Tyrants of the Underdark is a territory control game with a deck-building element. From Gale Force Nine And Wizards Of The Coast
The game was designed by Peter Lee, Rodney Thompson, And Andrew Veen
When you set up the game, you create an 80-card deck by shuffling two 40-card half-decks together (Which are based of the previous story lines) , with the half-decks being Drow, Dragons, Demons, and Elemental Evil. *Note Gale Force Nine And WOTC were saying at Origins that they plan on releasing the other 2 story lines (Strhad/Storm Kings) as well in the form of add on decks*
A central marketplace has new minions that can be recruited through influence (Looks like spiderwebs on the cards) purchased cards are placed in your discard pile, then shuffled together with other cards in your deck when needed.
The other resource is power (Looks like swords on the cards) , which allows you to place troops on the game board, expand your forces across the map of the Underdark, manipulate happenings in the city, and assassinate enemy troops.
Your main goal is to build the best deck and controlling sites. As your build your deck, you will be able to add soldiers to the board, place spy’s on the board, or you can even assassinate other players (Or there is a another Drow house that is not played by anyone, you can assassinate them as well) You may also “Promote” your cards to your inner circle. This is will remove them for your deck and out of play, but you will be able to score victory points with them.
Now that we have told you about the game, and showed you some game play videos, let’s talk about what we think.
The area control and deck building components fit together seamlessly. I’ll be honest here, when I saw it was going to be a combo of both styles, I thought there is no way you can pull that off. But I was VERY wrong, the way it’s done works great. And leads to some fun nail biting endings, as this is one of those rare games where you don’t really know who is going to win till the end and you tally yup the scores. They way this is done, is via those “promoted” cards. I liked this mechanic, as you can see how much area your opponents have, but you can’t really tell which cards they promoted, unless you are a card counting genius and pay VERY close attention to every card they buy, and watch which cards they are playing.
I really liked the look and feel of the game board. I feel as if it captured the Underdark and all the area’s and routes found within. I have seen people complaining about this on reddit and Twitter, I don’t get it myself, guess it’s one of those you either love or hate it things.
The artwork on the cards is great as well, stays within the drow/underdark theme well.
Minor nitpick here, the back of the cards are bland, I would have loved to seen them put the different house symbols or something.
A note about the cards, I can see that you will want to place them in some cards sleeves for sure, as you will be shuffling and using them a lot during your game play, so I would suggest that you just go ahead and do that from the start.
The components are underwhelming and meh. Made of plastic.
Your soldiers are represented with shields
Your spies are plastic drow shaped pieces
Theme (Drow/Underdark) works amazingly well. As does the mix of Territory control game with a deck-building element. With that being sad, I do have a nitpick with the price point, The MSRP price is 74.99.
Let me be the first to admit I’m not a expert on the inside workings of the board game industry, BUT I’m not sure how they came up with this price point at all. I could understand it if you were getting some actual mini’s to use, but everything you get is as I said above plastic pieces. I really don’t get it. I will give them you get a TON of plastic pieces
- 160 Player soldiers 40 each color
- 40 white unaligned soldiers
- 20 spies 5 each color
MSRP aside, Wonderful game play, great design and mechanics. If your a fan of deck building or territory control, this your game.
I think the strongest aspect of the game is you never know who is going to win it, till you tally up your points. you might THINK you know, but so much can happen with promoted cards and other things that it’s fun to count it up and see how is the ultimate victor.
This is a game that needs to be on your game shelf for sure, a wonderful addition to any game night.
The game is excepted to be in stores second week of July, Gale Force Nine Says
“It’s on the literal slow boat”
You can order a copy from the Gale Force Nine Web Store
*A BIG THANK YOU! To Gale Force Nine for providing the review copy*