… Try to Find Treasure and Stay Sober

A review copy of Drinking Quest: Journey into Draught was provided by Jason Anarchy Games.  I would like to thank Jason Anarachy and Jason Anarchy Game for supporting my blog.  All thoughts, comments, and pictures herein are my own. 

A few years ago my friend bought me a copy of Haiku Warrior for my birthday.  She had seen it on Kickstarter and thought it looked like a fun game.  I looked at her kind of funny, put it into a stack, and didn’t think about it for a long time.  Fast forward to a night, long after our story began, I was looking for something different to play, and I once again came upon Haiku Warrior.  Why not, I thought.

What came next was amazing.  It was a complete RPG tabletop experience that was told entirely through Haiku.  The mechanics was fun and engaging and the experience left me wanting more.  Why had I neglected this game for so long?  I immediately reached out to the creator of Haiku Warrior Jason Anarchy, looking for more.  He then told me about his Drinking Quest series, on which Haiku Warrior was based.  The Drinking Quest series has four games out thus far, with one still to come this summer.

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Jason generously sent me a review copy of Drinking Quest: Journey into Draught published by Jason Anarchy Games for this review.  Drinking Quest arrived just in time for our Spring Break last week, and I was able to dice right into it.  Let me start out by saying, if you plan to play this game, please do so responsibly, as the title suggests, there is drinking involved, although there is a non drinking variant called the “Bladder Buster”.  I played this game with my friend, visiting from out of town, so no solo play just yet, we’ll get to that at the end, after all, this is a solo game blog!!

The game includes 6 quests, 4 heroes to choose from, a nice cloth map, 3 polyhedral dice, a pad of character sheets, and a plastic coin (otherwise known as The Bitterness Coin), all squeezed into a tiny, travel-sized box.  Being familiar with Haiku Warrior I was able to dive right into this game.  After you pick your adventurer, with names like Daiquirin, Bartlebut, Chuglox, and Annoying Sidekick, and grabbing their signature drink, you are ready to start your adventure.  Two of the quests in the box are optional, the Morning Tea Quest, and Kega Man Returns, can be added to the game, or returned to the box. The remaining 4 quests are shuffled into 4 separate stacks based on their Quest number.  Players will work their way through these four stacks either battling the monsters they encounter, or engaging in a skill test, or Saving Throw, for events that occur.  If a player ever loses all of their life they are required to chug their drink to come back to life, starting at the next round, with full hit points.  Battles are based on dice rolls, your weapon denotes which of the 3 dice you may roll, a 4 sided, 6 sided, or 8 sided die.  Before drawing a new quest card a hero may decide to visit the shop, where they can buy upgraded weapons, armor, and even healing items, spending the gold earned by defeating monsters.  The game ends when all decks have been emptied.  The hero with the most experience points is declared the winner.  But, let’s be honest, at this point we’re all buzzed, so aren’t we all winners?

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The game is a lot of fun to play with friends, especially when you get into the later rounds, and there has been much chugging.  The cards are all done in a tongue in cheek play on traditional dungeon crawlers.  The flavor text is right inline with the humor, at times, making me actually laugh out loud, and not just because I chugged a lot either.  (In a typical game, we only really wound up chugging 2-3 times.  This is not your typical, college, get sloppy drunk, kind of drinking game.)  The components are well done, the inclusion of the cloth map and the plastic coin were a nice touch.  The cards were sturdy and are holding up pretty well so far, although I might recommend sleeving if you play with some sloppy drinkers, protect those cards people!

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My friends and I played this game a few times during Spring Break, and we had a blast.  This is definitely a game to bring along on trips, and will be making it to our annual beach vacation this year.  We played the “Bladder Buster” variant, where you chug glasses or water rather than alcohol, and still had a lot of fun with it.  Rolling the die to see how the monster will attack as well as the effectiveness of your attack can be nail biting, but so much fun.  I love the choices the shop gives you, do you spend your money on a new weapon, or buy some armor?  Money can be hard to come by, you need to spend it wisely.  New weapons can equate to a new die, upgrading your D4 to a D6, or even a D8.  The armor can add defense to your chartacter, or add to your starting HP, so the choices can be the difference between passing out drunk, or finishing the game with a good buzz.  🙂  The more people you have to play, the better.  But, like I said, this is a solo blog, so…

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The game does not have a solo variant, but I had so much fun playing this with my friends, even without the drinking, that I incorporated rules from Haiku Warrior to make it so.  The solo rules for Haiku Warrior states the hero plays four cards from each quest before advancing.  You win the game if you have collected 10 souls.  For Drinking Quest, I applied the same rules, changing the souls requirement for 30 XP.  This has made for a challenging experience and one that I have played several times solo.  I like the style of game play, the humor, and of course the dungeon theme.  This game ticks most of the boxes for me, and one that I will bring out again during my next gaming get-together.

Thanks for joining me this week as I singlehandedly sought to stay sober!  Join me next time, follow me on Twitter, and please, feel free to leave a comment below!

Don’t forget, once I hit 200 followers on Twitter, I will have a giveaway of a copy of Mint Tin Pirates!!

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Come Play with E! Too Many Bones Edition

I know, I know, I already did a review for this game on my Singlehandedly page.  But, something happened recently, something amazing, so listen here.  I was playing Too Many Bones, published by Chip Theory Games, designed by Josh & Adam Carlson, when my daughter saw me.  She was instantly attracted by all the colorful dice, the chips, and basically everything else that originally brought me to the game.  She asked me to teach her to play.  Now, don’t get me wrong, this is a complex game, each die does something different, and without basic reading skills it is almost impossible to play.  So, of course, I pulled her up a chair, and said “Yes”!

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Emmy wanted to be Nugget, for two reasons, Nugget is a female, and her dice are purple.  There was no way that she was going for anyone else.  Luck for me, she is also one of the easier Gearlocs to play.  We set up a solo game, allowing me to concentrate on helping her, against Nom.  I’m going to admit right here, we altered the rules to make it easier, and more accessible to her, especially when it was time to face the Tyrant.  To begin she played the “Greenhorn Adventurer”.  This play mode allows the player to add 2 HP chips to their base stat, bringing Nugget to 6, and to gain 1 training point before Day One.  This allowed Emmy to start out with a bit of a leg up.  She loved all the decisions that this game brought her.  At this age, she loves to be in charge of things, and so a game that allows her to be in charge of the play is a big plus.  Each day brought new decisions on which path to take, each training point allowed her to decide what to spend it on, and with Nugget’s innate ability of Treasure Seeker, she was even able to decide which loot to choose.  This game was entire based on her choices, and although she asked my opinion from time to time, she was in charge.  She loved that!

 

Battles were not easy for her, and she lost a few, but for the most part she battled for real. I used the keywords that were on the chips, and they all came in at full health except when a card denoted otherwise.  Whenever a card offered an option to lower the health of a baddie I encouraged her to choose that option.  She made it to Nom, and the battle was on.  Nugget is a tough choice for Nom, especially when Emmy was choosing the dice, and was reluctant to add more attack dice to her pool.  She did have Nugget’s Dagger and was able to inflict bleed on him early, that pretty much negated his “recover 1”.  This is where the modifications came into play.  I gave her infinite stones, allowing her to be a ranged character.  This gave her the opportunity to hit Nom every time, and not have to worry about moving back to him after he clubbed her across the universe.  It still made for a long battle, but in the end she was victorious.  Emmy hopped off of her chair and ran through the house, arms raised in the air, screaming “I beat Nom!  I beat Nom!”  It felt like a real accomplishment for her, and she was pumped!

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Later that same day she asked to play again!  She learned a bit from her previous play and made some really smart adjustments (more attack dice, anyone?), thinking of the long game now.  She was once again victorious, and was equally excited.  We packed up the game, and later that night I heard her playing in her room, she was Nugget and she was battling Nom.  Her imagination was on fire!

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I should mention this was not Emmy’s first foray into Daelore.  During the last Kickstarter, for Undertow, Chip Theory Games did a really cool interactive story throughout the campaign.  They would post little short chapters of an ongoing story and ask the backers for a “choose your own ending” type of decision.  These choice then altered the next part of the story, but sometimes even unlocked things in the game!  While this was happening I would read the stories to Emmy and allow her to make the decision for me.  She would then wait anxiously for the next chapter to see if what she chose was used.  It became a little ritual we would do every day before school.  If she got ready in time, we could read the story.  It was phenomenal.  When the campaign was over she was sad, so I dug out my PDF of the Liberation Logbook and started to read through that with her.  At this time she asked me to teach her to play the game, that did not go so well.  But the story?  The story stayed with her.  As she was playing Nugget vs. Nom in her room I heard her incorporate Duster into the story, and although she mixed up Nugget and Boomer (NO SPOILERS) in her tale, she still remembered most of it!

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Too Many Bones has become more than just a board game to my daughter, it has become an actual world that she has immersed herself in.  It has sparked her imagination, and made her play as a hero battling the evil Tyrants.  She was so inspired that she created her own Gearloc, named Dicea.  She even made up play for her, Dicea is a Gearloc that can mimic other Gearlocs in her party, and even some Baddie traits.  She has been playing her on top of an existing chip using the chip she drew.   She has marked her little calendar with the Undertow release date (possibly June), and is counting down to when she can play as Duster.  In the meantime, she has made up her own tales about these characters, and I have now assumed the role as Duster, and we are now both running around the house like lunatics.  It is a rare game that continues to be with you once you have packed the components away, but this is definitely one of those for my daughter, and I couldn’t be happier, or more proud!

 

Emmy’s Take:

“I don’t like Too Many Bones.  I love Too Many Bones!  I love to be Nugget, and my favorite die is my bleed die (Nugget’s Dagger).  I love it because it can bleed people.  It goes to a 1 or 2.  I like fighting Mulmesh.  I want to go play now, so bye, bye friends.”

Too Many Bones gets a solid:     img_54531.jpg

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… Seek Revenge

Please note all uncredited photos were taken by me, and are of the original Print and Play files.  Additional pictures are property of Altema Games and are used here with permission, are of the latest version of the game.

Having a limited gaming budget often forces me to think outside of the box when trying out new games.  In this case way out of the box, like no box at all.  Of course I am talking about Print and Plays.  If you do not know what a Print and Play is, you don’t know what you are missing.  Some companies, like Button Shy Games, offer their games with a Print and Play option at a lower price point.  Many Kickstarters offer Print and Plays as a way to “try before you buy”, or even making premium PnP’s available after the campaign, giving backer a chance to play the game before the hard copy reaches their doorsteps.  Others start out as a PnP and morph into something bigger.  I have a lot of PnP’s in my collection, but there is one that has always stood out for me, Unbroken.  In my opinion, this game has been screaming for the full box treatment, and now it is finally getting that chance!




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Unbroken, designed by Artem Safarov, and soon to be published by Altema Games, is a game designed as a solo experience, right from the start.  This is a bit of an oddity in the gaming world.  Many games are designed as multiplayer experiences with solo modes added on later.  Unbroken started off as a single player experience, and has stayed true to that.  The purely solo experience is one of the first reasons I was attracted to this offering.  Once I saw the files, and played through the game a few times, I was hooked.

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Picture courtesy of Altema Games- used with permission

Unbroken is a dungeon crawler at heart, but not one with a hero looking for gold and glory.  No, in this game you are looking for revenge.  Your character is the lone survivor of an adventuring party, a party that went deadly wrong.  Battered, bruised, near death yourself, you try to find your way out of the depths of the dungeon you find yourself in, while getting a little revenge on the monsters along the way.  This game will test you at every turn, making choices at every turn, some for the good, and some for the bad.  You may get ambushed by a monster, or get the drop on it with a bit of trickery.  Will you have enough food to make it through the day, or even enough energy, or as this game calls it, effort, to make it to the end of this encounter?  Should you trade your precious resources to craft better weapons?  Or do you rest, getting ready for what comes next?  Did you beat the monster but forgot to plan enough food for the recover afterwards, well guess what, you still lose!  The choices are endless, and so much fun to make.  There are times when you kick yourself for trading food to make a knife, only to starve later on.  There are times when you pat yourself on the back for getting just the right card at just the right time!

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Picture courtesy of Altema Games- used with permission

There is a lot of content in this game.  The file contains 4 characters to choose from, each with their own special abilities.  There is no shortage of bad guys waiting to crush you either, 24 to choose from spread out over 4 different levels of the dungeon.  There are trackers for everything, from health, to even the effort that you must expend to take your actions. The effort comes in three different varieties small, medium, and large, and can be used to power up moves in battle, or used outside of battle to complete actions.  This was a mechanic that I am not used to seeing, but fits so perfectly with this theme.  There are 88 cards providing the tough choices I mentioned earlier.  These cards are used during the adventuring phase, and allow you to prepare for the upcoming battle.  This game tracks the time that you have spent doing various actions, everything you do takes time, so you must manage it wisely.  Waste too much of it, and you will find yourself facing a monster that you are definitely not prepared for!  Some actions will take more time than others.  There are also 24 skill cards, often given as a reward for beating a monster, and may just give you the boost that you need to overcome a difficult obstacle.  All of this content is offered in a PnP, but wait!  There’s more!  The art on the characters and monsters are amazing, and not what I am used to seeing on a free download.

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Picture courtesy of Altema Games- used with permission

Unbroken is so complex that I often spend so much (real) time thinking over the choices, that I wind up overthinking, and making the wrong one.  This game is also very simplistic at it’s core.  Wait, I just said it was complex, how can it be simplistic too?  To be honest, I’m not sure, but somehow Artem has managed to do it!  The monster battles have an epic feel, with all your preparations leading up to it, but it also comes down to the roll of a die to see what damage, if any, the monster inflicts upon you.  Simple, right?  Your attacks can use effort, cunning, or even your own food to help you in battle, but if you use to much, you cannot continue.  Complex, right?  In between monster battles you character travels, drawing two card from an encounter deck.  You must choose one of these cards.  These are the choices that can make or break your adventurer.  Unbroken gives the player so much control over what happens to their characters, helping you to immerse yourself in the experience.  The more you play this game, the better you get at it.  Learning what you really need, as opposed to what you thought you might need.  It’s a getting to know the characters experience.  This entire experience is a quick one too!  A normal game plays in 15-30 minutes, depending on how well you plan.

I am very excited that Unbroken is getting the full game treatment.  The pictures I have seen from the Kickstarter project are amazing, and that is saying a lot.  I did not think it was possible to make Unbroken any more amazing than it was, then I saw the new art and layouts, and was astonished.  This PnP has been in my collection for some time, it has seen many plays, and will probably see many more.  I cannot wait to get a retail copy of this game, with all the shiny bells and whistles.  If your interested in backing this game you can find it here.  My limited gaming budget will definitely make room for this worthy addition to my collection!

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Picture courtesy of Altema Games- used with permission

Thanks for joining me this week as I singlehandedly sought revenge!  Join me next time, follow me on Twitter, and please, feel free to leave a comment below!

Don’t forget, once I hit 200 followers on Twitter, I will have a giveaway of a copy of Mint Tin Pirates!!

… Terraform Mars!

I’m not usually one who boards the hype train.  I prefer to judge things that speak to me, as I outlined in my last blog, it can be theme, components (oh Chip Theory, how do I love thee…), or even designers.  I belong to a lot of board game groups, and see tons of games discussed daily there.  One game I have seen over and over and over again is Terraforming Mars.  It has been pretty hot on the internet, and I was doing really well avoiding it.  Then I saw one of my YouTubers do a playthrough, actually a ton of playthroughs.  To be precise, Boardgames with Niramas, has done 35 videos on it.  So I watched, and watched, and watched… and then I ordered it.

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Terraforming Mars, published by FryxGames and Stronghold Games, is a game that did not disappoint.  I read a lot about it prior to pulling the trigger, despite what Niramas said.  I read all the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I read about what many considered sub par components, and I will admit some of the complaints had a point.  Many of my metallic cubes were chipped, the player boards are thin and flimsy, the cards are not linen finish.  But, and here’s a big but, especially if you remember my love of components, these things do not factor into the fun of the game and I am glad that they did not hold me back from getting it.  Honestly, for the amount that I paid for this game, the components seem right on track.  In this game, and it pains me to say this, it doesn’t really matter!

The game requires that you satisfy three different objectives to win the game in solo mode, or to trigger the end of game in the multiplayer game.  These objectives are to raise the temperature to +8 degrees Celsius, place 9 ocean tiles, and increase the oxygen level to 14%.  These objectives are accomplished by placing greenery tiles to increase oxygen, producing heat to increase the temperature, and playing cards to place ocean tiles.  Each of these actions can be performed by purchasing standard projects as well.  Cards will help you by increasing plant, heat, energy, mega credit (the games currency), steel, and titanium production.  Playing the right card, at the right time, and having the credits to pay for it, is critical to success in this game, so there is a bit of a luck factor.  There have been many games where I got the right card at the wrong time, either too early or too late in the game.  Building the right engine to fuel your plans feel great when you can really pull it off, and it makes for a very satisfying gaming experience.

The gameplay for solo gaming is not easy.  I’ve played through this game several times now and my win rate is really low, like abysmally low, okay, I’ve only won once.  And I still keep coming back.  The choices that I have to make in such a short amount of time are epic.  Do I try to get more heat production to raise the temperature on Mars, or do I focus on plant production, because, well, we need to breathe too!  Maybe I need to get some oceans out there, or maybe we need to mine some titanium or steel to mitigate some of the costs of this entire endeavor!  Arghhhhhh!  These are the tough choices you have to make, along with resource management.  Adding new cards to your hand can be costly (3 credits each) and there are times when I want all 4 cards offered to me.  Buying those then depletes the money I can spend to actually PLAY those cards.  The choices are endless, and make for a very tense, fun, exciting experience.  It also ensures that there is lots of replayability.  Add this to the 12 different corporations you can choose to play as, and this game has endless possibilities.  The set up and tear down time is really quick, and gets you into the game fast.  Shuffling the 200+ cards in the games takes more time than anything, but more cards means more replayability in my eyes, so I am okay with that!  To help you understand the magnitude of the number of cards in the game, I have one promo card, Self Replicating Robots, and I have only seen this card come in in two of the games that I have played.  Two expansions add more content to the game, such as additional objectives, more corporations, and of course, more cards!

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We touched upon the components earlier, but let’s get a bit more in depth here.  The cubes used as the currency in the game, as I mentioned are plastic with a metallic coating.  They come in three different sizes to help denote the different denominations. I liked that they did this, it makes calculating your credits quick and easy.  I was a bit bummed that almost all of my gold pieces had a chip missing in the corner, but during the game it is easily overlooked.  The cardboard pieces are really well done, and I love that the city and greenery tiles are double sided making less pieces for me to store.  The game board is nice and sturdy, and I love that the board for the Hellas & Elysium expansion, like the city/greenery tiles, are double sided.  The cards are a bit thinner than I am used to, but once they are sleeved it makes no difference.  The one biggie for me was the player boards.  They are very thin, but what really bugs me, is how easy it is to bump the board, or even the table and move your counters.  This has made a big difference in the games that I have played, both solo, and multiplayer.  There are a lot of people out there making overlays for this game to combat this problem including BoardGameBoost, and I’m looking into adding that to my copy.

I’ve boarded this hype train so hard that I even have Venus Next and the Hellas & Elysium expansions on their way.  Recently Stronghold and FryxGames announced another addition to the line called Terraforming Mars: Prelude.  I’m pretty excited about this and look forward to seeing more about it as the release date gets closer.   Until then I think I have plenty of content to hold me over!

I am planning on doing a playthrough of all the corporations in the base game, and possibly the expansion as well.  Comment below if you’d like to see these playthrough sessions posted on here, highlighting what I like and/or didn’t like about each of the corporations.

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Thanks for joining me this week as I singlehandedly terraformed Mars!  Join me next time, follow me on Twitter, and please, feel free to leave a comment below!

Don’t forget, once I hit 200 followers on Twitter, I will have a giveaway of a copy of Mint Tin Pirates!!

Come Play with E! One Deck Dungeon Edition

The other day Emmy and I were driving home from school when she asked me to play a game when we got home.  Now this is nothing new, it happens quite frequently.  And frequently I ask her which game she would like to play and she can tell me.  There are times, however, when she cannot remember the name of the game she wants to play, and that is when the fun begins.  She tried to describe it to me, and I try to figure out what the heck she is talking about.  This was one of those days.

E: “Mommy, I want to play that game that takes time”

Me: “Baby, they all take time.”

E: “No, not time, TIME.  You know the one.  With all the girls.  And the ooze.”

Me: “Oooooh, One Deck Dungeon!”

Yep, One Deck Dungeon, published by Asmadi Games, and designed by Chris Cieslik, the one that takes TIME, and has all the girls.  Now here’s the thing.  When I was trying to figure out what she was talking about it was the “all the girls” that brought it together for me.  Do you know why?  It is the only game that I own that can be described that way.  The other day I got a new game in and she asked me if she could play the girl.  I explained this new game did not have characters, if she played with me, she would just be herself.  It got me to thinking about the games that I play with Emmy and what character choices she makes in them.

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Emmy always chooses the female characters, or the pink or purple wooden bits.  She does not like when they are not included in the game.  If you are a game designer, and you are reading this, these things matter to her, and to the thousands of other little girls out there who want to identify with the characters in the games you are producing.  Girls want to see themselves in these fictional worlds you are creating.  There are meeple colors outside the traditional red, blue, yellow and green.  A pink or purple can replace these easily.  It is one of the reasons she first wanted to play Agricola.  They have purple farmers, and that was all she needed to see to be interested.

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I remember when One Deck Dungeon was on Kickstarter last year.  I read a few articles where the creator, Chris Cieslik came under heavy fire for making the game all female.  He got tons of internet posts flaming him for not including male characters.  Chris held fast to his stance though, and both of his games, One Deck Dungeon, and One Deck Dungeon: Forest of Shadows, have only female characters.  Unfortunately this should not define the game, but for many it does.  Many people threatened to pull their funding unless he changed, but folks, he stood fast.  This decision, may have lost him a few backers, but it has made all the difference to my little girl.

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Enough of all of that, how does it play?  Outside of the character selection the game play is easily accessible to her.  She loves the different colored dice, and the different baddies she can face.  It should be no surprise to anyone, anywhere, that her favorite is Glooping Ooze.  Now, let me say this, she has never won a game, but for her it is more the journey than the destination in this game.  She loves assembling her dice army, and seeing what is lurking behind the next door.  She loves figuring out which dice to use, and what hits to take.  She doesn’t always make the best choices, but she loves it anyway.  The more she plays the further in the quest she is getting, and she has made it to the big baddie at the end a few times.  It ends ugly from there, but it also ends with her smiling and asking to play again.  The game appeals to her, and allows her to be in charge and make decisions on her own.  As a bonus it sharpens her math skills as she adds the dice to see if they can satisfy the requirements on the cards.  To date, she has played this game more than I have!  She plays solo, and I make sure that she uses all of her time, and other minute rule housekeeping that she may need help with.  Overall, she can play this on her own, and has even taught others how to play.

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After playing these games she takes these worlds into her own long after the game has ended.  After playing One Deck Dungeon she was running around my house as a warrior, a ranger, a cleric, or a dwarf.  She set up her stuffed friends in different dungeons, or rooms, around my house.  She ran around defeating them, and every now and then dropping little red cubes, or HP, as she did so.  Her imagination was fueled and she was loving it.  Designers, it matters!

Emmy’s Take:

“One Deck Dungeon is good, you guys.  I like it because it is about monsters and monsters are my favorite thing.  I like that I have to fight them.  All the characters are girls, and I’m a girl, and all the characters are not usually girls!  To play, you roll dice, and there are pink dice, my friends!  After you roll the dice you see if you defeat the monsters or not.  And that, my friends, is how you play One Deck Dungeon!  Bye everybody, I’ll see you again soon, friends!”

I haven’t said this enough, it matters, straight from her, it matters!!

One Deck Dungeon gets a solid:     img_54531.jpg

Did you like what you read here?  Please follow us both here and on Twitter to receive the most up to date posting information as well as other related and unrelated posts!

Don’t forget, once I hit 200 followers on Twitter, I will have a giveaway of a copy of Mint Tin Pirates!!