Throughout play, I kept comparing it to a favorite game of mine - Four Against Darkness, Obviously, both are solo-able dungeon crawl games so they have their similarities. However, there are some distinct differences. Let's go over them.
In some ways, I like One Deck Dungeon better:
- Physical components - ODD is a boxed game, complete with cards, dice, tokens, etc. so it naturally wins on the components front. Furthermore, those components assist with the next point.
- Ease of play - ODD is a bit more abstract than 4AD, which makes the game a bit simpler. For example, there is no mapping of the dungeon. The encounter cards really make things easy; you just flip over a card to search a room - no rolling on multiple charts.
In other ways, I prefer Four Against Darkness:
- More flexible - It is very easy to modify the charts in 4AD (and even to create your own new monsters). This allowed creation of distinctive adventures. I can't envision doing that with ODD because it seems that the game is highly dependent on the card mix. There is an expansion that can add variety to ODD but it is still less flexible than 4AD.
- Less randomness - Actually, both games have a large degree of randomness. This makes dungeons seem like an illogical hodgepodge of encounters. I mitigated this in 4AD by customizing dungeons based on a specific theme. As I noted in my previous point, ODD seems less flexible in this respect, therefore I expect it will feel more random.
- More character - Both games offer archetypal character classes with opportunities to improve. However, adding skill in ODD is done per dungeon.When you start a new dungeon you pretty much start back at square one (there is a campaign mode that allows you to gain some permanent skills, but you still lose the cards you acquired in previous sessions). As a result, 4AD provides a better sense of character development. I have provided lengthy accounts of my 4AD characters' adventures. I just cannot imagine doing that with ODD.
Overall, I like both games and expect that they will serve different purposes. ODD is great if I want a quick game without much effort or prep. 4AD will serve when I want a bit more immersive solo RPG experience. My verdict is to get both!