Thursday, July 6, 2017

Game Review: The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game

This is a different sort of review, but I've been eagerly awaiting this game for some time now, and it is based off of a book series I adore, so I think it has a place here. The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game was a kickstarter but I didn't get the chance to back it, much to my disappointment since afterwards I realized how many exclusives I missed out on the chance for. I decided I would buy this at the earliest opportunity and a preorder arose that I jumped on because I could also grab the extra packs and expansions. In fact, I got all but one expansion pack, which was a tie in to another series I had never read.

The way the game is complicated, but easy to learn, though it did take me about half an hour to figure out. It would certainly be easier if there were multiple people learning together, and I know they have a video explanation, but I went purely by the guide book. The best way to learn is to play a round or two. Mostly everything is color coordinated, so it's not hard to match what cards deal with other cards, but there are also several numbers to keep an eye on and manage and that doesn't become easy until the second or third time you play. Regardless of how complicated it is it's fun when the ball starts rolling and it really does play as quickly as it says.

I've never played a cooperative card game before so this was completely new to me. Instead of playing against the other players you play against the game itself and you need to have solved more cases than there are monsters left on the board, which is way harder than it sounds. Of the three games I've played so far I've lost all of them. In order to play you need a character deck (for the players) and a book deck (for the game). There are several character decks so you get quite the range to choose from and more than half of the book decks (though many come in expansion packs) and almost three times as many side job cards so that you can create a game that isn't based off of any book in particular. You can also combine the different book decks however you like for an even more unique playing experience, but you cannot combine character decks for obvious reasons.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that you can play this game alone and it actually isn't that much harder, nor that much easier. It plays a really balanced game, and beyond making the decisions for three instead of one, it's just like playing with multiple people. This was the first round I played and it took me a little longer because I was still learning but I really enjoyed it nonetheless. I played the first book deck and a lot of my memories of that book are hazy, but I did recall some of the details that went into this game and enjoyed how it tried to connect to the book. My only problem with playing alone was that there wasn't anyone to talk to and scheme with to try and defeat the game.

I also managed to play two rounds with my parents. We played the first book deck and the second. Neither of my parents have ever read the books (though my dad watched the TV show way back when it was on; not that he remembers it at all) and they had a hard time learning how to play. Half of that I blame on myself for being bad at explaining but I do think it was harder for them to learn because they don't play games like this very often. Even throughout the game I could tell they thought it was overly complicated and while they still enjoyed it to a degree I think it could have been enhanced for them if it was easier. The best way to play would probably be with others who knew the books well (so they could enjoy the finer points of the cards) and had some experience with more complicated board and card games because this one doesn't work as a good primer.

Over even the game itself I love the cards themselves. Some of them are hilarious (looking at you "I don't wear hats!") and all of them are wonderful callbacks to the books. The art, too, is gorgeous and I love seeing all of my favorite characters come alive in this medium. My goal is to play with each character deck at some point so that I can really enjoy them all. If you're a fan and willing to pay and want to play it's definitely worth it.

It's not the best game I've ever played but once I got the hang of it I had such a good time. It's definitely not for newcomers to gaming like this because of all the complications and different pieces you need to keep track of at once, but if you're looking for something that will make you think hard to win it's probably up your alley. You also don't really need to have read the books to understand the game itself but it's more fun (obviously) if you're already a fan. If I was going to rate this, I'd give it about 3.5 stars out of 5.


  1. I had no idea that this existed! I may be getting this in the future!

    1. It's pretty fun! And since you're a fan of the books I think you'll get a kick out of it.


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