One Page Dungeon: Volume 1: Fire in the Goblin Forge Review

Released 2019
Designer Noah Patterson
Publisher Micro RPG (Website)
Players 1
Playing Time 15-25 minutes
Category Roll and Write
Solo Game
Dungeon Crawler
DriveThruRPG View on DriveThruRPG
(It’s not yet listed on BGG!)

Sometimes you want a light romp through a dungeon. And sometimes, you can get it.

Dungeon crawlers are a popular style of game and for excellent reasons. Clearing out enemies and grabbing various loot is a fun experience and one replicated in different media. It might not be immediately apparent, but games like Zombicide, Diablo and Destiny all have dungeon crawl DNA.

Another thing all these games have in common is they excel when you are playing in groups. Yes, you can solo your way through most of them, but the experience isn’t quite what it could be.

So a couple of weeks ago when I saw a Facebook post about a solo dungeon adventure, I thought I would give it a shot. That game is One Page Dungeon: Volume 1: Fire in the Goblin Forge.

The What?

Yep, it’s a mouthful. For the rest of the review, I am going to call it One Page Dungeon, but keep in mind if you search for it that there are a lot of One Page Dungeon titles out there.

I was interested in One Page Dungeon for a few reasons. One, the designer Noah Patterson puts his games on DriveThruRPG as Pay What You Want for the first week. It’s a freebie trial. How could I lose?

All you need to play! Well, maybe not as many dice...

Another reason is that I have some weightier solo games like Four Against Darkness, that I just haven’t quite been able to play properly. Not because they aren’t good games, I just haven’t had the time to give them the attention they deserve. One Page Dungeon looked like a simpler version of the theme so that I could get into it quicker. Again, for a free game, it was worth a shot.

Exploring the Goblin Forge

One Page Dungeon was a game that delivered on first impressions. It only took a few minutes to read the rules, but I did need to read them a second time to let them click.

Short version – I played 2 games, went back and paid for the game. It’s worth it, but I really appreciate the ‘try it for free’ approach of Micro RPG.

The game follows the generic dungeon crawl formula. Create a character from your choice of 3, spend some initial gold and go knock down a dungeon door.

Play is straightforward. Roll a die, and place the corresponding room on the map. There are traditional rooms and corridors to place, but mechanically they are the same. You need to think ahead on your placement though – if you ever get into a situation where you can’t place a room, the final boss appears.

Character choices are solid, and you can choose between different styles that play differently

Once you have the room, you then roll for monsters or traps. You can try and sneak through the room, but if you fail, it begins an encounter. Defeat the monster or escape a trap, and you roll on the treasure table for a reward.

You finish the dungeon by defeating the boss – the King Goblin. As mentioned, if you get caught in a dead-end that will bring the King to you. He will also appear once you have accumulated 100+ gold.

When you defeat the boss, you can spend 50 gold to level up or buy new equipment. Then you can try again.

All of this happens in four steps, and one of those iscombat. In combay, you follow an order of three steps. It’s like all roll and writes – here is your order summary, follow that. It’s what makes them so easy to learn and follow, and One Page Dungeon does it well.

So you keep playing the same map?

Not really. Because you create the dungeon as you go, the likelihood of replaying the same dungeon is very slim. Of course, this is a game that depends on dice rolls, so you will quickly get familiar with the creatures and treasure in the 6-8 dice value range.

As you level up, the encounters do get easier. But a few unlucky rolls can quickly turn the tide against you, so there is no cakewalk here.

You can see the ghost of my first run, and already the route and what I have encountered are different

The negatives

If you don’t like rolling dice, this isn’t a game for you. Everything you do in One Page Dungeon depends on a die roll in some way.

And the high luck level leads to one of the biggest things people could see as a negative. On my first run-through, I had a lot of healing items and the like, but getting gold was a grind. The second game, my usual ‘low’ rolls kicked in, so it didn’t take long to play at all.

The rules are straightforward, but I still had a couple of questions. Noah Patterson quickly answered my question on Facebook, which was great! I wasn’t sure if I could drink potions and the like during a fight, and the short answer is yes.

My other gripe is the art. On the cover is the ‘sexy warrior woman’ trope, which to me I can’t see how it fits the game. Most of the art also looks like it was created for a late 00s 3D adventure game.

I don’t know who created the assets, but the mix of hand-drawn items and 3d rendered imagery is jarring. Not enough to detract totally from the game, but if I didn’t already know what the One Page Dungeon was about I probably would have passed over it browsing DriveThruRPG.

It's not the images are terrible, it's just the 'computer game' feel seems out of place

As a short diversion, One Page Dungeon is a bit of fun, but I wouldn’t play multiple games in a row.

So what happens when you get have played enough?

The clue is in the title. One Page Dungeon is only Volume 1 😀 I have grabbed Volume 2 this week, but I haven’t played it yet. As well as a new monster table, you also get more characters to choose from with unique abilities.

Characters are interchangeable between the volumes, so this helps add to replayability as well.

But if you don’t want to get the new volumes, just stop playing. While I can see myself playing Dungeon Crawlers as a whole for years to come, I don’t think this series will be one I will be pulling out of the PnP box for years to come. But in the meantime, I am enjoying playing it – and that’s what counts.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD
One Page Dungeon: Volume 1: Fire in the Goblin Forge

Final Thoughts

One Page Dungeon: Volume 1: Fire in the Goblin Forge is not a groundbreaking game or in the running for the Spiel des Jahres. What it is though is a fun diversion, and it does a pretty good job at being such.

For literally a couple of dollars and printing 1-3 pages, One Page Dungeon is a bit of fun and an excellent introduction for people dipping their toes in the roll and write dungeon experience.

While the score of 6.5 reflects that it as better than average, it’s the fact that I can’t see myself playing it down the linethat brings it down from closer to 7.5-8 for me. Even as a one of bit of fun, I think a lot of people will enjoy it.

Overall
6.5/10
6.5/10

Pros

  •  Simple solitaire roll and write
  •  Cheap price point
  •  Great introduction for new players

Cons

  • High luck factor can make game length drag
  • Roll die for everything

Last Week’s Gaming – August 12th, 2019

One Page of the Galaxy was so Metal and Pretty, it was Twice as Clever.

So I didn’t get to play as much as I was hoping this week. A bout of illness and general tiredness got in the way (Boo!).

But as usual, I ended up playing more than I thought I did! Maybe not exactly what I wanted to play, but some great gaming in anyway 🙂

So without further waiting, let’s jump in!

This one popped up on a Solo Gaming Group on Facebook, and I grabbed it from DriveThruRPG.

One Page Dungeon: Volume 1: Fire in the Goblin Forge is a fairly straightforward solo roll and write dungeon crawl. Even if the title is a bit of a mouthful. :p Straightforward doesn’t mean boring though, and it was a fun run.

I have only played once, but I made it through so I will be trying again as a level 2 character this week. It’s the beginning of a series, and at the moment its also pay what you want from DriveThruRPG – click on the heading for the link!

I am going to level up after a successful run (yay!). Might try and condense if I keep playing though.

I have had one of those weeks with a lot of ‘I don’t want to’. Tired nights tend to lead to this sometimes.

One of the reasons I enjoy That’s Pretty Clever so much is the system becomes so mindlessly effortless while still providing you with a challenge. And yes, I am aware of how contradictory that statement is!

That doesn’t change how comfortable I am playing it though. I didn’t break any records or anything, but I had a fun few games of an old favourite.

Fill out the sections to maximise your score. Simple in premise, not so much in execution

While That’s Pretty Clever is an old favourite, Alpal pulled out her copy of Twice As Clever and walked me through a game this week.

I don’t have any excuse now to start playing Twice As Clever. I know the rules, and I know my scores will be terrible for a while 🙂

It was great playing multiplayer with Alpal as well. Just talking through and mucking about was fun, as was giving each other ‘helpful’ (i.e. terrible) advice.

There are excellent reasons this series is so popular, and I strongly suggest you try them out if you have any interest at all.

It was great playing a multiplayer 'Clever' game. Chatting and goading during the game was a lot of fun 🙂

Jordan Draper makes quite a few games that I quite enjoy. Kind of like the old school ’20 games in a box’ kit, you get a box of components and a variety of rules to make up a variety of different games.

One of the Kickstarters that arrived recently was METAL, a game where every component in the game (including packaging) is metal.

We played Not Pool, which is a mix between croquet and snooker. The three of us had fun moving around the table trying to knock a little metal ball with the small mallet into the ‘ball’.

It will be fun trying some of the other games soon.

The first game we played from Jordan Draper's METAL - Not Pool!

Roll for the Galaxy. The dice version of the modern classic Race for the Galaxy. Wow, it was fun. It had been a while since I played any of the ‘for the Galaxy’ games, but it came back quickly.

Playing with Alpal, we had a few slow starting rounds, and we forgot the two-player rule that allowed for another phase.

It didn’t take long to get back into a rhythm, and it ended up being a close game. What it did trigger in both of us is a renewed desire to try New Frontiers, the Race for the Galaxy board game, soon.

Watch out for that one between now and PAX Aus!

It has been a while since I played any of the 'for the Galaxy' games, and it hasn't lost any of it's fun

Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot (PSVR)

So I jumped on Cyberpilot to grab some screens for last weeks review.

Even including some setup for the capture, it took me less than an hour and a quarter to finish the game on normal, with one death because I was being cute.

As I said last week, if you are interested try it, but I would wait until it’s on sale. If they come out with another game like this though, I would need to know it was at least twice as long before being a day one purchase in the future.

Rockets or bullets. Why not both?

Wolfenstein: Youngblood (PS4)

I got some kick back time and played a bit of Youngblood this week, and it was fun.

Initially I was a little lost as to what I should be doing, but it didn’t take too long to get back into the swing. Remembering how to throw grenades was a pain though!

But even seeing some units in a new light thanks to Cyberpilot, it just bought home everything in the VR experience I am missing. I spent almost as much time walking around exploring for secrets as I did playing missions, and it was great.

Hopefully next week I can work out a time to play online with someone, and see how it works without the computer AI.

I can't open this door yet, but that looks like a certain room from Dishonored...

Elder Sign: Omens (Android)

So looking on my phone, I realised I had installed Elder Sign: Omens a while ago but I hadn’t played it yet.  The last few times I have thought about playing it, I jumped on PC to play and ended up getting distracted.

If you haven’t played Elder Sign, calling it Lovecraft Yahtzee is kind of accurate in all the ways that count.

You have to collect a certain number of Elder Sign before an Elder God collects a certain level of Doom. You do this by rolling dice and making certain combinations to pass. And the digital version Omens does all of the housekeeping for you!

Roll the dice, get the combinations you need. Simple! And yet, strangely addictive

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD