Delve Deeper

Board games have a fairly intricate history with video gaming. Many of video game’s oldest genres come from board game roots. RPGs are steeped in D&D lore, for instance.

Strategy games, while starting with clear tabletop boardgame roots, have diverged wildly over the past couple of decades with the advent of Real Time Strategy. StarCraft 2 has about as much in common with Axis & Allies as it does with skydiving. Yet there’s still plenty of crossover.

Delve Deeper is a strategy game set in a mine, where you guide a team of 5 dwarven miners to mine precious gems and fight monsters. It’s strictly turn-based, and on each turn you can lay out an additional tunnel inside your mine. The mine is on a hex-grid, and each tunnel/hex you place has to line up with the other tunnels. Then you move your miners, and mine.

Complicating matters is the other teams of dwarves. Up to 4 different teams can be competing for a mine’s resources. Then at the end of all the dwarven turns, the monsters get a turn, spawning in unlit portions of the mine and making their way up to harass your team.

The boardgame influences here are worn on the game’s sleeve, with a hex-based method of exploring the map and a very card-like design to the game’s user interface. But the influences go deeper than that, you can see what’s going on in your opponents bases at all times. You can even lay tunnels down to herd monsters into your enemy’s mines and watch the carnage. It’s a very boardgame-like move. Screwing with your opponents is so much more fun when you can see their face, but it still works well when your opponents are computers.

Talking Points: Could Delve Deeper be done as a board game? What’s the difference between this and a cardboard version? What do you lose when you’re not face to face? In a computer strategy game, would you expect there to be fog of war over your opponents’ bases? Would that even work here?

[size=20]Download Demo Now[/size]

[size=16]Buy Now ($5) - (Steam)[/size]

Comments

I have this game and I must scream. Because it's harder than it looks. But I guess because it's based on a boardgame? Or has boardgame influences?

And does it play better with an Xbox 360 controller or the keyboard and mouse?

I love learning new things and this game is on my list of things to conquer right after I win Europa Universalis 3 and AI War on normal settings. Or maybe before. I'm not sure.

It took a second for me to get the hang of the interface, but I'm hooked now.

I've had this for a while, it's an excellent game. Like all good games, simple on the surface, but more complex when you really dig in. I think with some modifications it would make a brilliant board game, I'd love to have actually little tunnel tile sections to play with, perhaps handed out randomly to people like a hand of cards to make things more interesting.

Redwing wrote:

more complex when you really dig in

I get it!

Could Delve Deeper be done as a board game?

Yes! It's called Dwarven Dig!, I have it, and it's not very good. I mean it sounded really good: random hex tile map, bands of dwarves screwing each other over and avoiding hazards to get the jewels and get back out. But the turn phases are convoluted and the rules vague, if not outright missing (and this its second edition). Not having played Delve Deeper, I would bet dollars to dolomite that the main difference between the computer and cardboard versions is clear and strict mechanics in the former.

Yeah, this is significantly more slickly addicting than I expected. Sounds dissimilar in that regard.

I'm not seeing multiplayer, but I want it. Badly.

So,

1) The beholders aren't monsters; they're the relic pawnshop keepers?

2) Is there any way to see your opponents' dwarves' stats while it's your turn?

3) Any way to skip or speed up your opponents' turns?

Cool game, but it's pretty time consuming. It's not something you can just fire up for a quick game.

I could see this easily being a board game, the rules are pretty simple and randomisation could help for placement of loot and relics.

Yoyoson wrote:

So,

1) The beholders aren't monsters; they're the relic pawnshop keepers?

2) Is there any way to see your opponents' dwarves' stats while it's your turn?

3) Any way to skip or speed up your opponents' turns?

I only know the answer to the first question. ("Yes.")

If I could make a revision in this game, I'd either speed up opponents' turns or gear it more explicitly for multiplayer. As far as I can tell, there's no multi yet, but it feels mere inches away.

I enjoy the game quite a bit, but I'd like a save option. Am I just missing it?

Also I've read this was coming to xbox as a indie game but last I heard, it was stuck in review and needed some changes, and that was quite some time ago. Too bad, I think it could do well if done right.

Yoyoson wrote:

So,

1) The beholders aren't monsters; they're the relic pawnshop keepers?

2) Is there any way to see your opponents' dwarves' stats while it's your turn?

3) Any way to skip or speed up your opponents' turns?

1) Yep
2) I think all dwarves' classes have the same stats, but correct me it I'm wrong. The guy with a feather is a scout, the shield guy is the fighter and the last is a miner. Don't know if that helps or is just pointing out the obvious.
3)Best way I know is too speed it up in Options > Gameplay speed. It's doesn't help that much and I find it more annoying.

Holy hell! I was looking at this and thinking, "This looks/sounds familiar." Then I remembered seeing something on my facebook. Two guys I went to college with (at least) work at Lunar Giant. Now I have no excuse not to buy it.

kaostheory wrote:

Holy hell! I was looking at this and thinking, "This looks/sounds familiar." Then I remembered seeing something on my facebook. Two guys I went to college with (at least) work at Lunar Giant. Now I have no excuse not to buy it.

I met the folks (I think it's a 5-person team) at the IGDA Chicago relaunch last month. They're based in the western burbs, as I recall.

clever id wrote:

Also I've read this was coming to xbox as a indie game but last I heard, it was stuck in review and needed some changes, and that was quite some time ago. Too bad, I think it could do well if done right.

When I talked to them last month, I believe this was still their focus.

CleverId, the different dwarves have fixed stats at the start based on class, but they can vary depending on artifacts they've found, or damage they've taken.

My first game was pretty annoying:
-The blue player somehow managed to unearth a swarm of at least 10 of those little goblin dudes. This effectively took him out of the game, but it meant that every turn I had to sit and watch every single one of them move to the next closest tile with a dwarf in it, and then take turns attacking him until he was dead. It took forever.
-The red player also uncovered a big pile of goblins, but they all ran onto a tile with 3 dwarf fighters sitting on it and got slaughtered. The resulting loot pile filled the entire tile, and red spent most of the rest of the game ferrying loot off that one tile. He racked up more than 70 points, the player in second place had 28. Felt pretty unbalanced.
-I got burned on a bunch of dud relics, so I made a late-game push down into the depths to try and catch up on score. I mined up a ton of what I thought was mithril, but turned out to be gold. The reason I made this mistake was because the resource sign was completely obscured by some random bit of tunnel detail.

I like the mechanics, but so far the presentation feels like it needs some serious work. Waiting for every single creature to make its move individually is tedious and contributes no important information that couldn't be summarized. Aesthetic details should never obscure important information. Also, the tutorial nearly made me stop playing the game right then and there - the writing wasn't nearly funny enough to justify all the King's pointless rambling, and clicking through 10 dialog boxes any time anything happens is horrendous UI design.

Edit: Played it again, and didn't have nearly as many problems. I think I just had a really bad first round. I still hate the resource signs though, most of the time you're lucky if you can even see half of a sign.

Muttonchop you are scaring me away from this game. Are you saying I made a bad Steam purchase? Which, by the way, never happens

Is this game 'fun' for you despite what you consider its flaws?

It's entertaining. I only played the demo, though, and most of my impressions were just me ranting about one oddly unbalanced first game. Haven't played enough to form a strong impression one way or another.

Bumping up the game speed did help with some of my complaints.

Strangeblades wrote:

Muttonchop you are scaring me away from this game. Are you saying I made a bad Steam purchase? Which, by the way, never happens

Is this game 'fun' for you despite what you consider its flaws?

I've been enjoying it.

I would definitely recommend playing a 2 player game as your first game(s).

I'm still playing around with team compositions. So far, I like 3 Fighters and 2 Miners. I don't know how I feel about scouts.

I roll 3 fighters, 2 scouts. I like the scouts for running up, grabbing loot, and getting away before anyone can attack them. Really, I don't see as much use for miners.

Interesting mechanics, but geared too slow. If a group of 50 monsters all on the same tile are all moving to the same tile, it should be shown as 1 move, not 50. And with the way the monster AI is set up to always go for the nearest dwarf, any time they start to win fights, you'll see giant packs of them building up.

Multi-player would be ungodly slow. My one game vs 3 AI took a couple hours, which is reasonable for a turn-based strategy game, maybe. I'd still prefer it to take an hour, max, given the level of complexity. If I were waiting for three other people taking sequential turns, it would turn into a 5 or 6 hour slog. For the amount of depth in this game, that's really excessive. If I were to do multi-player, I'd want to change the game to sequential tile placement, but make the orders to the dwarves simultaneous (as in, everyone sets orders, clicks ready and watches them play out). Take advantage of the fact that it's on computer.

If this were a boardgame, my group would play it once and never again. It just chews up too much time without enough happening.

EDIT: To extrapolate on making this work as a boardgame, you'd have to simplify the combat system. Keeping track of each dwarf's and monster's HP would be too fiddly. Make all goblins die in a single hit, giving hit points only to the big guys, like the dragons. But this means a complete re-balancing of each class. The other bit is tracking the inventory of your dwarves. 'Cause everyone loves bookkeeping in their games right?

This game would have a lot of the same problems as Merchants & Marauders, a relatively new pirate themed board game. Lots to keep track of just to do rather simple things, and long waits between turns with nothing to do.

wordsmythe wrote:
clever id wrote:

Also I've read this was coming to xbox as a indie game but last I heard, it was stuck in review and needed some changes, and that was quite some time ago. Too bad, I think it could do well if done right.

When I talked to them last month, I believe this was still their focus.

Good to hear. Although, I'd really like to see it polished enough for xbla.

Robear wrote:

CleverId, the different dwarves have fixed stats at the start based on class, but they can vary depending on artifacts they've found, or damage they've taken.

Totally forgot about the artifacts modifying stats... and don't think I noticed damage effecting that. Thanks.

I don't think I've played a full game since I bought it way back when. Every time I start kids seem to "need Dad".

Could it be that the other dwarves are building tunnels to spring the children on you?