· 3–6 Players
· 30–45 Min
· Age: 14+
· Designer: Ben Kepner
· Artist: Abigail Larson
· Publisher: Skybound Games
Let us play some mind games
Throughout the whole game
Strikingly Artful Mind Games
Court of the Dead: Dark Harvest is a bidding and bluffing game in the dark fantasy universe of the Court of the Dead.
The Court of the Dead had tasked you to shepherd many souls to safety, but you must be be devious because there are others vying to collect these same souls. At the games end, the player who as wrangled the most souls safely behind their screen wins.
Court of the Dead: Dark Harvest is played in multiple rounds with three phases repeated each round.
There are two currencies used for bidding in this game. In the Income phase players will receive Souls and Influence to spend. Souls are gained as tokens dependent on the amount of players. Each player will have 5 Influence and can gain 1 each round. Souls can be earned and lost through cards and bidding.
In this phase, players will choose from one of three cards that are face up on the table. Each card is related to a specific symbol, Flesh, Spirit and Bone, these Faction Favor cards have additional bonuses, such as raise a bid or break ties. Once obtained by a player, they hold this card till to use another player bids enough Influence and they acquire the cards and now have the between turn abilities.
Players secretly pick one of the three decks to bid on using a chip with a symbol on it matching the Faction and a number of influence tokens they believe will win them that card in a closed fist. This is where the mind games come in, with the scarcity of the Influence currency, do you bluff to seem like you will go for the card that will benefit all players and bid on the card that cause havoc on the other players? A bit of both for us.
Player with the highest bid then resolves the card, the player takes the Faction favor card for that faction. There are Faction cards in the Court Phase that are better than others and will provide some type of advantage and provide a damaging blow to a player. We did find that there was a fair balance in the cards.
Here is where some team cooperation is required. A card will be flipped stipulating the number of souls that need to be offered, by the group, in order to pass the Harvest and not receive any of the penalties of failing. If the Harvest fails, the player who offers the least souls will receive the negative impacts of a fail. Fail three times, and the player who submits the least souls is actually eliminated entirely from the game, which is a strategic way to eliminate players from the game. We definitely worked towards passing the Harvest and never intentionally tried to eliminate a player.
When it succeeds, the player who contributed the most gains a bonus Influence token.
This continues for six rounds of bluffing, bidding and soul grabbing.
Once the final Harvest occurs and is successful, the player with the most Souls is the winner.
We found the game was better with more than three players, however the majority of our plays were with three and it was still engaging and nerve racking.
The Flesh Faction card was favored in our house and if an obviously popular card were up for bid, I would move on to another faction to bid on.
Bits and Bob
In- Game Trayz
6 Privacy Screens
18 Faction Tokens
30 Influence Tokens
9 Harvest Cards
3 Final Harvest Cards
3 Faction Favor Cards
3 Court Deck Markers
60 Soul Tokens
3 Failure Tokens
The Last Word
The bidding phases are pretty serious throughout the game. The tension does build in the last few rounds. The last Harvest card has steep goals and dangerous repercussions, which can leave the competing players out of luck if they do not work together to defeat the final boss.
The blend of two types of currency layers the scheming and plotting each round.
Thematically, the cards detailing is striking, and the art is idyllic of the fantasy genre. They are extraordinary, and the abilities are well thought out.
It combines a sizable amount of strategy and sabotage that Nerdz Garage has a penchant for.
Court of the Dead: Dark Harvest is a thoughtful, challenging game that moves swiftly.
Court of the Dead Dark Harvest
Court of the Dead: Dark Harvest
Designer: Ben Kepner
Artist: Abigail Larson
Publisher: Skybound Games Categories: Bluffing, Card Game, Comic Book / Strip , Fantasy , Mythology
Let’s be honest; there is still a bit of drama when we play.
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