Theme and What is it?
Deranged is a dark, horror-fantasy game. Players are marked with a curse and are semi-cooperatively working together to rid the town of monsters. But, beware! Each night turns a player into a Deranged monster! The only way for them to turn back is to kill a fellow hero!
The heroes must escape the town through the Enchanted gate in their human form and be free from all curses! Can they do this by the end of the third night? It only takes one!
Deranged mixes deck-building into a board game setting. The only other game that comes to mind like this is, Clank!, but I don’t want to confuse that game with Deranged because they are entirely different.
The game plays with a six-chapter scenario over three days and nights. Each day and night, a chapter is revealed.
Players start the game with a character having a max of five health and five sanity. There are different exits on the board and players choose an exit to start. They can start together if they choose. They also start with two curses and three secret night cards.
During the day, a player MUST play a card from their hand if they did not Rest. Then, they can perform an action. This can be an action from the card just played or a special action. Cards that players play from their hand typically have four different actions but can also have an item effect that could be played as an action but typically involves one of the other four actions. Players use one of four actions on their turn: Movement, Attack or Search. The other action, Defense, is used outside of a turn to defend against monsters and deranged humans.
After performing one action during the day, a player may lose sanity to perform another action. They cannot play another card but can do a different action from the card they just played or a special action.
Special actions are typically a task on a curse that must be fulfilled to rid the player of the curse.
One player has a destiny token. At the end of that player’s turn, there will be a monster phase where monsters activate. Most of the time they move and attack.
Certain cards will advance time. If the time track moves from day to night then there is a Time of Day Change Phase. During this phase, the destiny token changes to another player, the scenario chapter changes and each player will look at their secret night card.
The night card is where one player will turn into a deranged monster! The other players’ night cards are typically a goal they must try to complete before the next day or they will receive a curse.
During the night, players’ actions are very similar to the day except for two things. Players still MUST play a card if they do not Rest, however, they always spend sanity to do at least one action. The deranged player still plays cards but whenever they become deranged, they flip their cards upside down and now have only those actions available.
The goal of the deranged player is to kill another human so they can turn back. If they have not done this before the next day, they turn back into a human but only for that day. Once night falls again, they turn back into a deranged monster. So, it is possible to have more than one deranged player. If all players are deranged, it is an instant loss.
As a player, you also have a hidden role. When fulfilling this role, you will receive a reward. This reward is a special card that you gain into your hand. This mechanic differs from most “deck-building” games which I thought was unique.
There are also various places throughout the city to search and gain other cards that go straight into your hand. All cards gained are cycled through your deck like a normal deck-building game.
To win the game, a player must be on the Enchanted Gate space, have no curse cards and not have a deranged token at the end of the last night. It is possible to have only one winner or multiple winners.
My group enjoys deck building games. Mixing this mechanic with other mechanics always brings a new twist. We also enjoy games like Betrayal at House on the Hill, etc. so this seemed like a win for us across the board.
Game Build Quality
I received a demo copy so I will base this solely on what I received and not what I believe the final outcome will be.
The rules had parts where it mentions they are “under construction”. However, there was not much of this and the game was playable. There are just things they plan to add to make the game have more replay ability, which is always good!
The miniatures have nice molds. The game comes with six colored plastic bases to attach to the miniatures. I REALLY loved these because of how they were made. They are made of a rubbery plastic instead of hard plastic. Most games come with hard plastic bases. If you paint your miniatures as I do then afterward, you don’t want to use those hard plastic bases anymore because it can scrape the paint off.
The card stock used for the cards is fine. I prefer the linen finish cards but that is just a personal preference.
The game boards, tokens, etc are all thick, robust cardboard.
I loved the artwork. The artistic direction uses a comic book feel to capture the dark fantasy theme. This is done very well. The artist did not overdo where there could be a possible age restriction for the game.
We had a lot of fun with this game. We started off with the intro game which is just a tutorial and it went quick. We proceeded with Scenario 1 which we enjoyed better. The intro is just really short, but it is good to introduce the mechanics of the game. If you are an experienced gamer, you could probably skip the intro.
I can judge how well a game is accepted by my group just by their mood during the game. They were all engaged. This was an instant win.
There is a lot of player interaction and not any downtime in between turns.
Age Range & Weight
Hobby World suggests 12+ for the age range. I think this is fair. I repeat this a lot in my reviews, but as far as mechanics, it just comes down to the maturity level of the player. If children are brought up into gaming, they could easily pick up on these mechanics. They are not overly difficult. The theme is subjective.
Overall, this is a solid game. It has a well-blended mix of mechanics and the theme is popular. The excitement level was high while playing and everyone was engaged which always makes for a pleasant gaming experience.
I did not think the game was overly long. The length depends on the player count. I would like to try with a larger group, eventually.
My only complaint, which is minor, is that the characters have nothing unique about them. It would be cool if your character had a unique ability during the game that allows them to do something outside of normal actions, etc. This could be something the publisher intends to do already but I am not sure.
There were three scenarios provided in the game and my group is looking forward to playing one of the other scenarios soon! We need to fight some other monsters we have not seen!