it’s a nice bit of strategy. The villainess’ are fun and unique with a very different feeling decks.
Theme and What is it?
The land has been gripped in the taloned claws of evil. The call for heroes has gone out and every prince worth the name has ventured into the dark woods. Now it’s up to you and the other princes to save these hapless though well-meaning fools. Ready your weapons, put on your game face, and gather your squad; it’s go time.
Charmed and Dangerous: the Sisters Grimm is a cooperative card game where you and up to three other princess will delve into the lair of a dark villainess and battle to free to kingdom from their clutches. You’ll be playing princess from popular stories who have been given an adventure game style reworking with a class and skills. All the while you’ll be facing the ticking clock of the Forces of Evil and the master Scheme of the enemy. Can you win the day before your resources are depleted, the villainess completes their scheme, or you and your friends succumb to all of the curses?
It’s time to get Charmed and Dangerous.
Charmed and Dangerous: the Grimm Sisters is a cooperative, card driven, dungeon crawler. You’ll need to balance the cards you have in hand and deck against the enemies you’ll need to defeat and the constantly advancing a scheme of the Dark Villainess.
The majority of the gameplay will revolve around the Forces of Evil (FoE) deck. After the deck is prepared by choosing a villainess, a lair, and combining their cards with four scheme and four lair cards to make the FoE deck. When setting up the deck, you’ll need to divide it into equal stacks to distribute the Lair and Scheme cards evenly throughout the game. You’ll also deal nine face-down cards into a 3×3 grid.
On your turn you’ll choose to explore, encounter a card, or resting. Most of your turns will be taken up with exploring. You’ll choose a facedown card from the array and reveal it. If it’s a creature, it will have a challenge rating that will correspond to one or more of the four stats in the game. In order to complete the challenge, your stats need to be equal to or higher than the creatures. You can accomplish this by taking part in a solo challenge and playing cards from your hand to overcome the monsters or opening up as a squad challenge and allowing other princesses to play cards on the challenge.
If you successfully complete the challenge, then you may add the card to your reward stack or hold it for later. FoE cards may only be added as a reward if you naturally have points in the stat they improve, or if you have an equipped item in that stat. If you can’t equip the treasure, you may store it for playing at any future time you meet the requirements. Any princess who aided you in the challenge may draw a card from the Charmed and Dangerous deck as a reward.
If you can’t defeat the challenge, then you and any princess that played cards must face a penalty to retreat. This penalty can be avoided by discarding a Prince Charming card from your hand.
Encountering on your turn means you’ll encounter a face-up card that was left from a previous round. Rest will allow you to draw extra cards and remove any curses on your princess.
At the end of your turn, the forces of evil take their turn. This will involve replacing cards in the array, or discarding cards if there are no empty spaces. Taking actions for the villainess depending on whether she’s been revealed.
After a condition is met, based on the villainess you are facing, they will be revealed. This will make her perform an action during evils turn but will also mean she can be challenged and defeated. Once a player feels they can take the boss out, they may challenge her on their turn and cards are played as normal. If you defeat her then, you win.
However, if a combination of five lair and scheme cards are put into play, then you are defeated. You can also lose the game if you run the Charmed and Dangerous deck before defeating the boss.
I was very excited about this game. I like the reimagining of the princess as Dungeons & Dragons style adventures. I enjoyed their choice of princesses and like the art I’d seen online. This game looked to be a fun experience.
Game Build Quality
The card quality in this game is excellent. They used a linen finish which should hold up to shuffling and play well enough that they shouldn’t need sleeving. However, they used a foil coating on the larger tarot sized character cards. This made the numbers difficult to read in most cases. We were constantly having to lift the villainess cards and angle them so we could make out the numbers.
The rules are also a bit of a mess. We had several questions that we needed answering, and some things aren’t explained until later in the book. For example, the setup lists Prince Charming cards as a separate type of card, it isn’t until later in the rules that you learn they were supposed to be shuffled into the Charmed and Dangerous deck. Several rounds of my first game were trying to figure out how to draw Charming cards since they were so necessary for so many things. Additionally, the rules state you can discard a Charming Card to remove a curse without suffering its effects. However, there’s no list on timing. Do we have to wait until our turn, can we do it instead of taking the curse, or is it something we can only do while resting?
The rules need a serious FAQ.
The art is very good. I really enjoyed the different takes on the princess characters and the action shots on several of the cards. Both of the lairs have distinct card backs that are thematically similar enough that they keep the same sense of continuity to the game but are obviously different enough to be their own things.
This is a bit of a puzzle game. You’ll be playing cards and trying to decide when you can and can’t defeat a challenge. Trying to play the best use of each princess’s power and how to implement who will be the brunt of the attack force in the game. You’ll need to communicate with the other players and plan accordingly to make your way through this game.
Age Range & Weight
The box says 12+ and I’d say that’s about right. The general mechanics are decently simple to follow and it’s a pretty easy game to learn for the most part. See my section on build and quality for more on the rules.
Overall, I enjoy this game. I think it’s a nice bit of strategy. The villainess’ are fun and unique with a very different feeling decks. You’ll have interesting decisions to make and the push to work together kept everyone engaged even when it wasn’t their turn.
There are some problems. The rules need more work. I covered it back in Game Build and Quality, but it can’t be expressed enough how hard the game was to learn because of them. I’m still not sure we were using the Charming Cards exactly right.
Then there are decisions I’m not sure of. Separating the FoE deck to spread out the lair and scheme cards made sense except the amount of things that shuffle the FoE deck. Dorothy’s hero power shuffles the FoE deck every time you use it. The amount you shuffle makes the sets during set up feel wasted.
Finally, the game doesn’t scale well. It’s significantly easier at four players than it is a two. The game says it can be played solo, but that means you’ll be running multiple characters. A lot of cards in the deck are about Squad Challenges and if you’re going it solo those are all space fillers.
This review feels exceptionally negative. I don’t mean for it to sound that way. I like this game. It’s not great by any means but it is fun and I think with a little more tweaking and this game could be really great. It absolutely needs to redo the foil on the cards. If it were just on the pictures that would be great, but since it’s on the numbers, rules, and text it hinders the game more than enhance.
As always, try before you buy. Head to your local game store or con and give the game a play. I think it’s worth the time and if it gets a second printing/edition, it could be doing really nice.
Until next time, be well.
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