Deep Sea Adventure is a push your luck game with a simple roll and move mechanic. If you haven’t played it, check out my short review. If you have and are looking at tactics, here are my initial thoughts.
During the game:
Turn Back; When you turn back is perhaps the most important moment in the game – grab the first treasure as you turn back, and then start to rush towards the submarine. It’s difficult to balance because you are trying to get further into the depths to get the more valuable treasure, but the further from the submarine the harder it will be to get back. Turning back is critical because the first player to turn back will usually cause all the other players to turn back shortly thereafter.
Turning Early; It’s tempting to rush out into the depths of the ocean but remember that when you do turn back you must have enough oxygen to get back. Every turn that you carry treasure you lose as much oxygen as the treasure you carry. If you go too far out you will have to carry that one item of treasure for a long time. If you turn back early you may be able to pick up a second or even third item of treasure before getting back into the submarine. Watch out though, because those further out may try to draw down the oxygen if you are doing well!
Attack the Oxygen; The strategy if you are too far out is to switch to drawing oxygen down and making sure all players drown rather than the player near the front getting back with 2-3 treasures and you maybe not making it. Sometimes this falls shorts and the nearer player can make it back with something, but at least they couldn’t take more! When one player is carrying 3 and another player carrying 1, the player with less is really having to consider whether to get their 1 back safe or try to stop both players.
Drain the Tank; As you get close to the submarine you may also want to think about taking more level “1” treasure just to drain the tank. Be careful to make sure you do still get back, but if you can drain the tank it will make it much harder for the other divers to make it back into the submarine from further out.
Greed; can be bad – the more you take the more it drains the oxygen and the more it slows your movement. The oxygen effects everyone, but the movement really only effects you. The more you slow the movement, the more oxygen you personally need. This balancing act will keep you to around 1-3 treasures at most in a round. Too far out and too many treasures – you will not make it back!
Cheap Movement; One way to get cheaper movement is keep jumping over other players. It will make the movement less because every time you jump the other player you get one free movement. Also as you jump each other you help the other player as well. The more of this you can do, the less oxygen you will need!
Last Roll; The last roll is when the oxygen tank runs out – you have that one last roll to get in. Planning carefully to use this roll is the pinnacle of tactics in this game to allow you to get more treasure.
Drop it; Don’t be afraid to drop an item in an empty space if you are struggling to get back – it’s better to make it back with something rather than nothing. A very difficult consideration when you are close to the submarine, but an important option.