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Deaths of Athazar

Updated: Jun 27, 2023

This is a card game designed and self published by Mark Dawson, who was demonstrating the game at the 2018 UK Games Expo.

The game is easy to learn and quick to play. It's a game where your objective is to be the first to get rid of all your cards. Players each start with a hand of seven cards, each of which features one of 14 characters. Each cards gives that character's strength and sets out any special effect.

On their turn players each choose one of their cards and pass it to the player on their right. Players each then play a card and take the action set out on that card. Ideally, it will be an action to 'kill' (discard) another card in your hand or to pass cards on to another player. Finally, each player draws a card. Turns continue in this way until a player succeeds in disposing of all of their cards.

The game play is simple but the interactions between cards allow ample scope for strategic play. For example, the lowest value card is the Sailor (strength 1). Since there are no cards lower than this, the Sailor cannot kill anyone but he can be useful because the Brawler (strength 2) has the ability to kill Sailors. That means that if you have both these cards in hand, playing the Brawler allows you to eliminate two cards from your hand. Without a Brawler, the Sailor might otherwise be a good card to pass on in the drafting phase. There are cards that can be used to kill any odd numbered card and cards that kill any even number.

Although the luck of the draw inevitably affects this game, knowing what's in the deck can be key to winning in Deaths of Athazar. You'll certainly have a big advantage knowing how many copies there are in the deck of each character type. This is not information that's printed on the cards so it would be helpful if, like Love Letter (AEG) the game came with a summary card that listed each character and the number of times that character appears in the deck.

Mark Dawson has produced Deaths of Athazar in several different designs and with versions in both English and Arabic. You can buy the game through the DoAGames website, where you can also catch videos of the designer discussing winning strategies.

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