revenge;;dictators;;revenge of the dictators;;black box adventures;;ferry;;sadhonker;;aboard;;board game;;strategy;;cards;;dice Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams


By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on February 4, 2016

Have you ever wanted to rule the world? Well, this may be your chance! Of course, the world is a big place, so we’ll start off with something a bit smaller, say... The United States of America? Although this might seem a bit far-fetched, this is exactly what you are going to be doing when you play Revenge of the Dictators; an awesome upcoming board game by Black Box Adventures, a gang of game enthusiasts from the south of the Netherlands, who take their gaming very seriously.

Naturally, when world domination is an option, we at cannot say no! So we met up with Black Box Adventures and took a peek into this world of rivalry, deceit, tactics and extremely cool game features.

Before I do anything else, I would like to thank Bart and Alina from Black Box Adventures for taking the time to come over and showing us this brand new game. Revenge of the Dictators is still in the pre-production stage, so none of the art is final yet, but that didn’t matter one bit! From the get go, this awesome game manages to completely enthrall us with its quirky characters, its crystal clear set of rules, its sometimes hilarious deck of cards and its phenomenally fun gameplay.

So, on to the core of the matter: what is Revenge of the Dictators? Well, to be honest, when I first saw the game board, I reckoned it would be something like Risk. Luckily, I was proven wrong within seconds from starting the game. I can’t quite tell you what game you should compare Revenge of the Dictators to, which, in my opinion, is a good thing! This means that the good people at Black Box Adventures had an original thought and transformed this thought into a game, instead of trying to hitch a ride on the ever dreadful “we-make-whatever-is-hip-nowadays” bus. The game is all about strategy and having loads of fun while thwarting the plans of your competitors.

It’s time to start the game! Now, I could try to make up a story to explain why you are trying to take over America, but why bother when Black Box adventures provides us with a perfectly good explanation! So here’s what they have to say: “Welcome to your favorite holiday destination: Hawaii! Hawaii is a place to relax, drink lots of cocktails and do nothing all day; except of course, if you’re a Dictator. So what do Dictators actually do during their holidays? Same thing they do every day: they try to take over the world! And what is a better place to start than that pesky “Ol’ Murica”? ”

In Revenge of the Dictators, every player takes on the role of one of the game’s protagonists, who are bored with their tropical holiday. These protagonists, as the more observant of you will probably have guessed by now, are the dictator’s that are hell-bent on taking over the good old US-of-A. To do so, they must each dismantle a number of nuclear facilities that are spread across the nation. You’ll need to dismantle these facilities in order to increase your chances of persuading the president of the United States to sign over all power to you. The more facilities you dismantle, the lower the number you’re required to roll with a D20 in order to establish the outcome of your meeting with one of the most powerful men on the planet.

When you look at the map, you’ll see that the board is divided into four so-called nuclear zones. Zones one to three are ‘normal’ zones, which basically means they contain a number of states the U.S.A. is made up of; zone four is the ‘abroad’ zone, which contains Mexico and Canada. These zones are special, but we’ll come back to that later. At the start of the game, each player receives a dictator card (on which your special perks are listed), a number of action- and counter cards (these are shuffled into one deck at the start of the game, together with the Defcon and Founding Father cards) and four nuclear facility cards, one for every nuclear region.

I can almost hear some of you think: “You should just race to Washington D.C. straightaway”. While this may be a valid tactic, you’ll need to keep in mind that you’ll have substantially less chance to convince the president to sign over his power to you (not to mention the shit you’ll probably get from all other players). So it’s probably smarter to travel to the facilities on the cards you received at the start of the game. Dismantling the facilities in the ‘normal’ zones will lower the number you’re required to roll when you meet with the president. Dismantling the facilities in the ‘abroad’ zones however, will grant you a REALLY special perk, so choose your path carefully!

So, let’s play... oh wait... ehhhm... how in the hell do we dismantle the nuclear facilities? Or, more to the point, how do we even reach them? And what about card usage?! And what if others won’t let us do what we want?!! And why am I typing so many questions in a row??!! All these questions (apart from the last one) are quickly answered by the games (at first glance) minimalistic but perfectly effective rule-set. As a dictator, you’ll get three actions per turn. For each action, you may choose each of three actions to complete: move your dictator one state further, play a card, or draw a card. You can use all three actions to draw cards or to play cards, as long as the total action point needed for playing these cards do not exceed three. The only thing you can’t do multiple times per turn is use your move action; that action is limited to only once per turn. But, if you play your cards right, you can ultimately move by using cards. Confused? Don’t be; it’s actually quite straight-forward once you get the hang of it.

The cards that are used in Revenge of the Dictators come in a few varieties; there are action cards that you can play during your turn (my favorite being the roadblock and especially the morale boost cards) and counter cards that can be played right after an opponent’s action, which basically say: “I’ve got a card that says you don’t!” Apart from these two types of cards, the game also contains Defcon cards, which make things harder for everyone; Founding Father cards that only make things harder for you and last, but not least, presidential cards which determine what happens when you ultimately visit the president in Washington D.C. and try to challenge him. After you’ve depleted the draw-pile, it’s reshuffled including the Defcon cards and with brand new Founding Father cards mixed in, effectively making the game unpredictable and ever-changing.

Apart from being the first to reach the president and convincing him that you’re a far better leader than he ever was, your main objective is to wreak as much havoc in the opponent’s camps as humanly possible. Put roadblocks in front of them to slow their travels, steal cards from their hand, play your own actions against them to harass them even more; everything goes in this awesome game of plotting, planning and pestering. Which is kind of fitting because, hey, who ever heard of a dictator being a team-player?!

Black Box Adventures is bringing Revenge of the Dictators to Kickstarter in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled if you want to be able to play as a famous dictator like Mama Gaddafi, Robber Mugabe or Adolf Hipster and have the time of your life. For more info, please visit Black Box Adventures’ Facebook or their website (under construction at the time of writing) and leave your name and email address to recieve all the latest news about this awesome game. All I can say is: “Thumbs up to Black Box Adventures!” We had tons of fun trying to take over the United States and I’m sure that, if you ever get the chance to play this game for yourselves, you will too!

Black Box Adventures