Big Bad Overlord: Dukes Duking it Out Review

 Game: Big Bad Overlord Time: 60 minutes
 Publisher: Self-Published Players: 4- 6
 Age: 8+ Replayability: 7/10

big bad overlordBig Bad Overlord

big bad overlordWhen you are a big bad duke looking to rule over all other dukes, you need to defeat the initial big bad overlord and have a powerful weapon right? Good news everyone, the overlord is defeated and the oracles have announced that the Doomsword and the Mageskull, two of the dark lord’s weapons, have returned to the world. I initially saw this board game and loved how the graphics looked. The cards follow a line of fantasy tropes within quality cardstock. Each card represents a character (whether good or evil) and has a power in mind, magic, and melee. To begin Big Bad Overlord, deal out six cards to each player. You will choose three and and lay them face up in front of you, keep in mind that each attack phase will consist of using every specific ‘red’ attack together (when you attack you will be attacking with red highlighted categories, all minds go first, followed by Magic, and ending in Melee) to provide a healthy sum of each to battle with (one more time, red means attack, gray means defense). Behind these three cards will be your face down defence cards that protect your duke (they can be rearranged with your front three during defense phases). On your turn, choose an enemy’s army an attack. You will both add up your damage from every category and deal damage in order of mind, magic, and melee. However! You may be thinking “I have low mind and now I can’t do anything about it!” False, you will both also be rolling two dice and adding that to your damage as well! Keep in mind, rolling a 12 or rolling a 2 are a automatic pass and fail respectively. The card game also includes do-gooders, which are npc’s needing to be defeated, and Mageskull and Doomsword themselves–wielding true power! Last player still standing wins!

My Experience

I played this with an unusual group of players (not normally a group I’d expect to play games), my co-workers. We all chose a duke, I was Eekrah the nasty, because he looked the most evil. Before I continue, I will describe my hand of cards and also provide you with their ability numbers in order of mind, magic, and melee for immersion ;]. I was dealt two riff raffs (0, 0, 1), killer world frogs (0, 2, 2), troops of terror (1, 2, 3), knights of darkness (1, 1, 4), and the mageskull! I began the game because I had the most experience in card games so I drew a card and I attacked my friend because their melee seemed to be lacking, and that is what I wanted. So we began with mind damage, we both had a big bad overlordcollective of 2 points in mind, however I had one of my mine in attack while both of his werr defense, so naturally I could win. But then we rolled dice, my friend had a higher defense than my attack. Unfortunately, I walked away from that battle with no names under my belt yet. It’s okay, I was just getting started.

Toward the end of our challenge, there were three of us left, one player fell off a mountain (had to leave early) so we tossed her cards back in with the deck. I began my turn again, I drew a card, this Horrible monster thing (6, 6, 10) I definitely needed to get him in play. So put him down next to a riff raff (who was in play now) giving me four cards as a line of attack. I had lost my killer frogs to mind control, however this was from the same player who had to leave early. So to the abyss they go (I feel bad too). I attacked an opponent who had a collective (5, 9, 12) and I was looking at (8, 9, 18). At this point their reserved cards were in play–so they double in stats. My other friend (now all three players are engaged in attack/defense) used his hand of attackers to also provide some damage (10, 22, 11) He had a sorcerer and a witch ( did he hustle me? He said he never played before), together our attacks stand at (4, 18, 23) The dice were thrown, collectively we rolled +10, +11, +18. My opponent hit us with +8, +12, +5. After calculating them all together we had a win in Mind  14 > 8 (I took his menacing horde because it had the lowest mind), in magic we lost because of their natural 12 roll, so I lost my riff raff and he lost his legion of doom, and with melee we destroyed with 35 > 8 killing his troops of terror. In the end of the entire game I won because I eventually pulled out some epic epic fighters I will keep a secret for now.

Final Thoughts

I want to say, I hope all that math makes sense above.

I think Big Bad Overlord has potential to be a great elimination game. I do feel that with the zany graphics and light-hearted dark humor this game should be no more than 20- 30 minutes long–this was almost an hour of gameplay. The interaction with your opponents is definitely there as you’ll be attacking them all game. I think the learning curve goes hand in hand with how well you understand the rulebook (I had a hard time because I have rulebook reading problems), I enjoyed some of the characters in the deck like the knights of darkness and machine-o-death.

You will like this game if you’re a fan of destroying your opponents, you want something dark and evil, and you like simple design and quick gameplay.

You will not like this game if you do not enjoy elimination, you want a short game, and you want some flavor text involved with the theme.


A link to the kickstarter.


Joseph Nicholas

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Indietabletop. Communication major. Favorite mechanics include: Bluffing and Deduction, modular boards, and action point allowance. Favorite video game genres are Rpgs, Puzzles games, and Sim/Tycoons.