Dead Man’s Draw is a fantastic card game. Although a lot of it may be luck-based, the AI never appears to have an advantage and, for the most part, the AI plays fair.
The game is really easy to learn. I picked it up in the very first match I played, probably because the concept is simple: Draw cards to fill up the various suites in your hand, but draw too many, and risk losing the currently drawn cards. For example, if I draw three cards from the deck: a sword, an anchor, and a cannon, and then draw another card of the same type (like another cannon), then I lose those three cards and cannot add them to my hand. The goal is to have the highest number of each suite in your hand, combining to form the highest overall score.
Each card ranges from values 2-7. Whatever value is the highest that you currently have in hand will be the one added to your score. You can have others of the same suite, but they wont be counted towards your total score. The optimal hand would consist of a 7 from each suite: anchor, hook, crystal ball (?), cutlass, treasure chest, key, cannon, barnacle, mermaid, and scroll. At the end of the game, the player with the highest score wins.
The gameplay seems simple, yes, but it gets progressively gets increasingly complex the more you play it. Eventually, each suite will have its own ability. The cannon, for example, when drawn from the deck, allows you to discard one of your opponent’s cards. If you’re smart, you’ll usually go for whichever card has the highest value in its suite. Later on, an ability is also added to the cutlass, allowing you to, upon draw, steal the top suite from your opponent for a suite that you currently do not have. Each card will eventually have their own abilities, all of which are very fun to use.
Once you’ve unlocked all of the card’s abilities, you’ll get into character traits, which allow you, and you specifically, to make use of a special trait. The first one you’ll unlock makes it so the cannon removes an entire suite of cards, instead of the highest number of that suite, from your opponent. This prevents them from having a backup to replace that suite once the higher number is removed.
The AI in the game also puts up a fair fight. They don’t seem “too” lucky, but they do know their math, and will make a lot of good decisions. Regardless, I still found the game surprisingly easy, even in the later levels. I only ever lost a couple of times, and those few losses were very close matches too.
Overall, Dead Man’s Draw is a must-buy. It is incredibly fun. Although it may appear boring, or simple, it can certainly provide a one-of-a-kind experience.