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Grab Your Darkest Lipstick and Blackest T-Shirts: 3 New Dark Fantasy Games are Headed Your Way

Ancient Blood: The Order of Vampire Hunters – Gamefound Dec. 14

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In 2016, Dark Gate Games ran a very successful Kickstarter for their vampire-themed dungeon crawler, The Order of Vampire Hunters. The game brought room after room of terrifying vampiric nightmare creatures to thousands of tabletops around the world. And just like any vampire worth its salt (grave dirt?), they’re back!

The original Order of Vampire Hunters is a well-designed dungeon crawler where players craft weapons, kick open doors, and fight a lot of vampires. One of the game’s best tricks was its Day/Night feature. During the day, the vampires sleep and only attack when you enter their sleeping chambers. And if said chamber has a boarded up window, players can rip it open, flood the room with daylight, and burn all the vampires to a crisp. But if you’re too slow and night falls, get ready. The vampires in all unexplored rooms suddenly wake up simultaneously and go on the offense.

The exact moment when three vampire hunters spontaneously and simultaneously decided they needed a new career path.
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Currently, the word on Ancient Order is that it will be a prequel that takes place hundreds of years prior to the original game when vampires were more or less running amok. According to Dark Gate Games, this new installment will keep many of the same rules but the two games will not be compatible. This is because Ancient Blood seems to be going the legacy route. Player decisions will now affect later gameplay and the characters will level up as the game proceeds. But don’t worry. There are still plenty of terrifying vampires to slay and lots of ways to do it.

Nope.
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Rise of the Necromancers – Gamefound Jan. 10

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Rise of the Necromancers is one of the most “metal” games I think I’ve ever encountered. Just reading the rules, I kept imagining bands like GWAR and Lordi churning out the heaviest of power chords in the background. That’s because the name of this game says it all: gather a hoard of the undead and become king of the necromancers! Even typing that was an effort just to keep my hands on the keyboard rather than throw devil horns. Originally published by Sore Loser Games in 2017, Mythic is going to give it and the first expansion, Dawn & Demons, a reprint similar to their recent Monsterpocalypse project. Also like their Monsterpocalypse Kickstarter, this new edition will also feature brand new expansion, Undead Sea.

The game pits 2 to 5 fledgling necromancers against each other with each trying to place 13 Dominion tokens on the board to become “King of the Necromancers”. But if you want the crown, you’re gonna to have to earn it. Every player begins as a nameless necromancer looking to earn a name and reputation. Players begin each game with 3 randomly selected necromancers they can evolve into which right away adds a good deal of re-playability. And choose wisely because once you’ve taken on your role, you’re stuck with it for the rest of the game.

Evil necromancer? Check! Evil dice? Double check!
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From there, it’s time to start raising your army and putting down stakes. Gather apprentices to your side and travel the world seeking out necromantic components for your army of skeletons, zombies, hell knights, and skeletal dragons. Use your apprentices to help you quest through dungeons and your undead minions to battle your opponents for control of various locations including cities, libraries, and workshops. All the while you will be collecting new spells and items to help you edge out the competition.

The Dawn & Demons expansion will, of course, introduce demons for your necromancers to summon. But as everyone knows, making deals with demons is a historically bad idea and this case is no different. These summoned demons eventually destroy all of the land, forcing your necromancer to take to the seas, and this is so good, as a ghost ship. There you will turn your conquering eye to the surrounding islands while also dredging up undead sea beasts to follow in your ships wake. So. Damn. Metal. I asked for there to be shredding guitar riffs and pyrotechnics here, but my editor said, and I quote, “Get out.” So you’ll just have to imagine it.

Demons, sure. What could go wrong?
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Legacy of Thracks – Kickstarter 2022

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The Legacy of Thracks is not for the faint of heart. Not because of an intensely dark theme but rather because of its massive scope. From first time designer Balázs Svéda, this beast of a game is a hugely ambitious undertaking with deep game play, an equally deep lore, and a multitude of game modes.

This large-scale area control and resource management game puts 1 to 4 players in the role of one of the 4 clan champions: Warrior, Mage, Engineer, or Shadow. Each is working to enter the fabled city of Dimara, home to the god-like Anduril. Unfortunately, the city exists in another dimension behind a series of magical barriers and can only be accessed by a single worthy champion. Which is why players are racing to polish up their celestial resumés before the game’s timer runs out. The barriers can be brought down in a number of ways which means that players can pursue a number of strategies. Players can buy their way in by presenting relics as tribute, mining crystals and relics to complete quests, or simply sacrificing money and even your own hit points. Or characters can prove their worth by earning glory in combat: either in duels against their opponent or by ransacking their opponent’s capital.

“Even this colossal game board isn’t big enough for the both of us!”
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But that’s just the basic version of the game. This game comes with a total of 4 different game modes: the aforementioned basic, clan, shadow, and solo. In Clan mode, each of the heroes gains a special deck of action cards which plays to their clan’s strengths. Additionally, each hero gets a skill tree to further customize the character and let each clan’s unique strengths and flavor shine. Shadow mode throws another interesting twist into the game, pitting the Warrior, Mage, and Engineer clans against Mortred and the evil Shadows who are bent on conquering Dimara. In this version, the heroic trio are racing to get into Dimara before the Shadows, who grow stronger with each passing turn, make that impossible. There are also customizable game lengths. Finish a short game in about 90 minutes, or make a day of it with some friends and play up to 5 hours in epic mode. And in between games, make sure to read up on the game’s nearly 60 pages of lore for the full, immersive experience.

by Zane Messina

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