Since the dawn of time, the devil has been a symbol of temptation and evil. Stories of people making deals with the devil in exchange for power or wealth have been told for centuries. Deal with the Devil lets players step into the shoes of a mortal, a cultist, or even the devil himself, as they make deals and trade resources to try and come out on top.
4 players, ages 14+
Playing time: 120-150 minutes
Designer: Matúš Kotry
Artwork: David Cochard
Publisher: Czech Games Edition
Deal with the Devil is a unique and engaging board game that takes players back to the dark ages. The game is designed for four players, each taking on a secret role. The objective of the game is to trade resources, build buildings, and acquire souls, all while trying to avoid suspicion from the other players.
Players will encounter different phases during each of the game’s five rounds, all of which are depicted on the production wheel situated at the center of the game board. The first phase is the production phase, where the kingdoms produce resources. The resources available to players will differ depending on the round, and players can upgrade the amount they receive through unlocked achievements or building actions.
To acquire the additional resources required for building, players will need to engage in trade with other kingdoms before moving forward. This second phase is set up completely in secret, with players offering goods or gold and pointing out what they want in return. The chests that contain the resources are handed out using an app that distributes the chests among the players. The app redistributes the chests twice to different players before redirecting the correct chests to the players again. This way, players never know who has their chest, and whether it was the first or the second player who accepted their offer.
In the third phase, the action phase, players take actions to activate production buildings or construct new buildings. Players must be careful not to spend too much, as they will be suspected of witchcraft or being the devil themselves. The game features two witch hunts, where players with two or more votes will need to prove they have three pieces of mortal soul or bear the consequences and lose reputation.
Halfway through the game and at the end of the game, the inquisition arrives, and they will be inspecting everyone to see if they have mortal souls or did enough good deeds to have indulgence tokens. During this phase, chests are used to show off the devil’s collected souls, for which the player will receive rewards. The mortals will be able to guess the identity of the devil and cultist, possibly forcing that player to reveal themselves. While searching for the devil or the cultist isn’t the primary goal of the game, it does offer an opportunity for extra points at the end of the game.
After the last inquisition, players will add up their points, which include points earned during the game and points for buildings and leftover resources. The player with the most points is declared the winner.
Deal with the Devil is a board game designed by Matúš Kotry, who is known for his unique combination of worker placement and deduction in Alchemists. Published by Czech Games Edition, the game features immersive artwork by David Cochard.
While being a euro-style game, it manages to captivate players with its thematic gameplay. The game’s stunning artwork and well-designed game board create a striking table presence, which adds to the immersive experience. It’s a tight game that incorporates elements of deduction and hidden roles, making it a challenging and rewarding experience for players.
One of the standout features of Deal with the Devil is the resource wheel. This mechanism adds a unique twist to the game and keeps things fresh and exciting. Depending on the round, the resources available to players will differ, and players can upgrade the amount they receive through unlocked achievements or building actions. Players have to strategize and plan ahead, ensuring they have the necessary resources to build buildings.
The chest mechanism is another unique feature of the game. The chests have QR codes on the bottom, and an app using the front camera of the device distributes the chests among the players. In the chest, the role of the players and the starting resources or souls are handed out. During the trade phase, the chests are redistributed twice through the app and end up with their owner at the end of the phase. Not knowing who received your chest or who accepted your offer adds a degree of unpredictability and intrigue to the game, which certainly enhances the thematic experience.
One potential downside of the game is that it requires four players to play, which may be challenging for some groups to gather. Additionally, the game’s hidden roles and associated play styles may not appeal to every player, making it a niche game in some regards.
Overall, we think Deal with the Devil is a unique and innovative board game that combines elements of strategy, deduction, and hidden roles in an engaging and immersive way. While it may not be for everyone, it’s a game that is sure to appeal to euro-gamers who are looking for a fresh and challenging experience. With its stunning artwork, well-designed mechanics, and immersive theme, Deal with the Devil is a game that is definitely worth trying out.