The Second Stab

By Rookery Publications
Art by Mark Gibbons


A second edition of Dark Deeds?

What would draw a hapless minion back to Anthrand’s shadowy embrace? Why prowl her suspiciously sticky streets again? Who would subject themselves to the inscrutable machinations of a cruel and petty Patron one more time? Hopefully, everyone that’s reading this of course, but to answer these questions comprehensively, we must roll back the clock a few years… 

The first edition of Dark Deeds was published by Games & Gears in 2016 and was very much a passion project for all involved. Designers of legend, Andy Chambers and Ryan Miller teamed up with veteran fantasy artist Mark Gibbons, to craft a ‘fiendishly fun little card game’, of skullduggery and suspicion. No expense was spared during production as the creators indulged their love for beautiful gaming pieces – wood tokens and a metal coin, a custom dice, bespoke tuck boxes for the lavishly illustrated card decks, a burlap sack to throw the bits in once the post-game dust had settled, and all bundled up in a beguilingly petite, skull-bedecked box…

Delightful, if a little extravagant. The team had accidentally created the Dark Deeds ‘deluxe’ edition and had to price the final product accordingly.

Despite this, the modest print run of the game’s first edition sold out and from that moment, the seeds of a second stab were sown.

Mark Gibbons takes up the story: ‘After Dark Deeds’ release, Andy and Ryan (quite sensibly), moved on to other projects but I stuck around, working with Games & Gears on a series of booster packs to support Dark Deeds on the convention circuit. As well as being great opportunities to peddle our wares, these events proved invaluable for gathering player feedback and answering questions about the game that we’d not anticipated at the time of writing.’

2017 saw the publication of Darker Deeds, an expansion to the game that collated the limited edition booster packs, along with additional cards, and welcomed ‘The Festival of Solix-Moctis’, which introduced a day/night cycle to the game’s Street.

MG continues: ‘Despite the grand plans of all involved, the relationship with Games & Gears wound down and when it finally came to an end, Dark Deeds enjoyed a lengthy spell in purgatory. I’d been working to drum up interest in a second edition of the game, touting a ‘1.5 version’ of the rules around a big publisher or two, but any hope of that paying off came crashing down in 2020 with the arrival of Covid.’

The uncertainty created by a global pandemic affected the tabletop games industry, just as it did every other, and projects were slowed, suspended, or abandoned entirely.

MG: ‘I needed a distraction. Something I could sink my teeth into that was unrelated to events in the wider world. After playing a Tabletopia demo of a game an old mate back in Nottingham was making, I realised there was a perfect platform for an online version of Dark Deeds, featuring overhauled rules, updated art, and new cards that was within my capabilities to tackle as a solo project. Secretly, I harboured a dream that this new, shiny (just not too shiny) virtual version of the game would catch the eye of a publisher and they’d offer to make a second edition in the real world. I was caught off-guard when this actually happened.’

In the time between creating Dark Deeds: Second Stab for Tabletopia (try it out!) and hearing from Modiphius’ Chris Birch, Mark had teamed up with former Games Workshop comrades Andy Law, Lindsay Law, and Andy Leask to form Rookery Publications.

MG: ‘Chris and I played one game of Dark Deeds on Tabletopia, at the end of which he said Modiphius would like to publish a new edition. Once the smelling salts had been administered and my faculties restored, I realised I’d need my new Rookery teammates to muster sufficient amounts of both spit and polish to raise the game to what I imagined Modiphius would deem the required level. A task we applied ourselves to with wild abandon!’

In a shrewd move, Dark Deeds was licensed to Rookery Publications, allowing the full might of that team’s developmental expertise to be brought to bear. By the time the ink had dried on the contract with Modiphius, Dark Deeds had been tuned to perfection. 

In the coming weeks, future blog posts will explore the game's mechanics, characters, and strategies, and take a close look at all the new edition offers. Our next blog will discuss the game’s influences and inspirations. Until then, may your bolts fly true and your schemes never sunder.

Finally, you can pre-order Dark Deeds now!


If you want to keep up-to-date on all the latest news concerning Dark Deeds, including future blog posts, you can subscribe to the mailing list here. You can also uncover more about Dark Deeds at Rookery Publications’ website. Share your excitement for the game on social media using the hashtag #DarkDeedsGame to connect with fellow minions in the service of our cruel but glorious Patron worldwide!

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