In a world devastated by a new ice age, the game of exploration and survival known as D.E.I. takes players on a journey through the icy deserts of the future cities, where resources are scarce, and survivors are forced to band together in order to stay alive. In this game, each player controls one of the four bands of survivors, seeking out technological materials and energy cells to trade with the Purebred for food and fuel. However, the Purebred, who are the only ones with high technology, control the survivors, managing them and pitting them against each other to maintain their power. Amidst this struggle for survival and dominance, a rebellion is brewing, and players must navigate the dangers of Old London to gather information and prepare for the Day of Awakening.
2-4 players, ages 14+
Playing time: 60-90 minutes
Designer: Tommaso Battista
Artwork: Fernando Armentano, Simone de Paolis, Tommaso Incecchi & Giovanni Pirrotta
Publisher: Ludus Magnus Studio
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❄️ D.E.I. (Divide et Impera) is a strategy game set on a modular board of districts divided into ground and roof regions. The game is played over four turns, each consisting of three action phases and a clean-up phase. Players control a faction of Scrappers who search for scrap and use it to buy items, improve their skills, and gain victory points by satisfying Purebred requests through public missions. The game ends after the fourth turn, and the player with the most supplies wins.
🏗️ During the first action phase, each player plays two action cards to perform basic actions, such as moving units, collecting resources, and constructing refuges. The second action phase is similar, but players can also unlock feats, providing additional skills to be used in subsequent turns. During the third action phase, players must complete a mission to gain supplies. These missions require players to assign faction tokens to public missions, with supplies awarded based on mission completion.
🏭 In addition to basic actions, advanced actions are available through market cards, which can be purchased during the game. These advanced actions include copying previously played actions, gaining supplies, killing opponent units, and activating the Purebred’s drones. The drones provide various benefits, such as collecting resources, enlisting scrappers, or attacking opposing factions.
❄️ At the end of each turn, players perform a clean-up phase, moving action cards to the recycle bin, returning face-up action cards to their hand, and advancing the turn marker. After the fourth turn, players count their supplies, including those gained from controlling outposts, unlocking feats, and collecting technology and energy cell tokens. Market cards purchased during the game also provide supplies. The player with the highest supply value at the end of the game wins.
🕵️♂️ The first time I played D.E.I., I was immediately drawn in by its intriguing combination of area control and euro-style mechanics. I found the changing board, asymmetric factions, and evolving victory point objectives engaging and enjoyable, making me eager to dive deeper into the game.
🏔️ The components and artwork of D.E.I. create a captivating atmosphere of a city during a new ice age. With its shades of white and grey, the multi-level board genuinely immerses players in the setting, making each game feel like a true adventure.
🔍 As I played D.E.I. more and more, I discovered a wealth of depth and strategy. The layers of decision-making, from area control to resource management, create a challenging experience that requires careful planning and adaptability. The asymmetric factions and their evolving powers ensure that each game feels fresh and distinct, offering a variety of tactics to explore.
🏆 One of D.E.I.’s strengths is its replayability. The dynamic gameplay and variable victory point conditions ensure that no two games are alike. This, coupled with the asymmetric factions, keeps players engaged and eager to test new strategies in their pursuit of victory.
👥 D.E.I. also encourages player interaction, striking a delicate balance between cooperation and competition. Controlling territory is crucial for success, fostering a healthy level of rivalry and suspense among players. Despite the game’s bleak setting, this friendly competition generates an enjoyable experience that holds players’ interest throughout.
💡 However, there are a couple of minor negative points worth mentioning. The end-game scoring can feel somewhat overly generous, with almost everything being worth points. This has the potential to dilute the strategic importance of certain decisions, making the game seem more forgiving than it should be. Additionally, there were some issues with the iconography being a bit confusing at times.
❄️ In conclusion, D.E.I. is a captivating and enthralling game that offers a fresh take on familiar mechanics. Its dynamic gameplay, rich depth, and player interaction make it a game I enjoy exploring. Although I had a few minor issues with the iconography, they do not detract from the game’s overall enjoyment. If you’re seeking a unique and immersive experience, I highly recommend giving D.E.I. a try.
Don’t miss your chance to get your hands on a copy of D.E.I. – the exciting post-apocalyptic game of exploration and survival. Check out the reprint campaign now live on Gamefound!