Andy Chambers and Mark Gibbons.
Those are two names that really don’t need an introduction for the people that tend to frequent this page. But just in case you didn’t know, Andy has been writing game rules for… oh… forever. And Mark has been doing artwork for those games just about as long. They worked together back in the day for Games Workshop and there’s a very good chance that you’ve had a codex in your hand and both their names were on the credits page. Well, they’re teaming up again, this time with Games & Gears to bring you Dark Deeds. It’s a brand new card game and they’ve got it here at Adepticon. Ruxton from G&G was nice enough to give me a demo.
In the game, players take on the role of a pickpocket in the employ of a Dark Patron. They’ve been assigned to a street and their general task is to steal everything they can get their hands on. However, you have to be careful. Guards will frequently patrol the area. There’s also various people on the street who have a vested interest in things going smoothly for that street. You’ll have to watch out for both as you grab and run.
The game consists of 100 cards divided between two decks. There’s 60 cards in the Tavern deck and 40 cards in the Street deck.
The Tavern Deck is full of all sorts of interesting things. There’s special equipment that the people along the street might be carrying (more on that in a bit), special ability cards that can interrupt other player’s turns or give you some sort of bonus, and Dark Deeds, which are contracts from your masters that you must try and complete.
The Street Deck has all the people that will go down the street during the day. The deck consists of Merchants, Guards, and Nemesis cards. The Merchants are the ones you’re going to be trying to steal from. The Guards you must sneak past, lest they take you off to jail. The Nemesis cards will follow around anyone who seems suspicious and you have to deal with them somehow or they’ll be a pain at the end of the game.
The game begins by shuffling the two decks and setting them aside. Each player gets three cards from the Tavern Deck. Then place two cards from the deck face-up next to it. The Street board is then filled with people trying to get home. So set-up is very quick and simple.
On your turn, the first thing you do is go to the Tavern. You can either pick one of the two face-up cards and add it to your hand, or you can pick the top face-down card from the deck. If you pick a face-up card, it gets replaced from the Tavern deck. If you pick the face-down card, the two face-up cards are discarded and replaced.
Once you have your new card, you look at the board and see who you want to steal from. Starting at the end of the street (farthest from the Street deck), you sneak your way down the line of people. If the card is a Merchant or a Nemesis, you sneak past them automatically. If it’s a guard, you have to roll a d12 and score equal to or higher than the number in the upper-left corner of the card. If you make it, you get past. If you don’t, then your turn is over.
When you’ve decided who you want to steal from and have made it to them, you roll the d12. If you score equal to or higher than the number in the upper-left, you have successfully stolen something. But wait, they might have been carrying special loot! So take the number you rolled and subtract the number in the upper-left. If you have any gear that has that number or lower, and matches types with the person you stole from (religious-types carry religious relics, other merchants carry other types of goods, and so forth), you can put it into play and gain a bonus from that item. But even if you don’t have any special gear to gain, you still take that Merchant card off the street and add it, face-down, to your scoring pile. You also gain suspicion equal to the number of Victory Points that card was worth (listed in the bottom-right of the card). The game comes with wood tokens to represent suspicion. Also, the player with the most suspicion at a time gets the Most Suspicion Token. Bad things happen when you have the most Suspicion.
After you’ve stolen (or failed to) from someone, the street moves along like a conveyor belt. If there’s a card at the very end of the street, they leave off the end. If it’s a Merchant, they’re just discarded. If it’s a Guard, they start following the player with the most suspicion. Place the card with that player. If it’s a Nemesis card, it starts following whomever’s turn it just was. The rest of the street fills in, moving down the line, and new cards are drawn from the Street Deck to fill in.
So what happens when you’re followed by a Guard or a Nemesis? Well, if you’re followed by a Guard, you will have to sneak past them whenever you want to steal on your turn. Also, they will take you to jail if you get 10 or more Suspicion. But don’t worry, you’re not out of the game. You lose all your current items and all your suspicion, but you come back to the game. If it’s a Nemesis, they’ll just follow you around and be worth negative victory points at the end of the game. You can get rid of both of them either via various cards from the Tavern deck or via giving them a good knife to the back. The system works the same as stealing, just roll the D12 and get equal to or higher than the number in the upper left.
But what about those Dark Deed cards? Well, they’re special quest-like cards that you must complete. For example, one might tell you to take out a guard. Or another might name a special type of Nemesis that you must also take out. If you accomplish them, play the card and get extra VPs for it. If you still have them in your hand at the end of the game, than they’re worth negative-VPs (bosses don’t like it when they give you an assignment and you don’t finish it.
The game continues until the Street deck is empty and all the people have gone down the street. Simply count up who has the most VPs and they’re the winner.
I really enjoyed the demo. The game plays very quickly. The set up takes no time at all. It was very easy to learn and I got into the swing of things very easily. The components in the box are great. The Street Mat is mousepad material and very good quality. The Most Suspicion coin is metal and has a good heft. The Suspicion tokens are wood, stained so that you can tell what value they have without having to look at the number. The card art was all done by Mark Gibbons. Every Street card has unique artwork and are filled with great character. The cards are standard-sized, so you can easily sleeve them if you wish. The whole box is rather compact and can easily fit into your gaming backpack. So it’s a perfect game to take out when you’ve got some time in-between other games or when waiting for the last of your gaming group to show up.
The game is set for a general release in May. However, here at the show you can pick up one of the limited first-print run boxes. They also have a special Adepticon expansion box. It comes with a special Adepticon coin, some special cards, and some more dice.
Rumor tells there might be other convention-exclusive expansions later on down the line (such as like at Gen Con, just sayin’).
Be sure to check out Games & Gears’ website, as well as the Dark Deeds Facebook Page for more info.
And be sure to stop by the Games & Gears booth here at Adepticon, as Matt Gibbons is actually in the booth, sketching and signing copies of the games.