Dread Draw is a Bloody Game of Competitive Fortune Telling

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Death. Domination. Revenge. Victory.

These are but 4 of the many fortunes that await you in the game of Dread Draw. An upcoming release by designer Ryan Miller and publisher Upper Deck, Dread Draw is described as a game of competitive fortune telling. The future is grim it seems. A large deck of cards will deliver these fortunes–some hellish and some not–to the table round after round. The winner is the one who can survive the longest.

Everyone begins the game on equal footing. Each player receives a deck of 10 cards that represent their life. The rest are shuffled and the game begins. It’s fitting that a game of fortune telling begins with reliance on fate. One by one, players draw a card off the top of the deck hoping that each drawn card is a higher value than the ones they’ve previously drawn. If so, it’s placed to the right of previously summoned cards.

Turn by turn, the stakes escalate. You must draw a card of higher value than one on the rightmost position of your display. If not, you’re out of the round. This continues until there is one player left. They win the round and deal damage to everyone at the table based on which morbid monsters have come out of the deck.

That seems simple, but many of the 100 cards include special abilities. Some will activate when the card is Summoned-played to the table-but others activate only when a player loses. In a system that immediately makes me think of a blood sacrifice, players get to keep one of the cards they discard when they take damage. This card enters the reserve. Again there is potential for an ability, but more importantly cards in the reserve can be summoned to the table in lieu of relying on fortune to smile on that draw deck.

It seems that players who pay with their Life points gain strategic benefits. Cards like The Oracle allow that player to see what’s coming up in the deck. Others allow you to rearrange your display or even take cards into your reserve. Your opponents may be opening wounds in you but they’re also opening your strategy. Clever selection and manipulation of the cards you’re forced to discard will hopefully allow you to bend fortune to your favor.

A number of artists have been involved in bringing this macabre world of providence and pain to life. While some cards-like The Mother and The Mage-seem innocent enough, most of the art we’ve seen paints a rather grim view of the future. Dread Draw portends a future of monsters, demons, and violence. It does not seem that one can escape without getting at least a little bloody.

In a light nod to fortune telling and Tarot, the player who does win gets to reveal any cards remaining in their life deck. The first relates to the present; the 2nd to the immediate future. Any other cards in the deck attempt to give the winner a look into the far future. Of course, it’s up to the players to discuss and figure out what they really mean. Perhaps drawing Revenge is a sign you should shuffle and deal out for a rematch?

If we’re reading our cards correctly, Dread Draw will be available from retailers this year.

Do you see this game in your future? Tell us in the comments!

Image Credits: Upper Deck Entertainment

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Upper Deck Entertainment. 

In addition to Geek & Sundry, Raf Cordero writes for Miniature Market’s The Review Corner and co-hosts the gaming podcast Ding & Dent. Chat with him on Twitter @captainraffi.

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