Cards or Die Cracker Games Review


The first review of the Cracker Games is in… and it’s a goodie!

“I have bought more expensive crackers but even the higher end of the cracker ‘gift’ range includes a lot of useless tat. The Dark Imp Christmas Cracker offers an impressive solution to this quandary.” says Ann Jones in the Cards or Die review.

Yes folks, I know it’s August, but you need to be quick off the draw to get your hands on our Cracker Games. The Cracker Game Kickstarter campaign is launching on 1st September and running during September only.

Here’s more from Ann’s review:

“The whole package is eco-friendly – no plastic novelties here and no sneaky plastic coating that makes otherwise recyclable materials head straight to landfill. Instead you get sturdy cardboard and wooden pieces and an ethically produced cotton drawstring bag.

“All the games play up to 6 people. The games are quick to learn, fun to play and are strategic enough to entertain all abilities making it a brilliant gift for any family. There is a variety of complexity so you can choose the perfect game to match your mood, alcohol level or food coma status! While you could just leave it on the games shelf and play these clever little games all year round, ours is going to live with the decorations and become part of our traditions on Christmas day.

“I’ve become increasingly uncomfortable with wasting money on something each year that impacts the environment so negatively and I’m more than happy to have this as a replacement [to regular crackers]. I’m amazed by the diversity in these games – with just some cubes, 6 screens, 6 imps and one deck of cards Dark Imp games have created something impeccable.”

Read the full review to find out what Ann thought of each of the six games in the cracker. 

Two Tabletop Gaming Magazine Reviews

Both Top Cake and Don’t Count Your Chickens have had great reviews from Chad Wilkinson in the August edition of Tabletop Gaming Magazine. You can read them below…

Don’t Count Your Chickens

“Ellie Dix’s charming small tin game of competitive fowl raising is a unique merging of genre and mechanics, tasking players with the tricky challenge of simultaneously gathering birds whilst picking apart the puzzle of each bird’s value. Oftentimes, an original idea results in a steeper learning curve, but occasionally it just clicks. Don’t Count Your Chickens snugly fits into the latter, pairing its central hidden information mechanic with worker placement in a way that just feels right.

“Much of this is down to its relative simplicity. Like most games in the genre, turns consist of placing a worker on a particular action, gaining its benefits whilst blocking them for others. With a central area of only seven action spaces, Don’t Count Your Chickens strays from the usual generous formula found in classic games like Caverna, and conversely uses a sense of restriction to evoke tension.

“This restriction is amplified further through the clever mini bluffing game that kicks off each round. Players secretly choose one of the three coloured bird types to display. Any duplicates among players are instantly discarded with any remaining unique birds granting players a bonus bird of another colour. The downside is that this bird type can no longer be taken or traded in any of that player’s actions throughout the round.

“The meat (poultry?) of the game lies in the action spaces. Some simply gift players with more birds from the market or discard coop, whilst others offer up snippets of information on the value of each bird. Finding the balance between gathering information and snatching up as many birds as you can is an immensely satisfying puzzle. Acting too hastily can result in an abundance of animals known to be high value, being cancelled out by a flock of unknowingly negative scoring birds at the end of the game. Such a clever idea could easily have become a more ambitious project. But ambitious doesn’t always mean better.”

Top Cake

“Top Cake is a deceptively simple auction game from The Dark Imp’s growing line of attractive small tin offerings. Competing as aspiring hoteliers at a confectionery trade show, players will bid on layers of cake each round and add them to their display, aiming to astound the judges with the most impressive cakes at the end of the game.

“Each bid is made up of two cards – one face up and one face down – from players’ hands of ten. Values range from one to eight, plus a Snatch and a Reverse card which mix up the usual highest bid wins formula.

“A decent amount of player interaction comes from the inevitable bluffing, as players cautiously ponder over which card to place face down and when best to use their Reverse and precious one-use-only Snatch cards. Furthermore, it pays to be cautiously aware on each player’s turn, as any matching cards on a cake layer are removed from play. Comically, this encourages plenty of suspicious, mind-reading glares game after game.

“The icing on the cake is how Dix taps into that satisfying feeling of ‘building’ something that is so often desired in the hobby. Thanks to its aesthetic design, Top Cake isn’t merely asking players to collect abstract sets; it’s tasking players with building a towering cake. The game packs in seven unique types of cake, each boasting distinct, minimalist design thanks to artist Anastasia Cartovenco. As auctions are won, players will stack their cakes with these cleverly overlapping cards, hoping to score extra points through matching layers and crowning them with ornate toppers. It’s a satisfying process, undoubtably helped by its impressive table presence considering the game’s diminutive size. Top Cake manages to push its novelty size aside, admirably presenting itself as a game capable of competing with designs twice its size and price.”

Brains Behind Games Podcast

I was thrilled to be interviewed by Chris Winterburn on the Brains Behind Games Podcast from The Unicorn Collective.

In these podcasts, Chris interviews a variety of board game designers and talks about the process, method and inspiration behind game design. 

Here’s the video of the podcast for you to watch.

Things past and things to come

I’ve been on holiday for the last two weeks with very limited internet. I fully intended to keep up my posting schedule, but it wasn’t possible with the speed of the connections in the remote locations I was holidaying. So there has been fewer videos and posts than normal. 

However… I’m back now and I’ll be jumping into my normal schedule, so you can look forward to more videos and blogs in the days and weeks to come.