Epic Death! the card game
Designed by Beth Hughes and Sam Lamont
Developed by Waits in Graves
Published by Game Salute
Playtime: 30 mins
What the game's all about
Epic Death! is a humerous fantasy card game that sees players control a team of epic adventurers on their quest to glory (and the only way to glory is, of course, a glorious death).
Players draw quest cards and roll dice to see if their quest was successful, using special Fate cards to increase your dice pool.
If you succeed, you can pick up shiny Loot for your adventurers. Fail, and you're stuck with the FAIL points that go against you at the end of the game.
Once the quest deck is depleted, you move into the EPIC quest phase. Here, your intention is to die at the hands of whatever beasties you're up against, gaining EPIC points in the process.
The player with the highest EPIC score at the end of the game is the winner.
The artwork for Epic Death! is great, and you start to choose your favourites pretty quickly (in case you didn't guess, MEEEAD! the dwarf is my favourite). The Loot cards are also chock full of geeky references from Star Wars to Firefly to Game of Thrones.
I decided to sleeve my cards as they were a little on the thin side, but they're good quality and will serve you well.
The four kinds of cards; Fate, Loot, Character and Quest, each has its own deck box, which was a nice touch. The only downside is that the deck boxes have a habit of coming apart, so you're often putting them back together.
Also, the four boxes are the same size, but the deck sizes vary wildly (there are 57 Loot cards, for example, but only 20 Character cards), which leaves a fair bit of unused space in each box.
The custom, purple dice with the gold skull on the '6' face are awesome (they even come in their own dice bag). These were well worth the wait and add that little something extra when playing.
In a nutshell, Epic Death! is a dice-centric game with a Gloom flavour and a peppering of Munchkin over the top. You attempt to gain as many EPIC points as your can (by completing quests and gaining Loot), and then try to kill off your characters to 'bank' the points they've earned.
The bulk of strategy comes in when deciding how much you want to mess with your opponent during the game.
The purple Fate cards can be used to add dice to your dice pool (making it easier to succeed in a quest) or remove dice from your opponent's dice pool (making it more difficult to succeed).
Burn through your Fate cards on easy, low reward quests, and you find yourself in dire straights later on. Hold off too much and your opponent has beefed up their characters enough that you can't do much to them.
It's striking that balance that comes in with many plays' worth of experience, and what makes it more fun with more players.
You get combo bonuses for equipping your characters with a full set of armour of a particular type e.g. the helmet, armour and weapon of the Pyromaniac, so you also need to be mindful of who gets what Loot.
You can't swap armour between characters - once it's equipped, that's it, so there's a little bit of thinking needed there too.
The fun spin to Epic Death! comes in when you've played through your Quest cards and move onto the Epic Quests. Here, the monsters are bigger, badder, and a damn sight more difficult to kill.
Now the game suddenly flips on its head - you're actively trying to kill your team so that they die in glorious battle, while your opponents are frantically trying to keep your alive so you can't score at the end of the game.
Ultimately, though, Epic Death! is a fun dice/card game that benefits from a group of players who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty and try to back-stab one another. It doesn't work quite as well in a 2-player set-up, but games that involve backstabbing rarely do.
Epic Death! is a fun game that looks great and is packed with geeky references. If you're looking for something light and funny, then this is a game for you. Put on your most epic face and get stuck in!