On Monday, Jason from the Graphic Design BCA (Hons) brought in Deep Sea Adventure to share with me.
The game is quick to play and simple to set up and learn with potential for competitive/co-operative play. In the game, players are divers, swimming down to collect treasure, however they all share the same oxygen tank. As treasure gets picked up, oxygen levels begin to deplete and upward travel towards to the submarine becomes difficult. The aim is to make it back to the submarine with treasure in hand before the oxygen levels reach zero.
Treasure is ordered according to value – the lighter chips with 1 dot being the least valuable is closer to the surface, while the dark blue chips with 4 dots are the most valuable and begin at the bottom of the diving zone at the beginning of the game. If divers don’t make it back to the oxygen tank in time, the collected treasure sinks to the bottom of the ocean in piles of three.
In the first round, the three of us playing agreed to try and dive as deep as possible to get the high scoring treasure, however we quickly discovered that this was not the most efficient way to gather treasure as the likelihood of all of us returning to the surface as we continued to collect treasure on the route up was low, leaving us all oxygen deprived with no points to show for it. The benefit however, of picking up treasure along the way, even if we did not survive, was that the dive track became shorter and had less lower scoring treasure pieces at the top.
In the second round, we figured out how the oxygen tank could be used competitively – if one player dived further than the other, it was very difficult to return to the surface quickly, so it was in the best interest for the other player to start collecting treasure and turn around, depleting the oxygen quickly, with a higher likelihood of surfacing. This was frustrating, because I often tried to dive deeper for the higher scoring treasure, and found the best solution to this was to pick up as much treasure as possible to attempt to drown my opponent with me.
One of the things I really liked was the idea of not knowing how much treasure you were picking up – while you knew that there were low value and high value treasures, the exact amount varied and wasn’t revealed until your character surfaced.
The idea of a group timer triggered by someone picking up treasure was interesting, but also a really frustrating mechanic. The game is supposed to be playable with up to 6 players, however the amount of oxygen doesn’t change depending on player numbers, and considering how difficult it was to surface with 2-3 players, I can imagine that 6 players would be even more difficult. This could perhaps be solved for more players by adding a dice that was numbered up to 6 instead of up to 3, allowing greater movement.