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Aye, Dark Overlord! The Red Box» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Aye, Dark Overlord Review rss

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Brendan Slade
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I got a chance to play this at a board game night and really enjoyed it. I would like to be able to play it a few more times before reviewing it but I fear I may not get the opportunity.

What is it?

As the minions of a Dark Overlord you have failed spectacularly to accomplish the Dark Overlord's plans. Now he wants to blame one of you but he isn't sure which. Therefore you need to convince him that the blame lies with everybody else.

How many players?

We played with 3 minions and the overlord which worked pretty well. I wouldn't want to play with too many more as you could spend a long time waiting for a turn. Also if you have a couple of people who know each other really well and they just keep passing the blame to each other that could get annoying.

Gameplay

The game involves improvising excuses for why the dark lord's plans failed. You are given a several cards with various objects/events on them which you have to center your story around. For instance "I was unable to steal the jewel because I was seduced by an nymph" Then after you have mentioned the item you then need to pass the blame to someone else. "The only reason I was seduced by the Nymph was because Bob summoned the Nymph in the first place"

If you get tongue tied or your story doesn't make much sense then the Dark Overlord can decide to give you a withering look. Once you receive 3 looks you lose.

This part of the game play works really well if you have a group of people who can handle improvising roleplay and are generally interested in fantasy. The story can quickly become an epic and convoluted tale where everyone is more interested in what happened then in who really deserves the blame.

However the problem I found was in the mechanics of the cards. You only have a limited number of pass the blame cards. So after you pass the blame a few times you will be unable to pass the blame and so if the blame is passed to you again then you will lose. So your ability to spin a great tale and explain how everyone else is at fault won't win you the game. Avoiding have anyone give the blame to you to start off with will likely win you the game.

Strategy/Luck/Skill

This mainly a game of skill at being able to improvise. There are also luck elements in how many pass the blame or interrupt cards you draw. There is some strategy in continually passing the blame to a single person who you think will end up stumbling over their words and get a withering look. If one person in the group really struggles with improv it would be quite easy for every other person to just keep passing the blame to them and the dark lord just withering them every time. I strongly suggest you don't play like this.

Components

The card art if humorous and reminded me a lot of munchkin. It is all fantasy stuff but usually in a humorous way. You don't need to know about fantasy to enjoy this game but if you don't like goblins, trolls, elves and dwarves sort of thing then I wouldn't get it.

Upsides

-Funny. This had us all laughing our heads off. Don't be afraid to go crazy with it!
-Easy to set up and not much room required.

Downsides

-Not everyone enjoys or is skilled at improvising. The dark overlord should take this into account.
-Subjective. The game does play to theme in that the Dark Overlord can be highly subjective in their decisions. If you can't accept arbitrary decisions then this game may not be for you. It can be annoying if you think you have come up with a great excuse and the Overlord just decides to glare at you. I think this game may work better with friends than families.
-Repetitive. There is a danger of players getting a bit stuck in a rut and just using the same excuse over and over. For instance when we played there were a lot of accusations of seduction or murder or both. You don't want your lines to just become "We couldn't do your plan because of "Card A" and it was Bob's fault because of "Card B"

You should buy this game if
-You generally side with the bad guys in movies
-You like fantasy
-You like improvising, creativity and storytelling
-You like subjective games where the fun is more important than the rules
-You don't want to spend a long time setting up or you don't have a big table
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