I have to admit, I have never played a solo board game. The idea of playing a board game alone goes against everything I believe a board game should be. To me, it’s about the camaraderie around the table, the back and forth with your fellow players. All these elements are sorely missing when you play a solo game. Of course, I would have never guessed that I would fall head over heels for a solo board game. That was until The Dead Eye came along.
What’s in the box?
All the components for The Dead Eye come packed into a small little carton box adorned with some, shall we say, interesting visuals. It’s quite difficult to tell what exactly the game is about by looking at the mysterious box. Things get even more strange when you open the box only to be greeted by old-fashioned 3D glasses (the type with the red and blue lenses).
The box comes packed with a host of cards, markers and a board along with plastic bags to store your cards in.
All of the components are top-notch and you can see that a lot of thought went into the visual style of the game. Speaking of which, each of the cards and the board has 3D elements on them that “pops out” when donning the supplied glasses. It’s a nice little visual gimmick and helps set the game apart from all the others out there.
For those who aren’t fans of the 3D glasses, all the cards can be clearly read without these. It only affects some of the art of the game but it is absolutely possible to play the game without even touching the glasses.
The Dead Eye also comes with a short little graphic novel giving some more info regarding your character’s plight.
How do you play it?
Taking place on an inhospitable planet, players need to complete three “runs” with their rig to beat the game. Sounds easy, but it’s actually the opposite as you’ll come across all manner of obstacles and challenges standing between you and a successful run. The goal is to go through the Destinations deck without running out of Hope or Strength cards.
Each of the three “runs” feels like its own mini-campaign and should take around 15 minutes to complete.
In The Dead Eye, a turn is broken down into three sections.
Here is a rundown of each.
Unlock a destination: A player will see if they meet the unlock requirement described on the top card of the Destination deck. If they meet the requirement, they then add the card to their Target zone.
Face a new encounter: If the player currently has no cards in the Encounter slot, they then add a destination card from their Target zone or the top card from the Draw deck to it. This becomes the new encounter they have to face.
Resolve the encounter: Each of the encounter cards has a Heat side (left) and a Juice side (right). If the number of Heat cards left of the Encounter deck ever equals or exceeds the number of Heat icons/ triggers on the Encounter card the encounter ends badly. If this is not the case, the player then has to see if they have enough Juice icons/triggers to successfully resolve the Encounter which triggers a good result.
If neither of the player’s triggers is at the right level they either press through the encounter (by revealing the top card of the Draw deck and adding the card to the matching side of the Encounter card) or Evading it (by taking the Encounter card and adding it to either the Target zone, if it is a destination or to the Juice or Heat stack on the board).
After this, a new round starts.
Failing an Encounter card will cost the player either Hope or Strength. These are represented by a stack of cards (you start with 5 of each). These cards allow you to break some of the game’s rules and are quite valuable. They also count as your life, which means that when you can’t discard any more Hope or Strength cards you lose the game.
If you complete a run in The Dead Eye, you reset the cards and start a new one. Complete the third run and you are victorious.
What did we think of The Dead Eye?
Although The Dead Eye might initially seem like a complicated game, its rules and mechanics are quick and easy to grasp. It boils down to pushing your luck and managing your draw deck. It’s a surprisingly solid gaming experience for such a small little box.
I did find the rule book a tad complicated and players would benefit from reading through it more than once. Having said this, the more you play the clearer the game’s tactics and rules become meaning you’ll be flying through the various runs (that is if you don’t end up dying) in no time.
With some solid components, a unique art style and fun and immersive gameplay mechanics, The Dead Eye is a game that has finally made me a solo board game convert. If you’ve never fancied yourself a solo board gamer The Dead Eye might just change your mind.
For more information on The Dead Eye, visit solarpop.co.za.
The Dead Eye
The Dead Eye is a great and solid entry point for anyone looking to start dabbling in solo boardgaming.
- Striking visual art style
- Quick and easy to grasp
- Great place to start as a solo board gamer
- Rule book feels a bit convoluted
Complexity vs. Depth