Penguins diving off the ice to go deep for food, not the subject I would have imagined the latest game from AEG and Flatout Games would have had. This is the same team that brought the world the hit Point Salad so I figured lets give Deep Dive a try. Deep Dive is a easy press your luck game with set collection that I taught a 10 year old in 2 minutes. So with that lets dive into Deep Dive.
Deep Dive has 160 ocean tiles in the box that are divided up into 5 zones. Each zone has higher points and higher stakes. Up to 6 players can play Deep Dive and they each get a set of these adorable penguin meeples. When setting up the game mix the ocean tiles of the same zone up and place them in a loose row on the table. This is done with each of the five zones creating a gradient of blue tiles on the table.
On a players turn they will start with the 1st row of tiles (They have dots on the back of the tiles to keep track of the rows) and turn one of the tiles over. There are a few things that can happen at this point. If the player flips a tile with bubbles on it they must continue their dive deeper by flip a tile in the next row. If a player flips over the rock tile then that player may do one of two things, they can end their turn and keep the rock or leave the rock face up and move to the next row. If a player keeps he rock tile it can be used on any of the players following turns. To use a rock tile the player discards it to the box (out of the game) and then may start at any depth (row) they choose on their dive.
Another tile players will encounter are food tiles. The food tiles are how players score points. Each food tile has a color and a number. The number represents the point value. As players collect the food they will put them in columns of the same color as they are collected this is the players tableau that will be used to calculate final score. If a player flips over a food tile they do not want to add to their tableau they may leave it in the row face up and move to the next depth and flip another tile. As the game proceeds there will be tiles that are left face up in the row. A player may choose to pick up the face up tile and add it to their tableau and end their turn just as if they collected a food or rock tile by flipping it. As a player fills out their tableau for each row that has one of each of the three food colors they will score full points for each unfinished row they will score half points.
There is one last tile that we need to talk about and that is the predator tile. These tiles are scattered about in each row and as a penguin goes deeper in its dive its more likely they will run into one. So what happens when a player flips a predator over? They will have to put one of their 3 penguin tokens on the tile and end their turn taking no food tokens. However on following turns players will be able to skip that row when diving deeper. When your 3rd token gets placed you will take a face up food or rock tile from any of the three rows your penguins are currently in. Then the player takes all three tokens back. This was an interesting mechanic that helped release the pressure of the press your luck aspect. The game never made us feel like we were so far behind there was no chance.
Deep Dive is a fun family friendly game our 10 year old play tester loved it and wanted to keep playing it over and over. He was a little obsessed with getting the high point value tiles in row 5. We all had a lot of fun playing it and learning it was easy as could be. This game is great addition to your family game night or if you are like me and being encouraged to go to the office more this would be a fun low stakes game to play with coworkers at lunch. Deep Dive from Flatout Games and AEG created a fun light weight family game that we are going to enjoy for a long time. Look for it in September of 2023 at your Friendly Local Game Store!
Year Published: 2023
Recommended Ages: 10+
Time to Play: 15-20 minutes
A review copy of Deep Dive was provided to Bert's Tabletop Games for Review purposes by In a Alderac Entertainment Group.