Thursday, September 7, 2017

Delve: When Yahtzee meets D&D

Years ago, a friend of mine insisted that I try a game called God Dice at a con that was basically battle Yahtzee with a medieval fantasy theme. All I remember about it after all these years is that it ended up feeling like a slog with too many turns where no one was able to get a dice combination to do anything.

As I have been revisiting Delve the Dice Game, I found myself remembering God Dice. Since I learned it at a convention, I may have learned it wrong and it might actually be a good game. But I found myself thinking that I was having a lot more fun playing Delve than God Dice. (And here, I'd been thinking  I'd be comparing it to Solo Tower Hack)

Delve is a very simple solitaire dungeon crawl that is powered by Yahtzee. You take a small party of adventurers through a series of encounters and each one has a special ability powered by dice combinations.

Delve manages to be remarkably thematic, particularly the adventures that have artwork thrown in. However, what really makes it work is how streamlined and straightforward it is. It's not fiddly or ambiguous. Roll the dice, two rerolls, and the monsters' special abilities are also easy to understand.

Some it's strengths are also some it's weaknesses. Delve is quick and simple but it's also shallow and repetitive. Delve is not gong to replace bigger, more engaging dungeon crawls. Frankly, I don't know if I'd actually buy Delve. On the other hand, I have paid for much worse dungeon crawl games. (Adventurer: Card Game for example)

If Delve still consisted of just the couple of adventures it did when I first tried it out years ago, it wouldn't interest me for more than a handful of plays. How often can you fight the same bunch of monsters over and over again? 

But the system has been expanded by other folks so there are more adventures to use and more characters to use. And that includes a random adventure generator. I don't know how balanced they all are but it's pretty quick to find out.

Delve isn't a perfect game. You have legitimate choices but luck can still easily make the game end in TPK. And, while it does a surprisingly amount of theme, it's still a shallow game. But for a free game with almost no construction cost or time, Delve is better than the sum of its parts.

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