Table Top TableTopTakes

TableTopTakes: Deadly Doodles Board Game Review

In the past few months my game collection has grown but the number of new games I have played hasn’t grown that much. I did pick up one game recently, Deadly Doodles, that I got to play right away and I had a good time with it. But how good a time that remains to be seen.

The Game

Deadly Doodles is a “Draw and draw” game, aka, a flip and write. In it you are going on seven expeditions into a dungeon, you are trying to find weapons, treasure, and maybe even a dragon. Along the way you’ll find monsters as well who will want to beat you up, but if you have the the right weapon you’ll be able to beat them. Each turn four cards (at least) our flipped over, and they generally form a pathways or parts of a pathway. Each player must add all four of those cards into a single continuous path, how far you delve in that day. Then four more cards are flipped and the process is repeated seven times. Players can either add to a path that they’ve already drawn or come in another entrance, but all the exploration for the day must be one continuous group. At the end of seven rounds you tally up the score, for any treasure you got, it’s worth 2 points each, plus an additional 2 per treasure if you got the dragon. For each weapon you got, you get one point and same for each entrance you didn’t use (or block off). You get four points if you went through the monster corresponding to a weapon but minus two if you went through a monster without it’s weapon. Plus you lose points for traps and cards you couldn’t use.

The Components

Deadly Doodles Sheets
Image Source: Steve Jackson Games

This is kind of a mixed bag, I like the dry erase boards a lot, and the markers, I think that both are good quality and I’ll talk more about those, but a negative first. The rules are very small, which is a solid thing, but it leaves some questions. Mainly, how you build the dungeon out, I inferred that you build in a single line each time, but it doesn’t explicitly say that. If that weren’t the case it’d be tough to get into a situation where you couldn’t use all of the cards. And just some of the layout of the rules feels a bit backwards where they explain stuff like traps before they really teach you how to play the game.

But the actual board you use is great, it has everything you’d want on there. It gives you a spot to keep track of how many treasures you’ve gone through or how many cards you haven’t used. But even better than that, it keeps track of your weapons and monsters. It pairs them up, so as you cross off a monster or a weapon you mark it in the scoring section and you can easily see if you have a pair or not. This makes in game adjustments really easy as you see what weapons you might need to get or what monsters you should go for.

Game Play

The game play is really simple and really fast, and I don’t mind that. I knocked out five games, including teaching it in an evening and that wasn’t even that much of the evening. For that reason I’ll be pulling it out fairly often, and it works well with solo.

The game play itself, though, has just barely enough going on it. You flip four cards and you fill stuff in, it’s easy for there to be variety in what is done, so in the two games played multiplayer we never had similar looking boards. And the game is fairly easy to optimize what you are doing. However, it is really just barely enough to do in the game. And the game feels like it should last a round or two longer. Playing two player, scores were between 10 and 15, which just doesn’t feel like that much. I don’t think scores need to be that high, but a little bit higher wouldn’t be bad.

I also wish that there was maybe one more thing to do, or even if fighting the monsters felt a little bit different than it does. The monsters and weapons all look the same, they just have a different letter on them, that would have been a simple art change that would have made the game feel a bit more thematic instead of here is a sword I slash the generic monsters. On the other hand, because it doesn’t have more going on, it makes it easy to teach and more accessible.

Final Thoughts

This is a simple game and for a lot of players who maybe like the bigger roll and write or flip and write games like Welcome To and Ganz Schon Clever, this might seem like a little bit too little. But I didn’t mind it because it was so easy to knock out a few games in the evening, and sometimes, after working a lot or just generally being tired, it’s nice to sit down and knock out a lighter game a few times to relax. That’s what Deadly Doodles really is, and besides a little issue with the rule sheet, I think people will like how this game works on the dry erase board.

Overall Grade: B
Casual Grade: B+
Gamer Grade: C

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