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Dark Dealings» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Dark Dealings: More than Meets the Eye! rss

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Danny Burdess
United States
Rogers
Arkansas
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This game looks simple and light. It is anything but. Dark Dealings is more than meets the eye. It's hard but in a good, brain burning way. It has a neat combination of drafting and auction mechanics, both things I really enjoy. In the game, you draft heroes that you will, eventually, fight. Then you use those hero's Challenge Value to bid for defenses to protect you. Defenses are cards with attack numbers on one or more sides that attack the corresponding weaknesses on the hero cards. Each hero you use in the auction is then placed face-down, in the order that they are used to bid (this is very important). Finally, you use the acquired defenses to fight through the hero stack (in order) by rotating the different sides of each defense card until it is exhausted.

While the rules are simple and easy to understand, Dark Dealings is challenging both tactically and strategically. Tactically, in that, you have to adjust based on the draft and auction results. Strategically, in that you have complete control the order in which you fight the heroes and in which defenses you will use. The art and component quality are second to none. From the box and rulebook to the oversized first player "tower" and the heavy duty cards this game is a top notch production. The art is the best I've seen in any game. The only major drawback for me is that there is a great deal of memory involved. It really is an advantage to be able to remember which heroes you chose and in which order they are placed so you know which defenses to use and when to use them.

Finally, I got all the expansions; the Dastardly Dragons and Illusionist, the Interactive & Flexible Defenses, and the Overlords. These all add interesting new challenges and benefits and give the game additional replayability. The Overlords, especially, help to make a very difficult game a little easier, especially in the solo mode. Speaking of solo mode, there are three. Two of which are really tough to win. The other is less random and gives you more control. Only one of the solo modes is mentioned in the rulebook. The other two are on the Nevermore website. The solo modes are very well thought out and well implemented.

Although it looks like a cute and light filler game, in this case, looks are a little deceiving. From a time perspective, it certainly, hits the filler category but the auction and bidding and the amount of strategy and tactics that go into doing them successfully are quite challenging. However, if you like a challenge and understand that you don't have to defeat all the heroes, just more than your opponents, this is a great game.
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Michael D. Kelley
United States
Silver Spring
Maryland
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Glad you are enjoying it. Thanks for the review!

I'll quickly note that the second solo variant, and the co-op variant, are both available here on BGG in the files section, so you don't have to go to Nevermore's website
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v b
United States
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Excellent review! Would you mind commenting a little bit more on the expansions and what sort of strategy they add to the game?
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Danny Burdess
United States
Rogers
Arkansas
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Expanding on the expansions...

The Flexible Defenses give each side of the defense card two options for both type and strength of defense. For example, it might give 5 trap or 4 magic defense and allow you to choose. The Interactive Defenses have special abilities that can be used if you trash the card. For example, you might move target player's top hero to the bottom of their pile or they might give you +1 to each of your trap defenses. These defenses add variety to the game and give the player a little more control. A negative might be that some of the cards increase the "take that" nature of the game.

The Dastardly Dragon expansion comes with two types of cards. The Dragon Warriors are heroes that force you draw a defense card and that hero becomes invulnerable to the bottom defense unless it has multiple defenses. These add an element of randomness to the game so for some that might be a negative. Along with the Dragon Warriors are some dragon defense cards. These are 9 power and give a +1 bonus to another defense type on their final strike. Obviously, these cards are very powerful but there are only a few of them. They really generate some competition when they come up for bid.

The Illusionist expansion is just another hero but it cannot be struck by the last defense on a card. It is the least disruptive to the base game but adds one more thing to keep track of.

My favorite, the Overlords, give each player an Overlord card that provides them a special ability. Most are one use cards that must be flipped over when used but a few act as defenses, giving you a little boost if you're close. One, The Marred allows the player to play with the top two heroes revealed and then gives them the ability to choose which to fight each round. This card might be a good one to give to a younger player or someone who is learning the game. I like that these cards give you a little more control. Since you have to flip most of these cards when used, there is art on both sides which is really nice.

I hope I have been interpreting the abilities on these cards correctly since I'm still learning. Overall, the expansions add a little more interest, flexibility, and control to the game.

I hope this helps give you an idea of how everything works and what they bring to the game. I'm glad I got the expansions.
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