Tag Archives: Dungeons and Dragons

Dice manipulation is the key to One Deck Dungeon’s door

After a handful of attempts, I’ve still not beaten any final boss in One Deck Dungeon, though I got somewhat close against the dragon, better than my time with the yeti, and I’m perfectly okay with that. Each run is completely different and randomized, and luck definitely plays a major factor into how things go, especially when you consider this is a game of mostly dice rolls, and I’m sure I’ll see a flawless run eventually. Until then, I’ll keep kicking open doors, dodging traps and slaying monsters with as much skill as my character sheet allows, trying hard to save all my health potion cubes for the final encounter.

As you’ll recall from my last board game-related post on Friday, I’m getting into solo tabletop gaming. Eventually, I’ll have a post about Fallout: The Board Game, but this is not that post. This one is about One Deck Dungeon, an aptly named roguelike card game, wherein you dive deep into a dungeon for treasures and special skills and build your character up along the way. It’s at times similar to Dungeon Roll and far from it, offering a lot more adventure-affecting decisions each turn. The deck consists of your standard D&D-esque enemies to fight, such as a glooping ooze and a skeleton knight, as well as perils like a spiked pit and boulders, and the character classes don’t stray too far from the traditional, featuring warriors, clerics, and rogues.

Each door card, when flipped over, represents an obstacle to overcome, as well as the potential rewards for doing so. Each turn, after burning a few cards from the dungeon deck to the discard pile, which represents “time” spent, you can reveal what’s behind a locked door and take it on if your heart desires. If you defeat the card, meaning you are still alive and in one piece after all the effects are suffered, you can claim it as one of several things: experience points, an item, a skill, or a new potion type. Each of these affects your character in a specific way, and your current level card determines how many of each you can use at once. For instance, when playing solo and at level 1, you can have one item and two skills. You then tuck the card under the appropriate side of your character card to show off its benefits, such as an extra die to roll or new skill to use in battle. Identifying a new potion not only nets you more options, but also a free potion cube to boot.

Things I’m really liking a whole bunch about One Deck Dungeon are as follows. For one, all the character portraits are women and not sexualized, which is really nice to see in this field where bikini chainmail and mega-muscular dudes run rampant. Layering cards beneath the character sheet and watching the stats and abilities list grow is surprisingly effective and pleasing, reminding me a bit of how Gloom cards went on top of each other, as well as Munchkin weapons and armor sets. Lastly, the manipulation of dice–while at times it can feel somewhat like cheating–is where the most fun shows up, especially as you get more options for re-rolling numbers or exchanging them for other colored dice. Starting off an encounter with a terrible roll and a bunch of ones and walking away from it untouched after covering up every square is an extremely good feeling.

Sometimes there can be a lot of elements to be aware of, and the fights can become overwhelming. For instance, you have to remember that spots on encounter cards with a green shield must be covered first before any others, and the dungeon card has its own spots and effects to be aware of, like discarding all ones rolled each fight or spending extra time to use skills. You must also keep track of the enemy or encounter’s special text, as well as your own skills, and I started using extra white potion cubes as markers for when I used a skill so I wouldn’t accidentally use it twice and therefore cheat my way to victory. Occasionally, I’d goof hard and really want to walk back my actions, but it was almost impossible to remember what dice got traded in and what was originally rolled. Also, as mentioned at the top, the boss fights are pretty tough, and I don’t yet know if I’m the problem–remember, I still haven’t gotten past the pirates in Friday–or if they have been designed to be ultra punishing.

There’s a standalone expansion to One Deck Dungeon out already called Forest of Shadows that adds poison and dice exiling, but I think I’m good with my handful of scenarios and classes for a bit, unless I suddenly become a dice-rolling god, smiting foes and perils with little effort. I’ve also downloaded some extra content from the developer’s website, printing out the Phoenix’s Den and Caliana class cards myself. Evidently, there’s also a Steam version in the works, if that’s your thing; my experience with board games turned into videogames is somewhat limited, having played only a few matches of things like Smash Up, Catan, and Monopoly Plus, though one day I’d really like to check out the digital entertainment version of Lords of Waterdeep. We’ll see. For now, I’ll keep trying to roll six after six after six.

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2018 Game Review Haiku, #6 – Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara

Classic coin-op port
Branching paths, monsters galore
Named my soldier Pault

For 2018, I’m mixing things up by fusing my marvelous artwork and even more amazing skills at writing videogame-themed haikus to give you…a piece of artwork followed by a haiku. I know, it’s crazy. Here’s hoping you like at least one aspect or even both, and I’m curious to see if my drawing style changes at all over three hundred and sixty-five days (no leap year until 2020, kids). Okay, another year of 5–7–5 syllable counts is officially a go.

2016 Game Review Haiku, #54 – Crimson Shroud

2016-gd-games-completed-crimson-shroud-3ds

Grind for better gear
In this cramped, crowded dungeon
Table-top tribute

Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.

2012 Game Review Haiku, #15 – Dungeons & Dragons Daggerdale

A halfling mage walks
Into a dungeon, grinds, grows
Kills dragon, the end

EDIT: Greg Noe submitted a haiku review of his own for Daggerdale, and as a lover of alliteration, I have to share with y’all. See it here:

Dwarf diviner ducks
To dungeon, drudges, deepens
Defeats dragon, done

For all the games I complete in 2012, instead of wasting time writing a review made up of points and thoughts I’ve probably already expressed here in various posts at Grinding Down, I’m instead just going to write a haiku about it. So there.

Achievements of the Week – The Chair-ismatic Expert from Tethyamar Edition

So yeah, I forgot to do Achievements of the Week last week, but I doubt any of y’all noticed. It was Black Friday, after all. The day after one eats too much food and drinks too much wine and sleeps a little too well. Or not at all if you’re into that crazy shopping craziness. But fear no more, for I have recovered and am back to bring you up to speed. Naturally, I’m slipping in Achievements from both that week and this one.

And here we go!

From Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale…


Welcome to Tethyamar (10G): Complete Tutorial – Descent into Darkness

That’s actually all I’ve done so far with this one. Seems like a by-the-books hack-and-slasher, which is fine, really, if a little bland. The cutscenes are nicely animated in that “motion comics” kind of way. The only strangeness is that nobody speaks in the game. Not a soul. All dialogue is written, but accompanied by LEGO-esque grunts and mumbling. It cracks Tara up.

From LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7…


He’s Back! (10G): Complete “A Veiled Threat”


Chair-ismatic (10G): Complete “Out of Retirement”

Just some story-related Achievements. Nothing terribly special, but I like their names nonetheless. For the really not special ones, see my thoughts on Idling and Avid Reader.

From The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim…


Expert (25G): Reach Level 25


Taking Care of Business (10G): Join the Thieves Guild

I’ve joined, but I’m barely accepted yet. Seems like I need to do a lot of miscellaneous jobs, such as shilling nice folk and breaking and entering locked buildings, before Lohgahn can be loved.


Dragonslayer (50G): Complete “Dragonslayer”

Hey, I just wrote about this bad boy!

That’s it, more or less. I already showed off the two I got so far in Beyond Good & Evil HD, and while I did download two more DLC case files for L.A. Noire, I’ve not yet found a moment to play ’em. Kicking the World-Eater’s ass took priority. This weekend is looking good though for some more crime scene investigating.

What have you unlocked recently?

DEMO IMPRESSIONS – Dragon Age II

Sigh. More like Dragon Age II jumps the ogre-shark. Where do I begin?

The demo opens up with a typical RPG choice: who do you want to play as? Dragon Age: Origins offered a solid selection of races (human, dwarf, elf) and classes (warrior, rogue, mage) to pick from. Here, you can either be a male or female warrior/rogue/mage. No more pointy ears or ale-stained beards for you. This is one of the sacrifices BioWare made to streamline the sequel and focus on a tighter narrative.

Anyways, after selecting a female mage, the demo moves into cinematic territory. Varric, a dwarf, is being heatedly questioned by a templar. This woman is trying to hunt down Hawke, the legendary hero of Kirkwall, “the Champion” as she puts it.

Varric is an unreliable narrator, and his retelling of Hawke’s rise to fame is full of embellishing. According to him, Hawke’s story begins with her family fleeing from Lothering, making for Kirkwall. Alas, they are quickly surrounded by Darkspawn, and it’s here that the demo teaches you the basics of combat. The “A” button serves as your primary attack, with the rest of the face buttons designated for assigned abilities, just like in Dragon Age: Origins. Holding the left-trigger brings up a radial menu for more options. However, the most dramatic change has to be combat speed; it’s fast, and when I say fast, I mean Devil May Cry 3 fast. No joke, at one point I thought Hawke was going to knock a Darkspawn into the sky and finish it off with an air combo. So yeah, you fight a couple waves of Darkspawn and feel like you’re playing an entirely different RPG series.

After Hawke rips an ogre apart with her bare hands, Varric is called out for embellishing the story too much. The demo then jumps ahead to a later portion to allow the player to experience combat at a higher level. Here we fight some more Darkspawn and gain new companions. Dialogue is handled via a chat wheel akin to what’s found in the Mass Effect series, and I think it’s a step down. Now it clearly shows when you are being evil or good or sarcastic instead of letting you figure it out for yourself. Let go of my hand, BioWare devs! LET GO!

The demo is more of the same thing over and over again. Fight some Darkspawn, fight some more, talk, fight a boss. The boss ogre at the end killed all my companions fast, and then Hawke fell shortly after. I didn’t bother trying again. In fact, I went and deleted the demo off my Xbox 360, content in knowing that I had seen enough. The changes are too dramatic, and from what I’ve read, party companions are no longer as customizable in terms of armor and weapons. Only Hawke. This is not good. This is basically Dragon Effect II for pigeonholding purposes, and I’m not slamming Mass Effect II here as I know many love it and accept its streamlining as a good thing, but why couldn’t BioWare have the best of both worlds? Y’know, one streamlined sci-fi RPG and one deep, engrossing fantasy RPG for D&D fanatics.

Curse the Maker.

I guess, ultimately, if I want more of what I like about this text-heavy RPG series I’ll have to pick up Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening.

Comparing Dragon Age: Origins with Summoner, Not Completely Crazy

I’m going to do something here that might have folks scratching at their heads, but it has to be done: Dragon Age: Origins and Summoner are pretty similar games. Yes, they’re both third-person RPGs set in traditional epic fantasy worlds, focusing on party-based battles, twisting plotlines, and a constant sense of so much to do. But they also both eerily pace themselves in the same manner.

In 2000’s Summoner, after the introductory prologue to get things started, main character Joseph ends up in Lenele, the City of the Gods. It’s a huge city made up of at least ten areas, and Joseph will spend a good hour or so wandering around, speaking to locals, and picking up a ton of miscellaneous side quests before you can even begin the main one.

In 2009’s Dragon Age: Origins, after the introductory origins story and battle at Ostagar, main character Grey Warden ends up in Lothering, a small village that, while not made up of at least ten areas, offers just as many (or more) side quests before starting the real deal.

At both of these points, I began to feel overwhelmed. The main quest has barely begun, and already I have a honeydew list as long as a broadsword. Suffering from gamer OCD, this is problematic. Anyways, let’s also take a look at plot synopses…

Summoner: Joseph’s goal, achieved through his newly regained powers of summoning, is to defend Medeva from the Orenian invasion and to defeat the evil emperor, Murod, by using rings to summon the ultimate creature.

Dragon Age: Origins: After completing their character’s respective origin story, the player encounters Duncan, leader of an elite group known as the Grey Wardens. Duncan guides the player to their destiny of becoming a Grey Warden, a group who dedicate their lives to the destruction of the Darkspawn, a force of demonic creatures that live underground and have at various points in history swarmed the surface of Thedas in movements known as Blights.

So, one game is about stopping an invasion of evil creatures, and the other game is about…stopping an invasion of evil creatures.

And look, Morrigan’s in both games:


I’m really not trying to harp too much on Dragon Age: Origins. I do like it so far, and it’s definitely going to keep me busy for awhile. Just feels like I’ve played it before, recurring pitfalls and all.

P.S. Woah, I even managed to last this entire post without making the joke that both game’s graphics are interchangeable. Er, whoops. Zing!