Deep Sea Adventure is one of those games that I wasn’t super excited about. In essence, it’s a roll and move game, which is not a mechanic I usually enjoy.
But Deep Sea Adventure has enough of a twist on a roll and move game that it makes it an actual game, and not just a good game, but an incredibly fun game.
So here’s the sitch: You and your compatriots are diving for treasure. You’re trying to grab the most and best treasure and make it back to the submarine. The crappiest treasure can be found nearest the boat, but as you dive further down, it becomes more and more valuable.
Players start their turn by indicating if they are moving down or back up to the boat. Once you start going up, you can’t turn around and go back down. Then players roll two dice, add together the pips, and move that many spaces. When you land on a treasure, you have the option to pick it up.
Simple enough so far. But here’s the catch: when you pick up a treasure, you get heavier, so it’s harder to move. Mechanically, that means for every treasure you have, you’ll need to subtract one from your die roll.
Here’s another hiccup. These d6’s aren’t normal 1-6 dice. They only go from 1-3. So the more treasure you pick up, the harder it is for you to move. And sometimes, depending on how much treasure you have, you might not move at all.
Also, when you pick up treasure, you start using up the shared oxygen supply. Why the oxygen is shared, I have no idea. It’s the only part of the game that doesn’t make any real-world sense, but it does up the competition in the game!
At the beginning of each player’s turn, one oxygen will get subtracted from the supply for every piece of treasure the player is holding. If you have not made it back to the boat by the time the oxygen runs out, you drop all of your treasure.
I freaking love this game, because for a relatively simple game, there are a ton of different ways to play. If you’re playing with a lot of daring folk, perhaps you’ll all move down multiple times without picking up a treasure, just so you can try to get those juicy, high valued treasure.
But if you’re playing with very cautious people, they might just go down once or twice, grab a treasure and then head back up. Once the first person grabs a treasure, the tension in the room goes up a dozen notches, because that’s when that oxygen starts ticking down.
I love how vindictive players get when playing the game. If you realize there is no possible way you’re going to get back to the boat in time, you can pick up as much treasure as possible to use the oxygen supply up quickly and try to make the other players drown.
In every game I’ve played, there’s always been at least one wonderful moment where the players are all trying to get another player to just continue to go down, even when it may not be the smartest move.
Deep Sea Adventure is played over three rounds. After you’ve played through the three rounds, everyone adds up the value of the treasure they managed to get back to the surface, and the person with the most points wins.
This board game is fabulous for parties, because it’s so incredibly easy to explain. It takes me five minutes or less to explain this game.
Another great aspect of the game is that it plays super quickly. A full game of Deep Sea Adventure takes anywhere from 20-30 minutes.
The box is also super tiny, so you can carry it with you pretty much anywhere. Got some downtime in the airport, pull it out and play it on the ground.
The components are also very nice. The treasure tokens are sturdy, have a nice soft feel to them, and are visually well-designed. The dice and wood diver meeples are also very durable.
This is a great addition to anyone’s board game shelf. The price is low, it plays quickly, it’s easy to explain, it’s very portable, and it’s a ton of fun.
Obviously, Deep Sea Adventure is not a very complicated or detailed game. So if you’re looking for something with a ton of strategy and planning, this is not your game. But for a quick, easy to explain party game, I highly, highly recommend Deep Sea Adventure.
Deep Sea Adventure by Oink Games retails for $22.00, takes about 20-30 minutes to play, and is for 2-6 players. Oink Games is a Japanese game company, so the only way you can grab a copy of the game right now is to get it on Amazon.
Review Score: 8/10
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