Dark Seal Review

Andreil’s Game put out an XBLIG, Dark Seal back in March 2010 and I spent some enjoyable time with it this weekend. Let’s go over this simple to play turn based strategy game. As simple as this game is it, really made me remember what I missed of the board game era.

Dark Seal is played on a hexagonal board filled with hexagonal spaces. Six evil warlocks are vying for control of the Dark Seal, and the one who controls the most territory at the end will be the victor. To stop you from doing this you have 10 waves of good guy troops attempting to take all of the warlocks territory away as well as other warlocks looking to keep you out of the running.

The way the game works is the more territory you own the more spells you’ll have at the beginning of your turn. The spells and your minions are how you will beat back the hero’s and blast the other warlocks. There are a few interesting rules to the game. One is that you can’t use your minions to take a rival warlocks land or attack a rival’s minions. They can only be used against the heroes that move in from the outer ring. Your spells on the other hand can be used against anyone. That is how you strike at your rival warlocks.

There is an aspect of randomness to the game that, I feels adds a great deal to it. The spells you start off with in a round are more like if you had to draw so many cards from the top of a deck, what you get is what you get. They can be very unhelpful or incredibly helpful. This randomness gives any warlock a chance to come back from the brink. That is if they know what they need to do. The magic cards could be as simple as take an empty enemy territory or place two units in one of your territories. Some spell cards destroy a set number of units from a square, and some do that and take the square if it is unoccupied after the troops are destroyed. There is a set of random ones that will randomly switch one square you chose with a randomly picked one on the board. This could be good or terrible for you.

The key thing to remember is territory is what counts the more you own the more cards you get. So if you are wanting a lot of options on your turn you need to maintain control of the majority of spaces. The game may seem very random, in playing it a number of times it really isn’t that random even with the chance of drawing some spells that are weak. Once the final wave hits the turns will continue until the good troops are all gone. No new good troops will arrive so this is your chance to take back the lost territories and steal your rivals land.

Once that last good troop falls the game will finish out the turn and the winner will be the warlock that controls the seal. It’s easy to tell who controls the seal since the seal changes to there color. So you always know who is in the lead. While the computer AI acts a bit erratic at points with their moves, the game is definitely meant for multiplayer. In multiplayer up to 4 of the 6 warlocks can be players, sadly you can’t choose which warlock you want to be.

The music isn’t really worth noting and visually the game isn’t stunning or anything like that. What it does have is simple game play, that classic board game with card drawing feel and a great multiplayer strategy game that won’t take you multiple days to finish.

I give this a 3 out of 5. I think some people will be expecting more than what this game is, not to mention that its true shine is in its local multiplayer. So if you got some friends to play it with, it’s well worth the 80 msp otherwise play the trial first.