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Subject: Any tips about the very beginning of the game? rss

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Odd Tatu
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I immensely enjoy One Deck Dungeon, but I am nonetheless concerned with the beginning of the game. I find it much too difficult and usually I die here. If I can pass through the first few encounter, usually it's enough for me to get to the boss and have a good chance at beating it.

I don't understand why the early game should be that difficult compared to the late game. You start with 7 dice. But most enemy encounters have 4 boxes to fill + 1 additional Dungeon box + 1 big box to fill which requires at least two dice. It means you can't afford a single bad throw of the dice or you would take damage since the very beginning. If on top of that you're unlucky and don't reveal a single 2-XP card in your first exploration batch, it's going to be really tough really quickly.

So, what would be the strategy? Reveal every card, then look at the stats or the skill you need most, and then go to battle to take the loot, knowing you're more than likely to sustain damage in the process? I am very curious. I am a bit tired of dying in the two or three first turns, all the more so since, once I have passed this threshold, I usually have a good time with the game and feels the victory within my reach.
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Crazed Survivor
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I mostly agree with the beginning being too hard.
With that said, have you tried to simply take the hit after covering as many boxes as possible?

Not that I'm any good with this game ^^
 
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"What do you mean, I can't pay in Meeples?"
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Risk it for a biscuit on the first turn or two.

If you survive, you're probably at an advantage for the rest of the game. If you die, well there's little invested anyways. The opening encounters are more luck than anything else. Playing too cautiously on the first floor expends cards you can't afford to be losing to the discard pile.

That said, playing with some of the campaign bonuses significantly eases the odds of Rapid Onset Death in the opening turns.
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Odd Tatu
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Thanks for the replies.

Yes, I tried taking hits (not that I had any choice so I endured more than I tried), but then the game can end up very quickly. I forgot to mention that you always need 7 dice to fill up all boxes and have only 7 of them, but you also have to assume that you have an overall color match... If, for instance, you have bad luck with the dice needed to fill an armor box, you will take all hits for a monster and that can easily kill you in the first encounter, even if it's not a big tough monster.

As for the pure luck during the opening encounters, I agree, and truth be told, I never do as I described in the OP: I always risk a fight if it seems manageable. However, last time I played, I lost three times in a row in the first two or three encounters. At some point it stops being fun.

I will consider campaign bonuses, although I can't find any mention of them in the rule book. But it will always feel like cheating a bit and I don't like this.
 
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Crazed Survivor
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Zerbique wrote:
Thanks for the replies.

Yes, I tried taking hits (not that I had any choice so I endured more than I tried), but then the game can end up very quickly. I forgot to mention that you always need 7 dice to fill up all boxes and have only 7 of them, but you also have to assume that you have an overall color match... If, for instance, you have bad luck with the dice needed to fill an armor box, you will take all hits for a monster and that can easily kill you in the first encounter, even if it's not a big tough monster.

As for the pure luck during the opening encounters, I agree, and truth be told, I never do as I described in the OP: I always risk a fight if it seems manageable. However, last time I played, I lost three times in a row in the first two or three encounters. At some point it stops being fun.

I will consider campaign bonuses, although I can't find any mention of them in the rule book. But it will always feel like cheating a bit and I don't like this.


You start having decisions to make when you have two or three skills usually. Before that the game is pretty random.
Do you take skills that can turn your dice into wilds or useful colours, or can up their values?
It ain't always possible, sometimes you're just doomed from the start, but usually you can do the first two levels. Some heroes will also give you wilds for taking hits, or give you wilds against time. The archer and the rogue I found were useful to lower the difficulty of the first encounters, while the warriors can survive through them and make the following ones easier.

I don't play the campaign myself so higher difficulty dungeons I find are very hard.
 
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Odd Tatu
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Thanks for the tips. However I don't think I am taking the wrong decisions when it comes to picking skills since, once I go through the first few encounters, I usually dice my way up to the boss or the third floor at least without too much trouble. So, as soon as I get my first skills or items, everything goes smooth (at least in the Easy dungeons).

My trouble really lies with the very beginning of the game. I'd like to find a way to make it less random and to not have to restart three times out of four. For now it seems that the best option is to play solo 2-players games to get one more dice (even though I throw them separately to play along the rules), since you then start with 8 dice overall.
 
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Crazed Survivor
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I'm with you on that. IMO the early game randomness is what prevents this game from being really good
 
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Derrick C
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The beginning of the game is all about the Black Dice. So I find my strategy varies for each hero.

(Note below I have heroes ranked by how easy I find them at the beginning of the game decision making. It's not my overall rating.)

Warrior is the easiest. Just risk it. If you get hit, you get your dice for the next encounter. And don't be shy about using it. If you don't get hit. Well, there's always next encounter. Don't make yourself get hit for this strategy.

Archer and Rogue are next easiest. choose to do 2 black dice up front. And I usually choose 2 black dice until my first level up at least.

Mage is a little tricky, but if you're disciplined about it, Mage pays off. Flee from your first encounter unless you pull a Magic Peril. Even if you pull something easier, you can always come back to it with two black dice. Do not be afraid to flee with Mage. Think of it like this: The archer wastes tons of time to trigger it's hero ability. Honestly, the Mage isn't much different. I'd actually argue the Mage's is better at the beginning, because you get that dice when you explore.

Paladin is the roughest at beginning decision making. Luckily, the Paladin has Armor. It's hard to describe how I make the decisions on this one. I guess I'd say don't be afraid to flee from a level 4 encounter if you pull it first. But you have to risk almost anything else. You can't be hunting for level 4 encounters.

Hope this helps.
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Odd Tatu
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Thanks! These are very good tips and answer very precisely my initial question.
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Derrick C
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Zerbique wrote:
Thanks! These are very good tips and answer very precisely my initial question.


You're welcome! As for picking skills, definitely value good skills over items. My biggest mistake when I started was doing the opposite. My logic was "I have all these boxes to fill, I need more dice." But if you roll poorly with 9 dice it will be worse than being able to manipulate a few dice on a bad roll with 7. And that's what made me feel it was really random and luck driven when I first played. (It is luck driven, but way less swingy if you have dice manipulation.)

As to what makes a good skill, I think you just need to play a few times and make note of how awesome some are:

Cleave - probably the best if you have a yellow die to spare.
Anything that turns a die to a 6.
Mana font with any spell is a free spell.
Dodge always good unless you are a Paladin.
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Mike Vande Ven Jr.
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DerrickC wrote:
Zerbique wrote:
Thanks! These are very good tips and answer very precisely my initial question.


You're welcome! As for picking skills, definitely value good skills over items. My biggest mistake when I started was doing the opposite. My logic was "I have all these boxes to fill, I need more dice." But if you roll poorly with 9 dice it will be worse than being able to manipulate a few dice on a bad roll with 7. And that's what made me feel it was really random and luck driven when I first played. (It is luck driven, but way less swingy if you have dice manipulation.)

As to what makes a good skill, I think you just need to play a few times and make note of how awesome some are:

Cleave - probably the best if you have a yellow die to spare.
Anything that turns a die to a 6.
Mana font with any spell is a free spell.
Dodge always good unless you are a Paladin.


Generally, skills first is a good idea early. Unless you take on a 4 difficulty, cause the item + extra HP is huge. I hardly ever take skills from those encounters.

Also worth mentioning, you should hardly ever be taking cards to get the potion. If you take on an encounter that provides a potion, you should use it either for XP or the item (~95% of the time). It can be tempting to have a bunch of potions for healing, but if you can instead rack up your XP, that is often much more valuable.
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Odd Tatu
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Thanks! I too tend to favor skills over items. As I said before, I think i was playing the game fairly correctly, since I have no trouble once the first encounters are behind me!

I wasn't making enough use of the heroic feat though. Very nice reminder.
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Pau PaiPai
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First, look at the colour of first level dungeon boxes and choose the hero that is stronger with that colour.

Second, stop thinking in filling all boxes.. When a fight encounter is revealed, ask you "could I fill all but one or 2 boxes", if response is yes, fight. If response is "all but 3 boxes" you should fight too in most cases if there are plenty of boxes with one hourglass only. Consider monster special abilities too.

Third, skills that change the result of a dice by a 6 are a must at first.

Fourth, when you loot, first choose a good skill, second an item, third a mediocre skill, fourth experience. Experience is the less important thing if you're concerned by the real beginning of the game. When you levelup from level1 to level2 you earn an extremely important black dice, but don't sacrifice items or good skills in the very beginning.

Fifth, consider your PJ special skills. As someone said, don't be affraid of taking hits with the warrior, and really, it's a good idea to fly sometimes with mage to win a black dice.
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Zeus Cat

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I also go for it early and just start over if I die or am so seriously wounded that I will die soon anyway. The beginning of the game is a serious weak point, but I still find it very enjoyable.

The campaign mode is in the rulebook and it is not cheating. After playing a few games you can start with a basic skill and even a black die. There is also a skill(?) that allows you to gain a yellow 2, blue 2 or a pink 2 on either a trap or enemy. This helps tremendously at the start of the game; especially for traps. I wonder if the game designers added campaign mode after realizing that losing early was such a serious problem?
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Odd Tatu
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Thanks for these additional tips. They are very good.

I have the first edition rulebook. I found the campaign mode in the rules uploaded on BGG now. I might consider doing this after all.
 
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Crazed Survivor
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In the meantime I've played it 2 players and found it pretty fun.
 
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Odd Tatu
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Two players solo or two players with someone?

I found that this game, although very oriented towards a solo experience, works surprisingly well at two players and offers a really fun co-op experience.
 
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Crazed Survivor
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Zerbique wrote:
Two players solo or two players with someone?

I found that this game, although very oriented towards a solo experience, works surprisingly well at two players and offers a really fun co-op experience.


Two players with someone.
I agree it worked really well. We took some hits early on and the Paladin almost never got her black die as we revealed maybe 1 level 4 encounter, but the rebel was very useful, and by the end of stair 3 we could take down all the encounters without trouble.
We lost against the Dragon because we didn't manage a second pink 5 and couldn't convert anything into a black 5 unfortunately
 
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