Lockpicks a Legends of Dsyx Game review

Lockpicks Cover
Lockpicks Cover
Released 2018
Designer Robin Gibson
Publisher Button Shy Games (Website)
Players 1
Playing Time 10-15 minutes
Category Roll and Write
Solo
Push your luck
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

Visiting another Legend of Dysx

So I still don’t know what Dysx is or why there are legends, but cruising through PnPArcade.com after reviewing Dragonvault I found what I thought would be a suitable follow-up.

While not explicitly stated, Lockpicks seems to have you as the successful thief from the first game trying to access your rewards.  You have the chests, but the treasure is what you are after!

Only thing is the dragon has these pesky loyal followers that are trying to hunt down the thief, so you can’t hang around all day.

So as you can see thematically, Lockpicks looked like a fun continuation to the Legends of Dysx roll and writes, so I decided to give it a go.

Lockpicks Components
A sheet of paper, some dice and a pen. Not much setup required ūüôā

Playing Lockpicks

Gameplay is straightforward.  Firstly you pick a chest that you want to break into.  There are 12 in total, with 3 being of a particular level (1-4).  The higher the level, the better the loot Рbut the more time you will need to spend picking the lock.

Next, roll your five dice.¬† Each die represents a type of move you can make on the board, similar to chess moves.¬† Starting from the lock at the top of the chest, you then do the appropriate move and place a dot in the square you end up in.¬† I tend to draw my moves, but it’s not strictly necessary.

The goal is to put a dot into each of the circles in the chest, then finally the lock at the bottom of the chest representing the lock being opened.  Movement wise the only limitation is you cannot put a dot on a square you already have a dot in, so you are trying to make an efficient path with the random moves available to you.

Lockpicks First Round
Each die allows you to make a certain move, kind of like chess

Once you have used the five dice, or you can’t move anymore, tick off an hourglass.¬† If you opened a chest, roll one die and claim your reward on the tables on the right-hand side.¬† You can only claim each reward once though, so reroll any you already have.¬† This is how you score points in the game, and the treasures allow you special powers to reroll during the game.

The game ends in one of two ways.  The simplest is when you have had enough and cash in your points.  The second is when you get caught!  You are caught if you use all of the hourglasses and roll a 1 when rolling all five dice in the lockpick stage.  This means that the game can go on until you open all 12 chests Рbut this is going to be extremely lucky!

If you are caught, you lose all of your collected loot and score 0 points.¬† If you get away with the loot though, it’s simply a case of adding up your points and trying to beat your old score.

Lockpicks Mid Game
The lower level chests are easier, but don't score as many points

But…

A lot of the same ‘problems’ I had with Dragonvault are still present in Lockpicks.¬† The rules are reasonably clear, but putting them on a second page with examples would be better.

There is a strategy for a high score, and I am sure with luck I could score higher, but this relies on luck.¬† I don’t mean that as a negative overall, just if you don’t like luck based games skip Lockpicks.

And finally Button Shy does not seem to be supporting this series, even though the website is on each game board.  It is hard to clarify rules with no easily found interaction Рnot the games problem, but something I still find strange.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD
Lockpicks a Legends of Dsyx Game

Final Thoughts

Lockpicks seemed like a good follow on from Dragonvault, and mechanically it is.¬† It’s a fine game.¬† But it just seems to miss something – I can’t really explain it more than that.

In theory, this should be just as fun as Dragonvault.  But I will turn to Dragonvault before playing Lockpicks (to date anyway).

It’s not that I regret the purchase, but if you are looking at starting a PnP collection, I wouldn’t start with Lockpicks – there are better examples, even within the series.

Overall
6/10
6/10

Pros

  • ¬†Cheap and quick to get into
  • ¬†Still a good solid efficiency puzzle

Cons

  • ¬†It just doesn’t feel as fun as Dragonvault
  • ¬†A couple of vague rules that could use clarification

Dragonvault – A Legends of Dysx Game review

DragonVault Cover Art
DragonVault Cover Art
Released 2018
Designer Robin Gibson
Publisher Button Shy Games (Website)
Players 1
Playing Time 5-10 minutes
Category Roll and Write
Solo
Push your luck
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

If you are willing to give games not ‘On the Hotness’ a go, you can enjoy some great experiences

I have mentioned Print and Play (PnP) games before, as well as PnPArcade.com.  There are many advantages to this format, as well as some disadvantages.

When you aren’t sure if you should be paying for a game, the PnP versions offered by many publishers are a small glimpse of the whole experience.¬† For example, you can get a PnP version of World Championship Russian Roulette – just in case my review didn’t help make up your mind ūüėÄ

And then there are some complete stand-alone games that I could have problems paying full price for in a store.¬† Welcome To… is a good example of a game that straddles this mark.¬† Paying for the deck of cards and everything that came in the box and paying AUD$35 was a point I was OK with.

But sometimes the game is just a play pad. Dragonvault is an example of this.  One sheet of paper with the rules and playing area combined, three standard 6 sided dice and a pen does not make me want to spend $25-30.

But USD$3?¬† The designer gets a thank you, I print the scoresheet, and I don’t have to leave my house.

Dragonvault Components
A lot of people might be turned off by the idea of a game being one piece of paper, but they are missing out!

Yes, that’s right – the game cost me less than $5.¬† I only print one sheet, as I have a laminator, but I am already set up for PnP if you look at it that way.

If you had a hankering for something new one afternoon, doesn’t that sound like a great way to try a new game?

Legends of Dysx

Not going to lie – I have no idea about the world of Dysx.¬† Looking at PnPArcade.com and Board Game Geek, it’s obvious that Dragonvault is part of an ongoing series of different games.¬† I am going to guess it is some kind of fantasy world though, as here we play a Dragon guarding their horde against the annoying heroes looking to make a name for themselves.

Playing Dragonvault

The concept is pretty simple, but it took me about half of my first game to really get my head around how to play.

On your turn, pick up your three dice and roll.  You have one of three possible courses of action to choose from.

The first is the most common initially РAdd Traps.  You do this by adding devices to the grid representing the dungeon.  Choose one die to represent the column in the dungeon, and one to represent the row, the last to represent the trap.

Assuming there is nothing built there already/previously (can’t build over old traps!), or the area is already blacked out, mark your trap and then knock off an hourglass.¬† This round is complete.

Dragonvault Turn 1
Roll dice, look up options, write result. Nice and straightforward ūüôā

Secondly, you can choose to unlock special abilities.  These come in the form of either a sub-basement giving you more build area or magical traps.

To unlock an ability, you need to complete all the squares under what you wish to access.  You can use any number of your die rolls, but the next number in the sequence must be one number higher or lower than the one before it.

Knowing when to sacrifice building traps or having the out if you are unable to build is key to effective dungeon management in Dragonvault.

Dragonvault Unlock
You want to open new powers, especially as the new heroes come through!

The last thing you can choose to do is skip your turn completely.  You mark this by circling an hourglass, with each circled hourglass giving you 3 points at games end.

However this isn’t the same as rolling and deciding you can’t do anything – if you decide to go for the bonus points, it must be before you roll for that turn.¬† This is where the push your luck aspect of Dragonvault starts to come in.¬† Is you your dungeon truly ready to defend against heroes?

Finally you will reach a door on the time tracker – this begins the defend stage of Dragonvault.

Roll one die and count that number on the list of living heroes.  The idea is the more you defeat, the harder the future heroes become.  They then begin their run through your dungeon.

As they follow the trail, you mark off the traps they activate along their path.  Most traps have a number of uses or a condition that destroys the trap, but each use also hurts the hero.

If they run out of hearts from damage, the hero is defeated!  However, if they make it through, you lose a chest and some points for the end of the game.

Dragonvault A hero comes
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

And that’s it!¬† Keep going until you have marked all of the hourglasses and doors to mark the end of the game.

Even if you lose all of your treasure, you would have defeated some heroes so it’s very hard to get no score, but it is hard to get a high score.

After about 20 games, I don’t think I have ever gotten away with all of my treasure intact – one always seems to get through.¬† I thought I was close in the game I have photographed for the review, but the last hero skipped past every second trap to their goal.

Dragonvault Final Score
Like many Roll and Writes, you are just playing to beat your own score - but it's still satisfying!

Some downsides to Dragonvault are if you want to play it safe, there isn’t much ‘game’ to it.¬† Concentrating on placing only traps and unlocking the sub-basement is a solid strategy, if not overly fun in the long run.

If you are unlucky with your dice rolls, you won’t be able to build over previous traps or unlock abilities. This high luck component will put off some more strategic players.

But that is only the opinion of some Рthe fact that Dragonvault is so quick and highly luck based makes this an interesting diversion for me to chuck some dice with.  And for a game that only needs three dice, how much depth did you truly expect?

I would like some more clarification in the rules though.  For example, a magical trap is a teleport that returns the hero to the start.  I am not sure if this is supposed to be to the start of the dungeon, or out of the dungeon where they start.

Assuming the simplest explanation was correct, I play as the start of the dungeon, but this can set infinite loops.  When this happens, I just play it as the second time the hero avoids the teleport.  Is that right?  Not sure, but it works for me!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD
Dragonvault - A Legends of Dysx Game

Final Thoughts

The ideas behind Dragonvault are interesting, and the game itself is a fine diversion when I want to play something with minimal setup.

But it’s not a game like Welcome To where I can see myself settling in for a few rounds back to back – I think two runs would be my limit.¬† But I would come back for another go.

That said, for the cost of USD$3 and a couple of printouts, you aren’t exactly being asked to pony up a massive amount of cash.¬† If you are even mildly interested, give it a go – it is fun ūüôā¬† As for me, I will be checking¬†out some more Legends of Dsyx games in the future.

Overall
7/10
7/10

Pros

  • ¬†Easy to learn
  • ¬†Leaves you that challenge of ‘I can do better”
  • ¬†It’s USD$3 from¬†PNPArcade.com!

Cons

  • ¬†Rules could be on a second page and fleshed out
  • ¬†Play draw area is a bit small