Release Date: 2016
Publisher: Hip Pocket Games/ Cheapass Games
Designer: James Ernest
Player Count/Age/ Playing Time: 2-7 Players, ages 10 5 Minutes
What I liked:
- Nice Artwork
- Good Variant for Pairs decks
- Great Card Quality
What I Disliked:
- Takes a few hands to understand the game
- Did not come with chips
- Great people who like card games
- Perfect pub-type game
Deadfall is a fantasy-themed Pairs deck that adds variety to the Pairs games using a gambling/ bluffing to create an interesting card game.
About the Game:
Deadfall is a variant for the press-your luck game Pairs which uses a triangular deck of cards where there is 1×1, 2×2, 3×3, and so on all the way to 10×10. Deadfall, originally found in the Lord of the Fries deck, introduces a gambling/ bluffing mechanic where players try to earn coins based upon cards being “dead”meaning that there no more cards of that value remaining in any players’ hands.
Overview of Gameplay:
Take the deck of 55 cards and shuffle the cards well. Each player will need about 25-30 coins or chips to play the game. Players will need to provide their own chips or coins to represent points. This is one thing about Cheapass Games. The games are inexpensive because you borrow pieces from other games in order to play them. You figure if you are playing Deadfall, you are not playing any other games at the same time, so borrow some chips, cubes, coins, etc.
Depending on the number of players deal out a starting hand of 5-7 cards. Each player also antes 1 chip.
Each player then chooses one of their cards and places it face down. This is knows as their door card. All players simultaneously reveal their cards and whoever played the lowest card starts. If there is a tie for lowest card played, repeat this process.
On a player’s turn, there are 2 options, play a card from their hand or call on another player. When you play a card, you are trying not to play the last card of that rank. For example, if you play a 5, you are declaring that someone’s hand still contains a 5. If you have one, you know you’re safe. If not, you’re making an educated guess. The reason you don’t want to play the last card of a rank is that value of card is then “dead” and other players can call on it and win points.
The other thing a player can do is call on another player’s card. Calling on another player ends the hand. When you call another player, you are saying that the last card they played is now “dead” and there are no more cards of that rank left in anyone’s hand. Players all reveal their remaining cards in their hands. If the caller is right, he or she wins the pot, plus a penalty equal to the rank of the card, paid by the called player. (For example, 7 coins for calling a 7.) If the caller is wrong, the called player wins the pot, and he or she wins the same penalty from the caller.
In the example above, the player at the top of the picture felt confident that 3’s were “dead” so he called on the player to his right. All players revealed their hands and 3’s were in fact dead. So the player at the top of the picture wins the 4 chips from the ante as well as 3 chips from the player to his right who had played the 3, making it dead. Had any player still had a 3 in their hand, the player at the top of the picture would be wrong and the player to his right who played the 3 would win the 4 chip ante and then get 3 chips from the player at the top of the picture who called it wrong.
At the end of the hand, collect all the cards, shuffle them, ante, deal a new hand of cards and continue playing as long as you like.
I enjoy Pairs, which I did a preview for back in 2014……https://youtu.be/lDCn7j2ualk. Purchasing Deadfall gives you a fantasy-themed deck to use for the Pairs as well as the rules for this variant game, which is a good thing since one deck of cards can then be used for a variety of games, very reminiscent of the traditional playing card decks. If the fantasy theme is not your taste, there are several different Pairs decks out there with different artwork themes and the rules for Deadfall can be obtained from the Hip Pocket Games website. . The first time I sat down to teach some friends Deadfall, there was some confusion, but after a couple of hands the game started to click. Each hand lasts a few minutes and you can play as long as you like. The richness of the game comes through the more you play. You will discover strategies for timing of when to play cards, read the information that players give when they play cards, and setting traps for players to fall into. Deadfall, once you get the hang of it is a nice filler game to round out an evening of playing games or something to take along to your favorite pub or restaurant to play. In the rules, there are even variants for Deadfall to mix up the action.
I enjoy Deadfall. I like this variant for Pairs. If you don’t already have a Pairs deck, this is a nice option to pick one up. If you already have a Pairs deck and want another one, this has some very nice artwork in a fantasy theme. Getting a deck box to store the cards and the chips is something I recommend and it still keeps the game portable enough to take on the go. I do wish the game did come with 100 plastic coins or chips so the game is ready to go out of the box, but for me it was not difficult to gather up some chips to play. Overall, a fun, quick little card game that adds variety for the game Pairs.