric designs at the player, One Deck Dungeon made the bold choice to have all of its heroes look as generic and nondescript as possible. You’re given five teenage girls to choose from, because it’s 201X and apparently the relative gender parity most other games give you wasn’t good enough to eliminate the income gap or whatever and we just have to eliminate male characters entirely as a result. All of the player characters have the same face and are staring into the middle distance with an expression ranging between totally blank and totally blank except for the slightest trace of a smirk. The gear they’re wearing is very, very, very carefully drawn to make sure that there’s no possible way it could be perceived as gendered or sexualized in any way, with the exception of the mage who is scandalously depicted as wearing a skirt, and one above the knee to boot! Heavens to Betsy, what will the Parent’s Television Council say? The monogendered, asexual, soullessly dead-eyed, offensively bland character art style is cribbed straight from Disney princesses, which made me think that I had accidentally grabbed a game that was intended solely and exclusively for little girls.

Then I opened the manual and spent way too much time trying to figure out the mechanics. A plethora of elements are in play with this game: There’s a big deck of cards representing dungeon traps and denizens that you gradually uncover, each one possessing colored and numbered slots which you need to fill with matching dice. The deck serves double duty as a time marker, running out of cards serving as the point at which you must descend to the next level of the dungeon. Each dungeon also has a separate card that you need to spend your dice on during every encounter that represents the generally hazardous dungeon milieu. Overcoming critters or traps turns their cards into a skill, item, or experience, which you then stuff under your character or a separate card for level progress. Then you have tokens representing potions and damage, cards representing unopened doors, and a million bloody dice everywhere, making for a progressively more cluttered and confusing mess the deeper you go.

Once you manage to get all of the components straight, the game turns out to be fairly difficult. It’s the Dark Souls of dice and card games with the word “dungeon” in the title. (We’re still using Dark Souls as the go-to analogy for difficulty, right?) Your character is constantly hemorrhaging health due to bad dice rolls or simply not having access to enough of the right dice in the first place. The time mechanic has cards continually slipping away like grains of sand through an hourglass into the discard pile, putting potentially valuable resources beyond your reach. The biggest hurdle is the perpetual costs of the dungeon eating up dice that could otherwise be spent on individual encounters, and that upkeep starts to feel really unfair after a few rounds of it screwing you over. Then if you get to the boss it’s inexplicably easier than the regular enemies and traps, which I guess I should be thankful for, even though it just feels uneven.

One Deck Dungeon is a puzzling mishmash of elements that don’t fit. The prudish church lady-approved bland character design of the five protagonists seems geared toward six to eight year old girls. The suggested age on the box is fourteen (which seems weirdly high if that’s supposed to be based on content), so that would make it seem as though the expected audience is teenagers. The difficulty level would suggest that the game is geared toward the general roguelike demographic of twentysomethings. The complexity of the gameplay is so high that only adults will have the attention span to figure it out without getting bored and wandering off to play Five Nights at Slenderbirds on their internetphones.

Who was this game intended for?


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