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(2 edits) (+5)

The Buried is a Wretched And Alone engine game about being stranded underground in a set of eldritch ruins.

It's 11 pages, with no interior illustrations but with an easy to read layout, and it sticks pretty closely to the Wretched's formula. You play with cards, a d6, and a jenga set, and you alternate between journaling and attempting to make a grim and desperate progress towards salvation.

The game's big deviation from The Wretched is its darkness mechanic. In addition to your other problems, you have a set quantity of juice in your headlamp, and some cards have an additional effect if you don't spend a charge of light when you're drawing them. I thought this was a really cool twist, but not a lot of cards interact with it, and I would've liked to see that kind of supply management used more---even though it runs against the grain of the enforced helplessness that The Wretched really wants to channel.

Also, for all the really cool possibilities it implies about the setting, The Buried never digs super deep into that either. It's atmospheric as all heck, but you don't really get a payoff to the ruins, just some indications that occult hijinks are afoot.

Structurally, I think The Buried takes a solid and interesting step away from The Wretched's formula, and I'd love to see it commit even harder to those deviations. Things like a basecamp, supplies, items you can construct, maybe even a transition to a second deck and a second phase of play once you discover the heart of the ruins---there's the potential for all of these in The Buried. They'd steer The Buried more towards classic survival horror, but it felt to me like the game would be more comfortable there.

Overall though, if you're looking for a suspenseful journaling game---and one that's a bit less bleak than The Wretched---I'd recommend checking this out. It's got an extremely strong atmosphere, the darkness mechanic is neat, and the encounters on the cards are quite good.

Minor Issues:

-Page 7, King, does spending a headlamp charge here negate the entire king, preventing a four kings ending?

-Page 8 runs a bit onto page 9


Thank you so much for the in depth review! I appreciate the time you put into it, and I definitely be taking your suggestions when I eventually go to rework the game. Cheers!


It's a really cool game! If you do a rework or something else in the same style, please let me know. I'd be happy to buy a copy.