Gameday First Play – Tyrants of the Underdark
“There are no shadows in the Underdark. There is no room for imagination in the Underdark. It is a place for alertness, but not aliveness, a place with no room for hopes and dreams.”
~ Drizzt Do’Urden
Each player leads a house of Drow in a section of the Underdark below the Sword Coast. The Drow house is represented by a deck of cards, with each card being a minion in that player’s deck. Each minion belongs to one of five aspects of Drow society, and those aspects correspond to different strategies in the game, e.g., malice minions excel at assassinating opponents’ troops, while ambition minions are best at recruiting additional minions and promoting minions to your “inner circle”, which is a special zone that increases their value at the end of the game.
A deck building game with an area control aspect on a board. You setup the deck of cards you will be buying from using two 40 cards decks of either Drow, Dragons, Demons, and Elemental Evil changing the game up a little.
The deck building part is very standard. You have a starting deck of basic cards that each give 1 of the basic resources. Influence which is used to buy cards and Power which is used to attack, move and deploy on the board.
You play your hand of 5 cards which give you Abilities, Influence and/or Power…
You can use your Influence to buy new cards from those available and these are replaced when one is bought.
Power is used on the board. One power lets you deploy a troop where you have one already or adjacent to them.
For 3 power you can assassinate another players troop, or a neutral white troop. If you do you keep them for points. You can play cards to add Spies to regions and for 3 Power you can return an Enemies Spy to their pool of units.
So that’s the standard stuff out of the way…
When you buy a card you gain points equal to a value printed on it… Some cards have the ‘Promote’ keyword which allow you to Promote a card, removing it from your deck but giving you it’s higher points value. You can remove your starting cards, thinning your deck but also scoring points for them… OR, remove your better cards for big points, or a mix of both… I like the versatility of this.
If you control regions in white you’ll get that many end game points. There are also regions with tokens and if you control them you put the token in front of you and it gives you one extra influence each turn. If you FULLY control the region, meaning you fill all the spaces in that region AND you don’t have an enemy spy on it, you gain 1 VP token at the end of your turn as well as the 1 Influence.
When the game ends (Might be multiple triggers, I know one is if someone gets all their units out) you get points for cards you bought, cards promoted, point tokens, areas controlled and units killed… I think that’s it.
Most points wins.
VERY good game… Great art, nice game play and clever mechanisms.
I love ‘Promoting’ cards over just deleting them as you do in other games. Deleting is easy, you delete the card with the least value but here you have the option of streamlining the deck or going for points.
The board is a bit too ‘conflicty’ for me with the removing of other players bits and taking points off people with Spies etc…
The other issue I have is deck building overkill, which isn’t a bad thing I really like them but it’s come at a bad time…
I have Trains which is a deck builder with a board and less conflict. I JUST got Legendary Encounters: Firefly (a co-op) and have Hero Realms coming soon from Kickstarter (which is both PvP and co-op) Also, Automobiles…
But, if some of those weren’t around this would be a must buy.