Have you ever played a game of Catan where you ended up wanting to somehow take out your frustrations on the other players? Do you often have dreams of performing acts of large-scale mischief like taking candy from babies or playing catchy pop songs for 24 hours straight? If so, this might be just the game for you.
Overlords of Infamy is a board game for 2-4 players focused on the acquisition of “Misery Points,” acquired by terrorizing the citizens of a realm and thwarting the actions of the ever-irritating hero. Nefarious plots are hatched and completed with the help of loyal lackeys, many of whom will end up sacrificed in the name of greater gains as the game progresses.
In this game, each player chooses an evil Overlord who they will then personify. These range from the super-corgi Waffles to the “Menace in Metal,” an armored villain with an affinity for scrap. These Overlords then send their lackeys out to collect resources and plunder the land, helping them complete nefarious plots that slowly escalate from the mischievous (stealing candy from babies) to the downright evil (reducing a language to only guttural sounds and gestures).
What I found most interesting when learning this game, a process that can be lengthy due to the number of different things going on, is that the game has several different ways of being competitive. Firstly there’s just the acquisition of Misery Points, the scoring system that determines the winner of the game. Additionally, by sacrificing lackeys you can perform actions that actively harm your opponent like stealing resources. Finally, there’s the irritating hero. This character moves periodically as actions are performed by the Overlords, and those actions are controlled by whatever Overlord is about to begin his or her turn. The hero can be used to take resources, remove map squares (settlements that provide resources), or kill lackeys.
All of this leads to a game that could have been boring if simply left to the basic actions of building and collecting resources to complete plots, and turns it into a game with several layers of tactics to be juggled and weighed. This, combined with the inherent humor in the game, leads to a game that feels casual and fun while being engrossing for even tactically-minded players. Additionally, because the game is designed to end after a certain number of “world events” happen–a process that is automatic as players complete actions–the game can be calibrated to last as long or short as you wish simply based on the number of world events you decide must happen before the final round commences.
Finally, while what I played was a pre-production model, I’m impressed by what I’ve seen of the build of the game. The art is simple but attractive, the cards are easy to read and have additional character due to “flavor text,” and the game pieces are professional-looking and wooden. It looks great and plays well for 2 players, but is even better with 3 or 4.
Overlords of Infamy is live on Kickstarter now. I highly recommend it for anybody who enjoys a more involved board game like Catan, and it’s good for both adults and families. It’s appropriate for children, but may be too complicated for younger children.