Get Inside New GF9 D&D Board Game – Tyrants Of The Underdark

May 7, 2016 by brennon

The team at Gale Force Nine have been looking towards exploring more of the mechanics behind Tyrants of the Underdark, their new Dungeons & Dragons board game in conjunction with Wizards of the Coast. If you're a fan of Drow this might be for you...

Tyrants of the Underdark (Box)

The game sees you playing as a variety of Drow House vying for control of the Underdark by whatever means necessary. This could be with the application of force or through other more nefarious means.

Tyrants of the Underdark (Rear)

What am I saying - you're playing Drow - of course you're going to be employing plenty of backstabbing!

Game Overview

One of the first articles that Gale Force Nine put together was about the main focus of the game and the set up for it too. You can see the typical set up for the game below...

Tyrants Set Up

This is the set up for a four player game. You can find a full run down of how you begin to play over HERE on their website. The stage is set for a good old showdown!

Tyrants Game Components

You will be making your way around the board employing the abilities of powerful minions and taking control of vital key locations in the Underdark allowing you to claim Victory Points for the end of the game.

I'm really liking the look of the little Drow miniatures we get inside this game. While it could easily have simply been counters for this I think the fact that we have proper spies adds a lot to the feel of the game. That and the big House Shields for troops representing entire armies!

Catch A Run Down Of The Game

You can actually see a great interview with John Paul Brisigotti which we conducted with him about Tyrants on The Weekender episode above.

We think the rules for this are rather snazzy!

The Cards

Additionally the folks at Gale Force Nine did a good breakdown of a card so that you can see how it might work in the context of the game.

Tyrants Card Anatomy

We've included the key here...

  1. Name
  2. Cost. How much Influence you must expend to recruit the card.
  3. Aspect. Minions represent different aspects of drow society, as shown by their card symbols.
  4. Minion Type. What type of creature the minion is.
  5. Deck Symbol. Which market half-deck the card belongs to.
  6. Rules Text. What the card does when you play it.
  7. Story Text. Gives some insight into the minion’s story, but has no effect on gameplay.
  8. Deck VP Value. How many victory points the card is worth in your deck, hand, or discard pile at the end of the game.
  9. Inner-Circle VP Value. How many victory points the card is worth in your inner circle at the end of the game.
  10. Rarity. How many times you’ll find the card in a half-deck. For example, a card with two dots has two copies in its half-deck.

Some more examples of what the cards are going to look like.



Another important part of the game when it comes to getting these cards out onto the table is exactly what resources you have at your disposal.

Resource Management

When you're playing Tyrants of the Underdark you'll have some key resources to keep control of called Power & Influence. You expend these each turn trying to spend as much as possible since once the turn is over - it's gone.

Tyrants CardsPower (Represented By A Sword Icon) - Power allows you to exert control over the Underdark game map. With Power you can deploy your troops, assassinate enemy troops, and return spies.

Influence (Represented By A Spider Web Icon) - Influence allows you to recruit cards from the game board.

Tyrants Core Cards

In true Deck Builder fashion you'll be buying cards to include within your hand and spending them to get minions down onto the board and more. In this sense you'll be trying to manage your deck to include cards which suit your way of playing the game.

One thing that strikes me when you see this game is the wealth of exciting artwork that they've picked up from D&D to use here. That and the little quotes on the bottom to give some context to the use of the cards, a nice touch.

If you'd like to know more you can get out the newest Dragon+ Article which looked at the game some more!

Do you like the look of Tyrants of the Underdark?

"What am I saying - you're playing Drow - of course you're going to be employing plenty of backstabbing!"

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"I'm really liking the look of the little Drow miniatures [...] the fact that we have proper spies adds a lot to the feel of the game..."

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