Friday, May 2, 2014

Dubious Alliance Card Game

The people over at Dubious Alliance were nice enough to send me a preview review deck to examine, fondle, shuffle, and play. Kudos to them for a job well done!

The first thing I noticed was the old school-style art mixed with new-style gameplay. This is a nice contrast, as many of us long for the look and feel of RPGs from our youth. Over-slicked computer-made art is beginning to wear very thin and has become so ubiquitous that even high-quality work gets lost in a sea of ultra-slick art. This art stands out.

Although this is a card game, it does play out in a semi-cooperative, RPG style. The name "Dubious Alliance" is appropriate since you play as a band of Orcs working together yet individually vying within the group to trick, bluff, or otherwise achieve the ultimate level of one-upmanship on your "team." You need to be careful, though, because if one orc dies everyone loses. A player wins when more prestige points are earned than indicated on the player's card. The game has a home-brewed simplicity to it, and that is a definite plus. Each card has interesting art and simple-to-follow info. It's not too complicated. It's not too simple. It can be played in less than an hour. And it's flexible because it can be played with 3 to 7 players. While I've only played with 3 players so far, I can imagine it would be even more fun to play with a band of 7 back-stabbing orcs.

Smartly, the creators of  Dubious Alliance have made a very simple and easy-to-follow video here. Check it out. Game companies with far more resources should take note as to how an easy-to-follow, well-explained video can do wonders for helping game play get started quickly. I tend to learn by doing instead of reading, so a video is the next best thing to having a skilled player sit down and explain the game to me. 

The Kickstarter campaign for Dubious Alliance launches on May 25th. Mark your calendar so you can become part of this fun game that was surely created with much TLC. I'll post a link and an update once it launches.