Aye, Dark Overlord!

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Category: , Age: 12+ 30 - 40 Min 4 - 6 Players 2009
Designers: Publishers:

Game Summary

Set-Up Ease: It’s so easy that even goblins can do it5 / 5 Gameplay Ease: Rules are simple, but storytelling takes guts 3 / 5 Replay Value: It depends on time, place and group 3 / 5 Thematic: If players are actually role-playing, it can be very engaging 4 / 5
Overall Rating: It’s worth a try, but it’s not for everyone 5 / 10

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So, you and your friends have decided to engage in some light storytelling in between your heavier games. Well done! When the roles are assigned, one of you will be Rigor Mortis, the Dark Overlord of Kragmortha, while the rest will be his slimy servants, a group of cowardly and mischievous goblins. As servants, none of you is very capable of following simple orders and, as a result, the Overlord’s commands are almost never realized. The game starts when the Overlord confronts his minions with an accusation such as “Why was my coffee cold this morning?” or “Why are my socks mismatched?” He then proceeds to put the blame on one of the minions and from then on, it’s all about acting, storytelling and blame-shifting.

When Rigor Mortis blames you for something, your job as a petty minion is to immediately make up a plausible excuse, using your hand of ‘hint cards,’ and shamelessly blame one of your fellow minions with the help of the ‘pass the buck’ card. Some other times, though, while one of other the minions is trying to offer an excuse for not meeting the Overlord’s needs, you can just take advantage of the opportunity their story presents and swoop in with a ‘freeze’ card, which allows you to actually kick them while they are down, interrupting their story and stopping them from defending themselves. But you have to be fast, because once they shift the blame to someone else, you cannot interrupt them.

There is a lot of story-telling involved in the game, so the more elaborate your excuses are, the less likely you are to get a ‘withering look’ from the Overlord. If you hesitate, mumble, or bore Rigor Mortis too much, you are bound to lose. So, be sure to hone your plot-weaving skills before you begin playing this game. A variation of the rules allows you to plead for mercy and extend your time in the game. You can find special icons at the top corners of your ‘hint’ cards that will either help you or break you.

Why you should play

If your group of game-playing friends comprises imaginative storytellers, or liars for short, you are in luck. You are sure to have a lot of fun listening to their excuses, which they will be trying to fit into everything they have heard so far. If they are also particularly good at assuming the character of a conniving goblin, this game will not fail to make you laugh. It does not matter if you are the Overlord or one of the goblins. It will be fun to lose to these guys.

Why you shouldn’t play

If you are one of those unlucky people who have friends with no vivid imagination, and, on top of that, you are also assigned the role of the Overlord, you will have a really sad time playing this game. While all the minions are actually involved in the gameplay, the Overlord usually sits back and watches them as they relentlessly accuse each other, with the task to make a final ruling as to whether the excuse was believable or not. It might seem fun at first, having such great power over the rest of the players, but soon you will feel bored and start tossing ‘withering looks’ left and right just to speed up the game and break free from your torture.

On the other hand, if you are a minion and you lack imagination yourself, you might start feeling stressed when someone calls your name, and everyone’s attention is turned to you. Will you be able to think up something that will please the Overlord, or will your excuse be too lame for them to buy?