This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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# of Players: 1
Time: 1 Year
Game Type: Role Playing
Gamer Type: Committed Casual
Solo gaming is a major issue in COVID world. Gamers all around the world want to play games, but do not want to gather because they want to follow the guidelines for keeping themselves and others safe. This has led to single- player versions of hundreds of games coming to the forefront of the industry. RPG’s have been a challenge though: how can a player be the game master and the player without it being like one of those 1980s “choose your path” books? Enter the Dragon Staff of Maladoria and Sundial Games.
The game itself is a fantasy quest (I am not going to get into details because I do not want to ruin your game). The player plays as a hero who is questing the save the region. While this is a standard fantasy plot, the unique element is that it is designed around the single-player experience; you make the choice, thus you write the story. This means that your story is not hampered by the choices of other players: you are the author of your own adventure. 7 of 10.
When I opened the calendar, I had two possible expectations. First was that I would see a text based (GMUD) style game with big calendar numbers in the corner and as little playable space as possible. The other expectation was D&D level artwork with ample story to keep the quest going. I was pleasantly surprised to see the latter. The artwork is stellar and Sundial uses every available inch of this flip calendar to built the quest.
My one concern is the layout on the back of the page (yep, they use both sides for each day). For a guy like me, who keeps works of art like this, I like to keep things intact, therefore “flipped” writing on the back would allow for easier reading. As it stands now, the player almost has to tear the page off to play the game. Normally I would write this off to wanting to eliminate multiple playthroughs, but the odds of two “2021s” are pretty slim. 8 out of 10.
The game is built around the D&D mechanics system. The interesting aspect is that players have “a quest a day” which lets them think about their moves all night. Definitely increases the cool factor. 5.5 out of 10.
The strategy of this game depends on the player. While there is not really an opportunity for rush, the other three types of strategy are present in the game. The amount of each strategy is based on the actions the player chooses to take during the game. This means each player will have a unique experience in the strategy. 7 of 10.
Novelty and Conclusion
This game is very interesting as it is a solo game based on the group role-playing experience. It brings back fond memories of the “choose your path” books, but this is definitely a technological step forward. The integration of a full set of dice into the game is interesting; however, this may lower the “playability” if you keep it as a desk calendar in your office. (Rattling dice can distract co-workers.) The concept is great; adding a little bit of fantasy each day to a person’s life just may bring them out of the 2020 doldrums as we go into a new year. 8.5 of 10.
With a raw score of 36, this is a fun little game. Some of the pages take a little longer to play and some are very quick, but the fact of the matter is that if you have this calendar, you can game every single day of 2021, even if just for a minute. For some reason this makes me happy, happy enough to add a bonus point to the game. We all need a little fantasy in our life each day and Sundial games finds a healthy way to do this with The Dragon Staff of Maladoria. Overall score 37 of 50.