It is up to you to guide your waddle of penguins through the depths of the ocean, avoid the predators and collect the best food. Deep Dive is a one to six player push your luck, set collection game designed by Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin and Shawn Stankewich and published by Flatout Games.
Deep Dive is a relatively simple game and on your turn you will flip over an ocean tile. Depending on what you reveal will dictate what you do next. There are food tiles which are used for set collection at the end of the game. Predator tiles will trap your penguins. Rock tiles which you can collect and air bubbles which make you descend a level. The further down the depth you go, the better the food, but also the more predators. So do you push your luck and keep diving or cut your losses, collect your food and resurface, ready to dive again next turn.
The food tokens come in three sets of different colours. At the end of the game you get more points for each complete set that you have. The game ends when one of the depths has been fully explored. The game scales from one player to six with a different number of tiles being added depending on player count.
Deep Dive is a family friendly entry level game. It has a nice theme, light rules and is very accessible. But how does it play and is it good? Lets find out.
So, if you are looking for a deep, thinky strategy game, then this is not for you. It is not intended to be that way or marketed that way. Deep Dive is very much a family friendly game which I think is very accessible. I can easily see this being played with young children and have done so myself.
I think the theme is very appealing to the audience and, to some degree, has some thematic touches. Penguins have been known to swallow stones/rocks and the theory is that this makes them heavier so they can sink further in the oceans to find food. The same thing happens here, sure it is abstracted out but still think it is a neat mechanism within the game.
There is a fair amount of luck, you are randomly flipping over tiles and hoping for the right food token. Sometimes you are lucky, sometimes you are not. The deeper you go and you are more likely to encounter a predator, but the rewards are higher. There is a very strong push your luck element in the game and I think Deep Dive is a great example of a way to teach this mechanism to younger gamers or new people.