Review: Valeria: Card Kingdoms - Darksworn (No Spoilers)

Review: Valeria: Card Kingdoms - Darksworn (No Spoilers)

A story unfolds over 6 books filled with tasks, boons, dangers, and lurking evil.

Designed by Isaias Vallejo and published by Daily Magic Games
👤  2-5 players
🧩  Card Drafting, Dice Rolling
⚖️  Light-Medium (For Families and Gamers)

You will need the help of the Citizens in your fight against the darkness
The playmat and some of the citizens and monsters shown in the pictures are not included in the Darksworn expansion


Valeria: Card Kingdoms - Darksworn is an expansion for Valeria: Card Kingdoms that changes the game from a competitive experience to a co-operative one. If you're not familiar with Valeria: Card Kingdoms, checkout our review:

Valeria: Card Kingdoms (2nd Edition)
Use magic, money, and might to recruit citizens, defeat monsters, and conquer lands. Designed by Isaias Vallejo and published by Daily Magic Games 👤 1-5 players 🧩 Card Drafting, Dice Rolling ⚖️ Light-Medium (For Families and Gamers) GameplayValeria: Card Kingdoms is a tableau-building game. The…

The Darksworn expansion introduces a new yet familiar way to play Valeria: Card Kingdoms (VCK). Darksworn comes with six sealed books that introduce a continuing story that each change the gameplay slightly. The books introduce new rules and tasks that you must complete in order to progress the story. Darksworn plays mostly the same as an ordinary game of VCK, but there are some changes to the original gameplay.

Monster Phase
There is now a new Monster Phase after the Actions Phase in which the monsters will attack. Each monster in the monster row is associated with a number and when that number was rolled during the Roll phase, that monster will attack. Walls provide additional protection from the attacking monsters, but if they make it past the walls, citizens will get captured by the monsters.

Darksworn changes the win conditions which make the total number of VP's at the end of the game irrelevant. Players can spend VP's to active blessings which grant the players various benefits like building walls, releasing citizens or discarding monsters.

During a game of Darksworn tasks are introduced to the players that need to be completed by spending resources. For players to win the game they need to complete all the tasks that are presented by the book. However, when a monster needs to capture a citizen from the central stack below it and there are none to capture, the players immediately loses the game.

When the monsters get through the walls, citizens can be captured

The Good

  • The fast familiar gameplay we know and love from VCK!
  • The rules and mechanics introduced by the 6 books offer plenty of variations on the original gameplay
  • The books and monster phase introduce tension and excitement. You really need to work together to complete all the tasks!
  • After the 6 books there is a unique way to keep playing the co-operative experience.
  • Rulebook offers a way to scale the difficulty

The Bad

  • Set-up and tear-down is still pretty long, and the books specific set-up do not make this easier.
  • Like with most story driven game, once you've completed it there is not much desire to replay it those books again.
  • Tasks introduced by the books can feel a bit repetitive.
  • Increases the upkeep between turns a bit
Collect resources to complete tasks, recruit citizens or slay monsters

Valeria: Card Kingdoms - Darksworn

⭐ 8/10

🎨 Artwork & Design: 9/10
The art by The Mico is fantastic and the iconography is clear and concise.
🎲 Gameplay & Innovation: 8/10
Darksworn changes VCK into a co-operative experience that changes the experience drastically (in a good way!) but by retaining the core gameplay we all know and love.
📖 Rules: 8/10
The Rulebook is good. The cumulative rules introduced by the books can be a bit hard to remember.
♻️ Replay value: 7/10
I don't think there is much fun in replaying the books. But we might revisit the co-operative experience introduced after book 6.
😀 Fun: 8/10
You really need to work together to be able to complete the tasks. This combined with the core gameplay from VCK makes this a really solid expansion.

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Looking for alternatives or similar games? Vikings Gone Wild: Ragnarok changes the Vikings Gone Wild competitive gameplay to a co-operative experience in a similar fashion