There’s an appeal to the action hero tale. With larger than life situations, danger at every turn, and tasked with overcoming improbable odds, there’s a reason it has become such a storytelling staple. Some of these characters are driven by a code of honor in pursuit of justice. Others are the journey of the everyman, thrust into the limelight by circumstances beyond their control. Others still are fueled by an insatiable desire for vengeance against those who slighted them.
The solo game Unbroken is very much about vengeance, and it has the body count to prove it.
However, thanks to its open-ended focus on exploration and survival, it’s not always clear what your best choice at any given fork in the road. Therefore, to help you navigate your way through the darkness and rain fiery retribution against your enemies, we’ve enlisted the help of the dungeon architect himself – designer Artem Safarov – to provide some basic pointers on how accomplish your objectives and increase your odds of not bleeding out on the floor of a cold, dark cave.
Hi everyone. Artem Safarov here, designer of Unbroken: a solo game of survival and revenge. It’s been an honor to be featured by the Cardboard Republic as the Indie Spotlight for May, so I wanted to share some tips on how to survive the many perils you will face in the Dark. While I’ve written up a detailed Strategy Guide for the game, at 33 pages it might just be a bit too much for some of you – especially for your first few plays – so here are a few points that should be easy to use and give you a better fighting chance against the game.
Unbroken is a game of careful resource management and calculated risk. You should aim to eke out every advantage you can from the resources at your disposal and build up your abilities having at least some idea of what‘s ahead as you prepare to fight the monsters dwelling in the catacombs before you.
Of all the tips to pass along, these five are particularly key:
1.) Resting is a good backup option – but do not overuse it
Remember: if you don’t like the options on the Encounter cards revealed during Exploration, you can always Rest, gaining a certain amount of Small Effort. It’s a safe bet to get a resource that is universally helpful, but performing exchanges on the Encounter cards yields more resources overall.
So even if you do not see immediate use for a resource you would gain, consider grabbing it because you could exchange it later on for an even greater number of resources. Make sure you don’t deplete your Effort too far though – you want to have some strength left to fight the monsters! (Unless of course you are planning to trick them, in which case you can drop your Small Effort as low as you’d like.)
2.) Know what’s ahead. Scout, Scout, Scout!
Scouting costs resources and only provides information in exchange, so it may not seem immediately useful. However, the certainty that you get through this information can prove invaluable in directing your preparations, especially on Level 4. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your final enemy will inform your resource acquisition and weapon upgrade decisions. Having this certainty, especially early on in the game, is priceless.
3.) Do not rush weapon upgrades
Weapons are the most reliable way to hurt monsters, so it may be tempting to rush and prioritize getting, say, a big hefty axe as fast as possible. However, these decisions may hurt you in the short term as upgrades cost resources, and in the mid-levels (2-3) you are more likely to need those resources to stay alive and actually swing the weapon. Some upgrade costs are quite steep.
There are always exceptions (for example, upgrading to the Spear is quite affordable, or if you know you can trick the monster instead of fighting you’re safe to spend resources for the upgrade), but in most situations, delay your Advanced Weapon upgrade until you know which Level 4 monster you’re fighting. In some cases an upgrade won’t make any sense and you’ll be better off sticking with a Basic weapon and stockpiling resources instead!
4.) Do not waste Character Ability uses
Success in Unbroken hinges on your ability to make use of every tool at your disposal. Nowhere is this more true than the extra advantages provided by your Character’s Abilities. Skills that offer excellent exchange rates should not be wasted (for example, the Safe can get a Cunning for only 2 Small Effort vs. 4 it costs to everyone else).
Also, make sure you use them up on any given Level because these will be recharged at the beginning of the next one. Every Ability use grants you a small advantage against the game!
5.) Do. Not. Get. Ambushed.
Ambush effects put you at a significant disadvantage and should be avoided at all costs. (If you recall, this is what happened to your former party, putting you in this situation in the first place.)
Fitting in an extra Encounter may be tempting, but if your Time on any given Level is down to 2, taking another Exploration is a significant risk (60% of Encounter cards have a Time value of 2 or higher). If you have 3 or more Time remaining, another Encounter is a fairly safe bet though.
One exception is knowing that the Monster’s Ambush effect will not affect you for whatever reason (i.e. the Ambush field is blank, you don’t have resources the monster forces you to Lose, or you are Immune to a condition the Ambush imparts). If you know the Ambush won’t hurt you – go ahead and get the maximum benefit from every single available Exploration you have!
We are thrilled that our backers are starting to receive the games and digging into the gameplay! Hopefully these tips will help you do better and enjoy the game more. I can’t wait for all the new strategies the players will come up with that I didn’t even think of! Remember to check out the full Strategy Guide if you want more detailed strategic advice. Enjoy playing Unbroken!
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