What Has Changed?

By Rookery Publications
Art by Mark Gibbons


Left to their own devices, games designers will tweak and polish their beloved creations until the results are prised from their cold, dead fingers (and considering the sinister forces often at play in this line of work, possibly long after). It should come as no great surprise that the fiendish minds behind Dark Deeds could not leave well enough alone, and that eight years after the first edition of the game slipped from the shadows, a sneakier, stabbier, and allround superior version would step up to take its place.

As every designer knows, a bout or two of rigorous playtesting is vital to healthy game development, but no matter how robust the process, it’s unlikely to reveal every last glitch or cover all possible player eventualities. Sooner or later, your game will ‘face the enemy’ and there will be consequences!

Despite an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the first edition of Dark Deeds, there were a handful of ‘pain-points’ players would highlight when asked for feedback. The game’s designers set about fixing these issues, ready for the second edition they hoped would someday appear.

Additionally, the early booster packs and Darker Deeds expansion had included cards that leant into gameplay elements players had expressed a particular fondness for – primarily (and unsurprisingly), the confounding of rival minions’ efforts – so plans were drawn up to include many more of those in the game’s inevitable new edition.

As previously discussed, Dark Deeds originally contained components usually reserved for ‘deluxe’ editions and although the designers were determined to maintain that high quality, they tightened their budgetary pursestrings to ensure the game’s second edition would be reasonably priced. The box’s contents, although less extravagant, would be refined, expanded, and polished to a sheen that no potential minion could ever resist!

The most significant change in gameplay between first and second editions of Dark Deeds is the way Loot works. Previously, Loot cards were part of the Tavern deck and could be picked up alongside Plots and the eponymous Dark Deeds themselves. Despite being in-hand, a Loot card could not actually be played until the item it represented had been successfully robbed from an appropriate Citizen. This ‘delay in gratification’ proved confusing to new players and the most significant of the pain-points highlighted. Loot was comparatively rare, sometimes difficult to play. And if the dice was unkind, a player could find themselves without a decent selection of sneaky/stabby items to hand for much of the game.

It was imperative this changed – amazing items of Loot needed to be flying around the table constantly! To achieve this, three separate Loot decks were established (one each for Artisans, Clerics, and Merchants), many more Loot items created, and all associated points costs removed. Now, once a player had successfully robbed a Citizen, an appropriate item travelled straight from its deck to the table in a single action.

Cue the Loot frenzy!

The other significant change to Dark Deeds’ gameplay was the swapping of dice from a single d12 to 2d6. The resultant change in predictability encouraged players to develop strategies that were less likely to be undone by a single, agonising dice roll. Card numbers throughout the game were rebalanced to ensure the right level of risk vs reward remained.

Finally, there are 50% more cards in the second edition of Dark Deeds. More Plots, more Loot, more Dark Deeds themselves. There’s an entirely new mechanic built around The Curfew card that will keep players on tenterhooks as the game draws to a close.

It’s fair to say that Dark Deeds has been rebuilt from the ground up for its second edition. Although still a masterpiece of dastardly design, the gameplay is more generous and forgiving. Loot is more plentiful, as are the opportunities to confound the machinations of rival players by robbing them of it. Although tuned for a new generation of minions, those long in the service of our glorious Patron will find fresh delights and we encourage them to explore the game anew.

Our next blog will delve into the shadowy secrets of the great port-city that is Anthrand. Keep an eye out for trouble as we cautiously examine Dark Deeds’ world of the cheeky-sneaky. Don that ragged black cowl and grab your trusty stabber as we step out onto the filth-slick street.

Until then, 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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