One Deck Dungeon is a lightweight, coop, dungeon-crawling, dice-rolling game for 1-2 players that lets you get all the fun of adventure RPG board games without the hours of setup and tomes of rules to pore through for answers.
It features a fun campaign system that lets you improve your chosen hero over the course of multiple adventures with rogue-lite style advancement for your characters that makes every run feel satisfying, even if you lose. As you complete floors and defeat bosses, you’ll earn checkmarks that you can use to add additional starting powers to defeat ever-tougher challenges… or you can just go straight into the hard content and suffer the painful consequences of your decision.
How easy is One Deck Dungeon to learn and play?
One Deck Dungeon is extremely easy to pick up, but the game itself is extremely challenging. It strikes a good balance between low complexity and high difficulty, with the main focus being on building your pools of coloured dice which have to reach target numbers to overcome challenges. This means there’s naturally a heavy luck aspect, which may put some players off, but generally it feels extremely satisfying to manipulate your pool of dice to maximize your odds of passing tough challenges. If you leave everything to chance, you will probably fail and die in a brutal fashion, but even if you run the numbers and work hard, you’re still somewhat subject to the fickle winds of fate. You can’t think your way out of a bad roll of a die!
Every trap you pass and monster you defeat benefits you in some way depending on where on your character you attach that card – whether it’s as a new power, a piece of equipment to bolster your stats, or as experience to boost you to the next level. While the game has a limited number of pieces (we’re using a single deck after all), it makes the absolute maximum usage of those tools in extremely clever ways, from the cards you defeat becoming tools for your advancement, to the dice you roll tracking your progress directly against your target rolls. It’s those decisions on how to use those pieces that becomes the challenge – do you save the number you rolled for later? Do you take the creature as experience? What advantages will you gain in the short-term versus the longer game? The game doesn’t get in the way of that choice, and making the most out of the hand you’re dealt and the dice you roll is the soul of the game.
How much does One Deck Dungeon cost? Is it worth it the price?
At the time of writing, One Deck Dungeon is a paltry £18.49 on our board game affiliate retailer, Zatu Games, with an RRP of £24.99. This is an absolute steal – the game has a ton of replay value, is extremely fun and we’ve gotten multiple complete campaigns under our belts without feeling like the game is completely tapped out.
There’s a broad range of characters and abilities, the cards you encounter fundamentally shape your build options, and most importantly the game is incredibly quick to set up and compact, making it a fantastic choice for people who want to travel with a good game to play on the go.
Also worth picking up is the standalone expansion, Forest of Shadows, which introduces a few new mechanics, a handful of new characters, and new dungeons to delve. While you can play Forest of Shadows as a standalone experience, we definitely recommend getting started with the original game first.
What games are similar to it? Who might enjoy it?
- The Lost Expedition is a coop card game with a very similar feeling to One Deck Dungeon in that it’s about making the best out of what you’ve got available to you as a group
- While we’re not the hugest fans of it ourselves, a lot of people we’ve spoken to who enjoy the dice rolling mechanics of One Deck Dungeon also enjoy the brutal eldritch challenge that is Elder Sign
- Clank! is an iconic deck-building dungeon crawler that people looking for a more competitive challenge in a similar vein are sure to enjoy – We certainly did, and we don’t even like competitive games!