One Deck Galaxy: A New Galaxy of Options

  • Designers: Chris Cieslik
  • Artist: Alanna Cervenak
  • Publisher: Asmadi Games
  • Kickstarter Date: Coming Soon (Check Back For Updates!)

Disclaimer: The prototype of this game was provided to us by Asmadi Games.

Luke: Space! The final fron-

Phil: You promised me you wouldn’t do it.

Luke: But Phil-

Phil: You PROMISED.

Luke: Fine.

Phil: I can say without exaggeration that One Deck Galaxy is one of the best games we came across during our adventures through PAX Unplugged.

Luke: Jeez, bold start.

Phil: I can’t help it; every time I play, I just want to set it up and do it all over again.

Luke: Lucky how quick the set-up and tear-down is.

Phil: Isn’t that kind of the One Deck series’ thing? Small box, lots of game tucked inside.

Luke: I thought that was Tiny Epic’s thing.

Phil: Gamelyn Games WISHES they could make a game this good.

Luke: This is… a fair point, and I have to admit, One Deck Galaxy is a great game and a huge improvement over the original.

Phil: I never got to try the first one.

Luke: One Deck Dungeon and it’s stand-alone forest-themed sequel, in my opinion, suffered from moments where you would kick down a door and find… tasks that you literally couldn’t accomplish, essentially wasting the players time because they came across stuff they couldn’t do.

If a shadow falls in a forest and there’s no one there to see it, does it cast shade?

Also, the theme was kind of… uninspired. Your typical fantasy fare. Nothing to make me dislike the game all that much, it just wasn’t all that appealing to me.

But it’s clear by the design choices at play here that Asmadi has upped their game and created something particularly special.

Phil: Can I do the honors?

Luke: I don’t see why not.

Phil: One Deck Galaxy is a 1- or 2-player co-op game in which players are attempting to defeat one of three variable bosses through THE POWER OF DICE. Each player starts the game with a unique character and role that informs what dice and abilities you have access to, as well as the types of tasks you have to accomplish to progress.

Look at those POWERFUL DICE!

Each round, the villain will progress in some dastardly and otherworldly fashion. Each villain has their own means of progressing their plans, whether it be amassing dice to bring about the fall of your plans or throwing away huge chunks of the deck every few rounds until you have nothing left to work with. They’re all unique and they’re all difficult; I haven’t won the game yet.

Luke: Not that that’s a bad thing.

Phil: Absolutely; co-ops need to be particularly hard to hold the player’s attention, but not so hard that it feels insurmountable, and this hits that nice sweet spot.

After the villain activates, you’ll roll dice and see how you can use them to advance the 4 cards that currently compose the tableau. Unlike One Deck Dungeon, players always have access to all 4 options, and there are ways of cycling out particularly difficult ones, like turning them in science.

Luke: That’s another big change here; science and ships are two forms of currency players can collect throughout the game, providing a very important use for dice that would otherwise have no purpose. It makes you feel like you always have something to do.

Pick your progress.

Phil: Ah-HEM.

Luke: Sorry. Continue.

Phil: Cards may have different restrictions or slight rules changes on them, but generally speaking, you’ll match your dice with the colored spaces on the cards. A single block means you can only put 1 die there, whereas a longer rectangle means you can put any number of dice there. Each activation section will progress that planet a certain number of times until eventually, you’ll get to take it as a level-up.

Players can use them either as abilities that can be activated once per round, often with a cost, or as additionally dice that you’ll gather at the start of each round.

All of this builds to fight the big baddy, which must be done in a timely manner. Each adversary has their own activation card that must be fought, getting progressively harder to complete successfully. In addition, players must have completed enough of their personal tasks before dealing another hit. Act too slowly, and the game will outpace you and send your team spiraling into unmitigated defeat. If players are able to outpace the game and remove the enemy’s final hitpoint, they win!

The faces of your destruction.

Luke: If there’s one complaint I have, it’s that, compared to the creative and exciting characters you play as, most of the cards just depict fairly dull images of planets or ships. There’s not too much character to them, and it doesn’t inspire a feeling of adventure in me.

Phil: True, but players will more likely be focused on the requirements the cards are showing rather than the art.

Luke: Agreed, and the cutsie heroes make up for it in spades. I love playing as a rascally pirate or a radish person. They’re so goofy and aloof, it brings me a ton of joy to run around in their shoes for a half hour or so.

Which one is your favorite?

Phil: Games are fairly quick and easily understood after a round or two, and the gameplay loop is intuitive. There are a lot of choices to be made each turn, some more easily than others, and it’s easy to see that this game challenges the player’s conception of what makes a good strategy frequently.

Luke: It may feel a little mechanical to some, which is why I think the 2-player iteration is the better of the 2 modes, as players bouncing ideas off each other and talking through your decisions livens up the experience.

Phil: I’ve definitely enjoyed it 1-player, but I do think having another person by your side makes the game a bit more exciting and tense.

Luke: Either way, I think this is an easy recommendation from us.

Verdict: One Deck Galaxy builds off of its predecessor in smart, unpredictable ways that keep the system feeling fresh. What changes have been made are for the better, and the love and passion the Asmadi team has shown for their game gives us confidence that you’ll receive nothing but the best when purchasing one of their games. Definitely take the time to check out their Kickstarter page when it launches.

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