Category Archives: Tabletop

Dead Man’s Draw

Card Game, iPhone App

Players: 2-4, 5-8 (Combine two decks sold separately), iOs version: 1-2 players local

Time to Play: 10-15 minutes

Situation: You’re a pirate and you are pitted versus other pirate(s) in a push your luck card battle for glory and gold….glold!

Setup: Super easy. There are ten card suits all numbered 2-7 (mermaids suit is numbered 4-9). Take the lowest card of each suit and shuffle them into a discard pile. Shuffle the remaining cards which will be the draw deck.

How to Play:
Draw a card from the draw deck and place it next to the draw deck (or the Play Area). Once the card is drawn, resolve the suit ability (see abilities below).  You may decide to stop (coward) and collect the cards with the point value on it or draw another card and place it next to the previous card drawn in the Play Area, resolve powers and continue. The TWIST is, if ever you draw a duplicate card, you BUST and lose all those precious points. Bustin’ doesn’t make you feel good (unless it is Ghostbustin’).

If you did not let greed overcome you and decided to stop drawing cards at a reasonable time (chicken), YOU GET TO KEEP THEM! Place your cards in front of you organized by suit with the highest value on top to make opponents jealous.

POINTS! Each card drawn will have a point value. The highest point value for a suit collected is the only point that will count towards your overall score. For example, you have acquired two Sword cards, one is a 4 value, the other is a 7. At the end of the game, only the 7 sword card will count toward your point total. Get the most points at the end of the game, you win!

The suits in the game all have a special power (besides Mermaid). Once the card is drawn (and not a duplicate of the last card), card ability activate! The power of the card must be activated and used whether the consequences are good or bad.

Anchor – Keep all the cards before this whether you bust or not. (Note: if you bust with another Anchor, you lose both Anchors)

Hook – Select the top card from one of your banked cards and place it in the Play Area next to this card. Resolve the power of the selected card and continue gameplay. (If the only cards available in your bank will force you to bust, you gotta bust!).

Cannon – Take the top card of an opponent’s stack and place it into the discard pile. KABLOOEY!

Key & Chest – If you manage to draw both a key card and chest card in the same turn, when you collect cards, you will collect double the amount! (The bonus cards come from the discard area. If not enough cards are in the discard to double, you are out of luck)

Oracle – You may look at the next card that will be drawn from the draw deck.

Sword – Choose from an opponent’s stack that is currently not in your bank. Take the top card of the stack and place it next to this card in the Play Area and resolve that stolen card’s ability! (If the only cards available will force you to bust, you WILL bust!)

Mermaid – No ability, but man they are worth more than regular cards.

Kraken – Draw again not matter what, the Kraken insists and you must (and possibly bust…insert more rhymes here)

Map – Shuffle the discard deck and reveal three cards. Select a card you like and place it in the play area. (If all you find are bust cards, you get busted!)

Character Traits and Powers:
The game comes with special characters to choose from that gives players special abilities. Some of the character’s powers kind of unbalances the game in my opinion. BUT if you find the game getting stale, adding a character power may jumpstart your interest again.

My Take:
Dead Man’s Draw is a great game. It’s simple and easy to play and everyone can easily get into it. The first run through will be rough learning the abilities, but one round will start a war amongst friends because in all push-your-luck games, smack talk will occur. I couldn’t even help not smack talking whoever is reading this while I’m describing the game.

I really like this game as a two player game, much like how it is played on the iPhone. I still like it as a 3-4 player game as well, but when so much smack is being talked, one (or more) people may be inclined to attack one smack-talking player exclusively (bullying the bully) even though they may deserve it. I think up to 4 players is great. Moving up to 8 is too hectic and much harder to keep track of the score and a much longer game.

The abilities are super fun to play with and it always keeps you on edge hoping that you aren’t selected when a sword comes up or become a victim to a cannon. I have tried the character powers a few times and while still fun, I really like the idea of everyone on an even playing field.

Buy or Browse? You should BUY Dead Man’s Draw. It’s cheap, portable, and fun for the whole family. Buy it, buy a pirate costume, and a megaphone for all the smack talk you will be doing.

Good luck and don’t bust!

= RyanHP