Evil Hat Productions Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game Role Play
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- For 1-5 players
- 30 minute playing time
- Cooperative card game
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Play Harry Dresden and his friends as they take on the cases from the bestselling Dresden Files novels in the ultimate what-if scenario—what if Harry was on the scene with allies who weren't there in the original story? The core game includes Harry, Murphy, Susan, Michael, and the Alphas and plays through the first five novels as well as Side Jobs, a random scenario generator based on the short story collection of the same name. Designs are already well underway for expansions featuring more series characters and more novels.
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The game itself is very well made and designed. The board and pieces are thick and you know they will last a while. I like the art on the cards, though I do wish it was more varied. Some of the cards have identical cards, ie all the obstacles or advantages in a book. Each book has Foes and Investigations that match what Harry faced in the story, as well as obstacles he had to over come in the book, so if you read the cards carefully you can be brought back to the story. The characters have cards which showcase the talents and strengths they have in the stories to help you overcome the challenges of the books. It is possible to beat any book with any set of character, although I enjoy playing with only the characters in the stories.
If you don't know the stories (or want to play with folks who don't know them) no problem! You can solely pay attention to the numbers, hit points vs attacks, investigations vs clues, etc. I think knowing the stories adds depth, but isn't necessary. I find the game challenging, every game is different depending on the layout of the book cards and the cards in your hand. It is rare to draw more cards, though it is possible depending on the books or characters played. This means you really have to strategize which cards you want to use and which you want to discard for more power (Fate Points), which of the book cards you want to take out and which you can leave alone. In order to win you need to have solved more cases than there are enemies left on the board, it is difficult to do this only with the cards allotted so many games will rely on the Showdown at the end of the game. This is where you use leftover Fate Points to give you advantages to finish off any last cases or foes for a last ditch effort to win the game (Harry Dresden is the king of last ditch effort!). I like that there are 1 player rules, as I don't always have folks to play with. This style of play is a bit more challenging (my win rate solo is about 45% while my win rate with other players is more like 80%). Part of this is due to less cards in play and part is due to having to keep track of all the cards and abilities by oneself. I often realize after the fact that I missed something integral because there is a lot to pay attention to. I've gotten better with plays, but it is still a bit much.
There is a lot going on in the game, cards that affect other cards, actions that can't be taken until X happens, etc. I feel this is both a negative and a positive on the game. The negative being that it will take at least one run through to 'get' it, it is easy to miss something that will affect whether or not you can win the game and it can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially for new or inexperienced players. The positive is that all the little things that make a difference in each game are what will make the game playable time after time. Although there is a lot going on, everything is color coded and labeled well. If one card affects another one will be labeled with A> and one with >A.
With the expansions I have a total of 11 books and 13 characters, each book has 12 cards which are placed in random parts of the board (so each game is different) and each character has 10 cards of which 4-7 make up a hand at a time, with 3-5 characters playable per session. The math geeks out there can figure out the exact number of combinations available, all I can say is it is a LOT.
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