Tabletop games feel amazing with friends. I’ve seen so many parties where a sudden game of Dixit or Codenames turned the entire atmosphere from “funeral wake” to a “Rio festival” levels. Sometimes though, our friends are far away or busy. And sometimes you just feel like you need to relax alone.
More and more games cater to people who prefer to play by themselves, or simply can’t get others to join them. Most of these instances are just additional modes thrown into games last minute to gather a few more buyers. The project that we’re talking about today is different. Unbroken is a game designed from top to bottom for solo players.
A Dungeon Too Far
A group of adventurers descended into deep dungeons and caverns leading into the depths of the earth. Unaware, they got the attention of local minotaurs, wererats, cave bears and shrieking fungi. The party couldn’t react fast enough and got completely decimated… except for your hero. Taking some ruined belongings and trying to stay alive he (or she) gets up and decides to take revenge. Or at least escape (and get a hot meal afterwards).
Disgusting Beasts and Where to Find Them
The campaign for Unbroken came with unlockable bestiary filled with stories about inhabitants of the dreadful, adventurer-killing dungeon. Artem Safarov, the lead designer of the game, certainly has a knack for storytelling, and uses it everywhere. Even the gameplay description is written like a narration. This gives the game a very unique flavor. Despite being made for 20 minutes long play sessions, and lacking complicated rules, the game feels incredibly immersive and filled to the brim with dark, grim atmosphere. Stories told by the authors turn some well known monster archetypes into scary, intriguing villains.
How to Stay Unbroken and Alive
You begin by going through a preparation phase. There are many options here, but you’re limited by time points. You can activate skills you own, travel and scout to check what kind of monster lies ahead. In exploration phase you have to pick encounter cards. These may yield resources or offer trades for your character. It’s also possible to ignore them and make your character rest.
Later it’s finally possible to fight a monster. Combat is based on dice rolls, but the results and their meanings are monster specific. Some may counterattack while other will prefer to steal your equipment. As you proceed, you gain new skills and hopefully become strong enough to combat level 4 monsters, bosses that when defeated, mark the end of the game.
If you want to learn more about the rules, you’re in luck, as the author prepared a ready to play pdf version of the game available here.
Triumph of Singleplayer Gaming
Unbroken managed to prove that there is a huge untapped audience for singleplayer tabletop games. The author was very clear, that the game is purely a single player experience, and he won’t add multiplayer options. As of now, he convinced 11 341 backers to pledge a total of 323 010 USD to his game and there are still 5 days left until the end.
Are we going to see more solitaire style tabletop experiences? Is the renaissance upon us? Judging from a positive buzz surrounding Unbroken I can, without a doubt, say yes.
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