A Gnome's Ponderings

I'm a gamer. I love me some games and I like to ramble about games and gaming. So, more than anything else, this blog is a place for me to keep track of my ramblings. If anyone finds this helpful or even (good heavens) insightful, so much the better.
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Such an organized dragon horde!

Lowell Kempf
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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Microbadge: Icehouse fanMicrobadge: Solitaire GamerMicrobadge: Golden ReviewerMicrobadge: Doctor Who fanMicrobadge: PnP / DIY fan
Lockpicks was the game that broke my pause on the Legends of Dsyx series. It’s not like I got bored with the series. Theres just so much out in the PnP play world.

Okay, here’s the usual spiel: it’s a PnP, R&W solitaire. You make it yourself. You roll dice and write stuff down. Only one person gets to play at a time.

The game is about picking the locks in the chests in a dragon’s horde. Because this dragon isn’t like Smaug and just leaves stuff lying around. They are apparently type A and hyper organized.

The actual gameplay is quite simple, particular compared to other Legends of Dsyx games. Each chest is a grid with circles in certain spots. There are four tiers of chests and the higher tiers are more complexity grids.

You have a pool of five dice and each pip type is a different kind of movement. You need to draw a line on the grid with end points in each circle and finally on the lock at the bottom. You then get to roll for a treasure on a table for that particular tier of chest.

One of the most interesting design choices is that all of the dice manipulation comes from the first two tiers of chests. The last two are just points. That gives a mechanical reason to start with the simple chests. Oh and loot is points.

There’s an hour glass track that your check off as you either refresh your dice pool or open chests. But the game doesn’t have to end when you run out of hour glasses. You can keep playing but you automatically lose if you roll a one.

Compared to every other game I’ve played in the series (which is over half of them at this point), Lockpicks feels less intricate than other Legends of Dsyx games. It doesn’t feel as unique. At the same time, I definitely had fun playing it and would cheerfully play it some more. In fact, I might recommend it over other games in the series because it’s particularly easy to explain.

Lockpicks is the least representative of the series in my arrogant opinion. It’s not as thematic as the other games and it’s mechanically simpler. However, it’s mechanically solid. It is fun and accessible.

Roll and Write solitaires are a pretty niche genre. You aren’t going to find your next Agricola there. But Lockpicks was a surprisingly good use of the medium.
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