Real Talk By: Haggy
Imagination in Narrative
Aye, Dark Overlord (ADO), a game from Fantasy Flight Games, is a particularly fun game that involves one player taking the role of Rigor Mortis, Dark Lord of all Evil. The others taking the roles of his Goblin Minions that has recently failed a direct mission from Rigor Mortis. One of the goblin players is going to be punished and killed because of this, and it’s up to the Goblin players to shift the blame, make up stories, and do whatever it takes to not only keep Rigor Mortis pleased with them, but angry with another one of the Goblins.
It is an immensely fun game, and it’s mechanics are a great showcase of the power of player creativity and imagination.
The game begins with the selection of the Dark Overlord, personally I set this up by whoever has done the most recent bit of evil(Of course in a silly manner). It is then up to that person to come up with a task that the Goblins have failed. Then, getting in character and starting the game with something like: “Alright you slimey fowlnesses, I sent you to retrieve the crown of Elancia from the hallowed tomb of Balthanor, yet not only do you return empty handed, but there is now a zombie infestation in my lands that wasn’t caused by me! YOU! Explain yourself!” This forces a player to start the narrative.
Forming a narrative is done by the cards a Goblin has in their hands. Each card will either be a person, place, thing, etc. and on it will have a name, a picture, and a description. The Player may make up a story with any part of their cards they wish to use and must keep going until they play a card that let’s them pass the buck, meaning they then force another player to pick up the narrative, or be punished. With the cards giving a decent guideline on where the story goes and the goblins trying to get each other punished, this quickly becomes a hilarious back and forth.
This continues until the Dark Overlord has decided to shift the blame to a Goblin, and give a Withering Glare. If a Goblin receives three of these, they have lost the game and will be the next overlord if another round is requested. Getting into character here is especially important as the game explicitly states that the Overlord may grant a withering glare for any reason he/she wants. To make things worse for Goblins, the Overlord may interrupt a story at any point, or shift the buck at any point. Even Goblins will occasionally have an interrupt card to make life difficult for their ‘comrades’
However, with the loose ruleset, occasionally, depending on the party, the stories crafted here may prove somewhat weakened at times, and general steam of the plot may be lost if the Overlord isn’t careful. Not to mention there’s only so many cards in the decks and it’s a bit awkward when they run out and you have to reshuffled the cavalcade of cards all over the table.
In short, with the occasional hiccup, ADO proves that imagination is still a strong aspect of the human mind, with some absolutely hilarious situations coming up when a player becomes the Dark Overlord, and finally punishes one of his minions after some other minions somehow framed him from an alleged theft of the lord’s personal kitty collection.
Aye, Dark Overlord Gets
3.5 out of 5
+ Funny Gameplay
+ Quick Set Up
+ Easy to Learn
– Occasionally Gets Off Track
– Makes a Mess Really Quickly
– Definitely Not a Game to be Taken Seriously