By Mento 1 Comments
04/05/12 - Game #4
The source: Thanksgiving Sale 2011
The pre-amble: Bilbo Baggins. Snow White. Willy Wonka. Where would these people be without dwarves around to do all their hard work? Cold in the ground, I'd wager. Or, I dunno, slightly more self-sufficient. Delve Deeper is a turn-based strategy game where you control a quintet of dwarves with the express purpose of spelunking into a mountain, gathering as much treasure as possible - either found lying around or mined out of the walls - and piling it up back at your camp for your glorious King to do a Scrooge McDuck-esque backstroke in. Teams of dwarves compete with each other for the highest score, fighting the forces of evil (and each other) for the biggest haul.
The playthrough: I honestly had no idea what to expect from this game. I was kind of dreading that it would turn out to be some sort of RTS/Tower Defense abomination, but the truth of the matter is that it's far closer to something like Carcassonne or Catan: The name of the game is resource monopolizing, with a strong PvP competitive element you'd find in those games and other board game adaptations. I don't think I even know if Delve Deeper is a board game (I do, and it isn't) but it definitely plays like one.
I decided to play what I thought was the easiest mission (turns out they're listed alphabetically, not by any sort of difficulty or complexity) and got to grips with the basics pretty fast. It didn't help that the adjacent player immediately aggro'd by burrowing into my neck of the.. mountain and started raiding my loot-laden returning dwarves. Oddly, I noticed a lot of the other computer players were dropping their excavation points in my area as well - I guess I should interrupt here to say that each turn begins with you digging out a tunnel in one "hex" of the game grid, using a Carcassonne-esque selection of different pieces at your disposal - yet I couldn't honestly figure out any disadvantage in having my busywork done for me. Maybe they were just psyching me out.
So in the end I actually ended up winning that game, though just barely. I got a smattering of high value relics thanks to my determination to dig straight down and the CPU players more or less left me alone after that initial scuffle. In fact, the middle two (of four) players ended up feuding amongst themselves, which didn't hurt my chances any either. Overall, it was a lot of fun, and something I can definitely see coming back to occasionally if I have an hour free and a hankering for more shiny loot and dwarf-on-dwarf violence. At least it was easier to pick up than Dwarf Fortress.
The verdict: Will revisit. I mean, it has a collectible side-quest and achievements left to get after all. A fool of modern game design, that's me.