Dicey Dungeons

“Dicey Dungeons” by Terry Cavanagh, Marlowe Dobbe, Niamh Houston, Justo Delgado Baudí, Dana Trebella & Holly Gramazio.

“In this […] deckbuilding roguelike […] you’ll fight monsters, find better loot, and level up your heroes as you work together to take down the Goddess of Fortune, Lady Luck herself. Balance your carefully planned strategies against the unknown of a dice roll. Play as six different characters, each with their own unique play styles and abilities.”

Quite often, complex games have an also over-complex designed interface. There are too many buttons, dozens of tabs, a bunch of menu points – all in all, there is just too much of everything. But “Dicey Dungeons” is different. Everything feels very intuitive, the user interface is designed in a clear, but also cheerful way and after playing it for about 10 to 15 minutes you’ll have learned every basic thing you need to beat the game. It is a perfect game, at least for me.

Screenshot of "Dicey Dungeons"

In “Dicey Dungeons” there are six different figures, which get transformed into a group of cute dice. Each cube represents an own type of class: The warrior, the thief, the robot, the inventor, the witch and the jester. While all of them fight against snuffy hedgehogs, grumpy drayd teens, ripped space marines and many other creatures in a turn-based way and use dice-throwing mechanics to do so, their whole play style is completely different from each other. And I mean completely.

For example, the robot uses its CPU to produce new dice numbers, but when it overloads while doing so, it will lose its abilities for the turn. Meanwhile the witch has a little spellboard, which she must modify while fighting by sacrificing a die, which has the same number as a spell. The inventor gives up one of their weapons after each battle, so that they can create a new power weapon for the next one. The jester builds decks, the warrior attacks with brute force and the thief… Well, I suppose you know.

Screenshot of "Dicey Dungeons"

All six characters also got a special campaign just for themselves, composed of six so-called episodes. Each episode works with another kind of rules set: Sometimes the status effects work differently, in another episode you start with a specific set of weapons or abilities or the behavior of the dice changes or… I could just go on and on. There is so much love for details and balancing in the campaign design, it’s unbelievable.

Screenshot of "Dicey Dungeons"

Exactly this love makes “Dicey Dungeons” so special to me. You can discover dozens of little things in each playthrough. Just let me tell you about one run I did with the thief: I had a battle against an alchemist going on. Suddenly, I was able to use one of the alchemist’s abilities, where the alchemist would transform into a bear and restore 12 life points. As my thief just had a couple of life points left, I thought: ‘Oh, that’s great! I can do that and still attack and everything will be fine!’

What I didn’t know was that the transformation is not a temporary thing. My thief die became a bear die and also all of their abilities went away for the abilities of the bear. And so I won one of the episodes as a bear die with my bear crawls and bear growl, roarrr! But what was even better was the fact that all the shopkeepers in the dungeon had a changed greeting: They thought that I am the alchemists. Love for details, people! That’s a thing I as a player absolutely adore. This game just has it all.