Cadaver first saw life as a card game for two or three players published in 2016 by Triple Ace. Cheatwell's edition has resurrected Cadaver with an increase in the number of cards that raises the player count to six players. In Cadaver, the 2-6 players are necromancers using various combinations of resources to raise the dead.
Essentially, Cadaver is a set collection card game. The twist in Kedric Winks' design is that you're not just collecting the resources needed to resurrect corpses, you're also aiming ideally to collect the right combination of resurrected bodies in order to maximise your end-game score: individual raised corpses score just 1 point but you score 5 points for each set of three different corpses and a potentially game-winning 10 points for a set of three identical corpses. The latter is difficult to achieve because there are only three of each type of corpse in the entire deck.
Players each start with a hand of five cards. On your turn, you can play or discard up to two cards and you can draw your hand back up to five. You can also trade cards with other players, but only after you've laid and drawn cards. The game starts off with a couple of each of the three types of resource (brains, scrolls and potions) in a central display. If you have in play in your tableau an accomplice card that corresponds to a resource (for example, the wizard accomplice who corresponds to the scrolls), you can draw cards from the resource pile instead of the draw deck. When you successfully resurrect a corpse by playing its three requisite resources, the raised corpse goes to your score pile and the resources used go into their respective resource draw piles.
The artwork from Augustine's Raginskis may be macabre, in keeping with the theme, but the game itself is a lively mix of set collection, trading and 'take that' sniping between the players. Aside from the resources and accomplices that you might draw from the deck, there are cards representing coffin lids that can be played on a not-yet-resurrected corpse or an accomplice to prevent them being used until a key is played on the coffin lid to discard it. Amulets can be used as a wild resource but are probably best saved for use to counter a ghoul card, which can be used to steal a card (accomplice or not-yet-resurrected corpse) from another player. Ghoul cards can be especially effective as the game hots up - especially if they let you steal the corpse you need to complete a high-scoring matching set of three.
The game ends when the draw deck runs dry. That's fine at the higher player counts but there's a risk that the expanded deck in this edition can make the game overly long if you're just playing with two or three players. From our Board's Eye View plays, we'd recommend thinning the deck (taking out four of the sets of three corpse cards and roughly halving the number of resource cards, ghouls, coffin lids and keys) when playing with lower player counts. That way you're sure to keep players dead keen throughout.