Deep Sea Adventure Review

Deep Sea Adventure Feature
Deep Sea Adventure Feature
Released 2014
Designer Jun Sasaki, Goro Sasaki
Publisher Oink Games (Website)
Players 2 – 6 (4+ probably best)
Playing Time 30-40 minutes
Category Competitive Cooperative
Push Your Luck
Resource Management
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

If I just go down one more step, I will *cough* get the better stuff. I am sure *gasp* it will *wheeze* be fine…

Getting rich by claiming the buried treasure.  It’s a theme we all know, and as such it’s one we can all grab onto instantly.

Extending this theme though, the theme is also relatable especially today.  Each player is a diver that is trying to earn their fortune, but they don’t have enough right now to pay for the expedition that should secure it.

So the idea of the game is that all of the competing divers have pooled their resources and hired a submarine and an oxygen supply to get the expedition underway.

Deep Sea Adventure, like almost all Oink games, is visually striking even with very simple components.

A tiny box, a submarine, and a trail of markers is all that makes up the board.  A few colourful meeples mark the players progress.

Just look at a setup game – don’t you think you already have a bit of a handle on what is going on?  Sure you may not realise the buried treasure aspect initially, but you know your going swimming!

Deep Sea Adventure Components
In a box smaller than 2 decks of playing cards, a lot of game is contained within

And that is a real part of Deep Sea Adventures appeal – it’s a game people want to be interested in, and because it’s quick and works with higher player counts (up to 6) resetting is a breeze!

Setting up the game

Setup is incredibly simple.  Let everyone pick a diver meeple.  While they are picking colours, put the submarine at one end of the table where everyone can reach it and place the round token on 25.

Now group all of the relic tokens (different shapes with pips from 1 to 4) into the four piles, and shuffle them up in the different groups.  Starting with one, place them face down in a trail from the submarine.  It doesn’t matter how the pattern works, as long as it’s a single line that doesn’t cross itself.  Because of this, I normally hand over the four piles to different players to shuffle and place.

Deep Sea Adventure Setup-Begins
While other players start setting up the board, you can start to explain the rules

That’s it – setup is complete.  As I said, nice and simple.  Getting people to lay the treasure path (even without knowing what it is) keeps people involved as well, so it’s a good way to let players setup the board while you explain the rules 🙂

Speaking of which…

How to play

Deep Sea Adventure has a very simple set of rules, but they must be done in the right order.  Upfront, it’s hard to see why until situations arise, but like any game, if you want to play a little relaxed you are more than welcome to.

The last person in the sea goes first, but the order is the same for each player.

First, reduce the oxygen by the relics you are carrying.  If it reaches 0, this will be the last turn.

Then, decide which direction you are going – further down, or back to the sub.  You can only change direction once though, so timing is everything!

Once you know your direction, roll the dice.  There are 2 three-sided dice, so you will always roll between 2 and 6.  Now, move the number of places you rolled, minus the number of relics you hold.  Also, no 2 players can share a space, so jump over any other meeples on your move.

Deep Sea Adventure Turn One
So the first round is all but set - roll the die, and try to get as far ahead as you can

You can never move backwards, and you can never move more than the trail of relics allows.  You have to be careful how many relics you pick up though – if you pick up 6 pieces, you will never be able to move again!

If a player rolls before declaring their direction, they must continue going down this turn.

There also used to be a rule where you had to have picked up a treasure before turning around, but this rule has been relaxed.

Once you have moved, you have a few choices to end your turn.

You can decide to do nothing and end your turn.

If you landed on a relic, you can take it and replace the section you are on with a round X token.  If you pick up a relic though, do not look at its score value!

If you landed on an X token, you can switch it for a relic, lightening your haul. This is where not knowing what you picked up makes which item to drop a little risky.

Deep Sea Adventure Treausre-Grabbed
The first two players dived and waited, but Purple took a Relic - so the clock has begun!

And that’s pretty much it.  Play continues until all divers are back at the submarine, or oxygen has reached 0.

Once this happens, any divers that have returned with relics can now inspect them (turn them over to reveal points).

Any other divers have unfortunately drowned, and their haul drops to the bottom of the ocean.  Starting from the player furthest from the sub, their relics (still unseen) are grouped into piles of three and placed on the end of the trail.  These piles are now considered a single relic, but the points will be the total of all three tiles.

Finally, all round X tokens are removed, and the holes in the trail are pulled back in, shortening the board.

This formally completes the first round – play 2 more rounds, and the player with the highest score wins!

Deep Sea Adventure Round One Ends
So purple managed to grab two relics, and one was worthless! Unlucky, as it cost the two other divers dearly.

So you just grab all you can?

You can play this way – or rather, Deep Sea Adventure can be played this way.  The thing is though if all players are only working in their own interest, it all but guarantees that no player will get a great score, and lots of divers will be lost.

The secret to how the game works is buried in the background of the game.  All of the rival divers have worked together enough to pool their resources and rent the sub and get some air.

To get some truly high scores though, all of the players have to still work together to maximise your oxygen resource, and this can be hard to explain to people up front.

This means that if players work together, truly high scores can be reached by all.  Winners will be determined by the luck of the relics that are retrieved, which is also incredibly thematic under the circumstances.


If there is one backstabbing evil genius in the group, they can play along just long enough to get what they need, then get themselves back to the sub – everyone else can fend for themselves.

Deep Sea Adventure Round Three Cooperative
If everyone works together, everyone can come out with a haul

And this is a hidden gem within Deep Sea Adventure – there are different play modes, either by design or by accident.  If everyone works together as a group, everyone will get away with a points haul, making it more a cooperative puzzle.  But add that you can stab everyone in the back and work for yourself element,

A game this relatively cheap and fun looking shouldn’t have such depth to it (no pun intended) – but it does, and it works so well.

But there is a downside

My biggest issue with Deep Sea Adventure is it’s a game you almost need to trick people into playing one way so the true game reveals itself to them.  Apart from not liking to anyone into playing games they don’t want to, this can backfire a lot.

If the proverbial penny doesn’t drop, people will just walk away with the wrong idea of Deep Sea Adventure.  But if you try to tell people everything upfront, they can feel trapped into a ‘this isn’t a game’ mindset.

Deep Sea Adventure Round Three Mutual Backstabbing
But if everyone is out for themselves, this is actually a high scoring result

This doesn’t mean that Deep Sea Adventure is a bad game – it’s just a victim of its own presentation.  Small box and cute pieces surely mean a simple little fun game, right?

Having this presentation where you have to manage a group resource (oxygen) as well as try to optimise your play at the expense of everyone else means you are pushing other player’s luck more than yours.

Until next time,

Deep Sea Adventure

Final Thoughts

I have heard many people describe Deep Sea Adventure as a simple push you luck game.  This is being unfair.

Deep Sea Adventure is best described in my opinion as a competitive coop game.  Sure, you can look after yourself and try for a score, but everyone doing this is all but guaranteed to lead to zero scores all around.

If you have the people (you really want four or more players), Deep Sea Adventure is a great game – but there are drawbacks that as the host or teacher you will need to navigate.



  •  Compact for easy transport
  •  The premise is simple and easy to attract players
  •  Great quality components


  •  Can be hard to teach and learn
  •  Players can be lulled into being betrayed, hurting the experience

Last Week’s Gaming – December 17th, 2018

20181217 Cryptid

Do you have 5 Minutes to Geek Out over the Deep Sea? Or use Lemonade for Cryptid bait?  Let’s Go ask our Muse!

Wow.  I can’t believe there is only about a week until Christmas.  So much is being thrown around in last minute preparation in every part of my life, but I managed to get a lot more gaming in than I thought!

5 Minute Marvel

Another Alpal special this week, but the timing was excellent.  Last week I received my copy of 5 Minute Dungeon and the Curses! Foiled again expansion, so this retheme was a great way to warm up!

The idea is pretty simple overall – each player is a hero and has a pile of cards with icons on them.  You have 5 minutes to work your way through a pile of enemy cards by matching the symbols on your cards with the symbols on the bad guy.

20181217 5 Minute Marvel
It looks a mess, becuase it is. This is not a game to play neatly, but quickly!

It plays real time and time is tight, so cards go flying and mistakes are made, but that is always part of the fun!  First game, made it to the final boss Thanos but ran out of time.  Definitely will be compared to the base role play theme!


An early Christmas present was unwrapped at games night, allowing a game I wouldn’t have looked at twice to be enjoyed by all!

Muse is like a guided game of charades, but even that isn’t really correct.  One team draws six cards with fantastical art on them, and 2 cards with ways the other team’s Muse can give a hint.

Hints can be sounds, poses, shapes, anything really – but most of the cards we saw had a non-fictional stipulation, much to Alpal’s horror :p

The first team to get 5 clues correct wins, but it’s one of those great party games where you can just play as long as you are all having fun.  If you see a copy and enjoy party games, grab a copy – you will enjoy it!

20181017 Muse
Pick the right card. It doesn't sound hard, but it led to a whole lot of fun!

Geek Out

I enjoy a good trivia night, but there are a lot of topics I am at a bit of a disadvantage in.  Pop Culture, Music past the 60’s, Most names – these are all things my brain has trouble holding on to.

This is a situation a lot of people find themselves in and can be why some people do not like trivia.  There are also people that are the other way – a topic or genre is so ‘easy’ for them that trivia isn’t challenging for them.

Geek Out bridges this gap by having not only having a huge range of topics but adding a bidding mechanic where you have to answer questions with multiple answers.  Examples are in the photo, but if you want a surprisingly fun trivia game Geek Out is highly recommended.

20181217 Geek out
It's a trivia game, but one that allows a suprising amount of flexibility and incclusivity

Deep Sea Adventure

Oh, Oink Games, you subtle and many-layered publisher of greatness.

You have heard me talk about Kobayakawa and A Fake Artist Goes to New York.  Deep Sea Adventures is one of their earlier efforts, and one that is incredibly deep – no puns intended.

Players are competing to dive for the richest treasure haul, but thematically you have had to work together to pool your resources and hire a single sub.

20181217 Deep Sea Adventure
I hear a lot of people call Deep Sea Adventure a push your luck game, but that's only a small part of it.

Now many have described Deep Sea Adventure as Push Your Luck, but this is only a small part of the game.  The best description is Competitive Coop, with a potential traitor mechanic.  Everyone must work together to a point, or everyone will fail.

Not for everyone, but expect a review in the near future.


The search for Cryptids – animal or creatures that are unsubstantiated – has kept public attention for a long time.  Creatures such as the Yeti, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster – these are all names people know.

Cryptid takes the idea of searching for such creatures and makes it a deduction game.  Each player has one certain clue such as ‘Within 2 tiles of water’ and the first player to locate the creature wins.

Apart from the deduction aspect, an intriguing aspect is the ‘honest lying’ of the game.  When answering other players with your information, you must always be truthful – but you can ask questions you know are ‘wrong’ to identify other players clues and locate the creature yourself.

20181217 Cryptid
Cryptid looks complicated, but it's a very simple and straightforward game. That doesn't make it less challenging though.

That’s Not Lemonade

Originally a game called ‘You Mad Bro?’, Tuesday Knight Games has taken Matt Fantastic’s game and released a quick, fun and quirky push your luck game.

Similar in mechanics to Blackjack, instead of reaching 21 you are trying to make the best lemonade possible.  The theory is pretty simple – have the most lemons in your drink, you will have the best lemonade!

But this is a competition, so someone may sneak something in That’s Not Lemonade!  Quick to play and learn, expect to see more on this game freshly delivered from Kickstarter soon!

20181217 That's Not Lemonade
That's Not Lemonade is simple, yet addictive. And the longer you play, the riskier it gets.

Pokemon Let’s Go

Another round of Pokemon Let’s Go was played this week.  Not too much progress overall, but I am getting there!

This week I took on Team Rocket and rescued a Cubone, allowing me to get the scope I need for Pokemon Tower.

I also think I am getting close to unlocking Pokemon Go and Pokemon Let’s Go integration, as some people have started referring to Go Park in the game.

I don’t know how much I will get in this week, but it’s still a fun pick up and put down game.  And I am still walking around with my Poke Ball Plus!

20181217 Pokemon Lets Go
Giovanni was taken down for the first time. Pokemon Tower Next!

What about you?  What have you been up to?  Have you had time to play, or are you flat out in the Holiday lead up as well?  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,