Dicey Dungeons

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

“In this […] [deck-building] roguelike […] [you will] 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 overcomplex 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 ten to fifteen minutes you will have learned every basic fact you need to win a round. 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 manner and use dice-throwing mechanics to do so, their whole play style is completely different from each other.

For example, the robot uses its central processing unit 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 one for the next combat. 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 set of rules; sometimes the status effects work differently, in another episode you start with a specific weapons or abilities, then the behavior of the dice changes et cetera. There is so much love for details and balancing in the campaign design, it is absolutely 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 twelve life points. As my character just had a couple of life points left, I thought: “Oh, that is great! I can do that and still attack. Everything will be fine!”

What I did not know back then was that the transformation is not a temporary manner. My thief die became a bear die and also all of their abilities vanished, replaced by the abilities of the beast. And so I won one of the episodes as a bear die with my bear crawls and bear growl. 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 alchemist. Love for details – that is an attribute that I as a player absolutely adore. This game just has it all. [PLAY]