Desolate – Review

Desolate PnP

Desolate is from designer Jason Glover published by Grey Gnome Games it is a solo game, plays in around 15 min and recommended from ages 10+

This review is based on the PnP version that I home printed

Core Concept

Desolate is a card and dice game that sees you playing through the deck trying to gather resources to stay alive and ultimately find power cells that will allow you to escape and win the game, while on your search you will encounter hostiles and it’s a balancing act of resource use and risk taking to determine your fate.

Light Rules Overview

There are two main decks the exploration deck and the conflict deck these need to be separated and shuffled, there are also item cards that need to be shuffled you then deal 3 items to yourself and choose to keep two, there are a couple of stats cards and tokens to setup as well but that’s it.

Turn Phases:
Each turn sees you draw two face down cards from the exploration deck and then choose one to flip you can then either resolve that card or choose to discard it and be forced to resolve the other face down card.
If you choose to resolve a conflict you then flip a conflict card and this will determine the damage your foe will inflict as well as the damage you need to do to defeat them, on victory you will be given a reward that will often aid your survival, but at what cost?

End Game:
Play continues until you die from injury or lack of oxygen or you win by having collected the power cells, once the exploration deck is depleted reshuffle all the exploration cards reduce your oxygen tokens and keep on going.

What works:

– The art just works perfectly for this game
– Game time and the space requirement make it very playable

Areas of opportunity:

– I understand an expansion is in the works and I’m interested to see what that brings to the game and how much re-play value it adds.
– Multi-player mode? Maybe two copies of the base game with additional shared resources to tackle a level boss?
– This one isn’t a game opportunity but a publisher one, I think this would be well received at retail and would like to see it have greater exposure as well as more friendly purchasing options outside the USA

Overall thoughts:

A solo space adventure that will see you fail and fail again but you are guaranteed to come back for more! I feel desolate is a compact, bare bones experience where everything has been designed with a purpose and a balance that makes it easy for me to recommend adding this to your library.




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