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TGN Review: Draw Blood

TGN Review: Draw Blood

Undefined Knowledge ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for their Rummy-inspired card game, Draw Blood. Well, the game’s out to the general population now and is ready for everyone to check out.

The fine fellows over there sent me a deck to try out and give you my thoughts on.

So sharpen your fangs and get ready to sink your teeth into Draw Blood in this TGN Review.

Draw Blood takes the classic idea of Rummy and adds in a monstrous twist. The object of the game is to empty your hand of cards. To do this, you play Melds. A meld is either a set of the same card (from pair to 6 of a kind) or a run of cards in numerical order (so playing 2, 3, and 4 together). Runs must be at least 3 cards worth long (so no just playing a 1 and 2 and calling it a run).

Sure, that sounds simple enough. But then you add in the monsters. Yes, monsters in a Rummy game. There are 3 types in the base game: Vampire, Werewolf and Swamp Monster. Monsters serve two roles in the game. The first is that you must have a monster in play before you’re able to play a meld. No monster, no meld. The other thing monsters do is they allow a player to make extra moves during their turn. A Move is any time you play a card (from playing a single monster down, to playing a meld or killing and resurrecting monsters). Players always get at least 1 move a turn. The first monster you play lets you play melds. The second monster gives you a second move. If you get to 3 monsters, you get 3 moves during your turn. Note: you can only have one of each type of monster in play at a time.

“But what about that bit on killing and resurrecting monsters?” I hear you ask. Well, you can kill enemy monsters during your turn, keeping other players from playing melds or getting extra turns. There are two ways to do this. In the deck there are 3 all-black Kill cards. For one of your moves, you can simply play it on an opponent’s monster and it’s dead. You can also play 3 of a kind of any odd-numbered card (which have black numbers) as a Kill card. Resurrecting monsters can be done two ways as well. You can either play another copy of the same monster on top of your old one, or you can play 3 of a kind of any even-numbered card (which have red numbers) on them. Killing and Resurrecting aren’t considered playing Melds, so they can be done even when you have no monsters in play, yourself.

When a player goes out, playing all the cards from their hand, scores are tallied. Melds are worth various points depending on the value of the card played. Melds can also be made from Monster cards and are scored at a bonus. Same goes if you can make a meld of the three Kill cards. Players with cards still in-hand are assessed penalties depending on what cards they had. Totals are tallied and players start a new hand. The game ends when one player scores sufficiently enough points (decided upon ahead of time).

The cards, themselves, are of good quality. They’re lightly textured playing cards and come in a standard-size card deck box. The cards have a high-gloss finish and while they’re a bit slick to start out with, they shuffle very easily after being used a bit.

Being a Rummy game, Draw Blood is very family-friendly. You could play this game with your 8 year old daughter or your 80 year old grandfather or anything in-between. The monster art is, I think, “cutesy” so young kids aren’t going to be scared by it. The game only takes a little bit of math skill to score and could be used as a learning aid. Since it’s just a single deck of cards, it’s easy to just toss the box in your gaming bag and take with you to play pick-up games between other long-duration games.

So if you’re a fan of Rummy, but are looking for something a bit different, give Draw Blood a try.
Thanks for reading another TGN review. As always, comments are welcome.