Not everyone at a gaming table will feel the same about every game that is pulled off the shelves.
Even at our small table the four of us have some rather lengthy discussions over the merits of certain games.
Covil: The Dark Overlords by designer Luís Brüeh was certainly one of those.
Covil is a game that is just a bit hard to arrive at a final viewpoint.
To begin with the art here, also by Brüeh, will either entice your interest, or be a bit of a deterrent. When the game was originally launched on Kickstarter it was stated; “The game is a tribute to awesome ‘70’s, ‘80’s & ‘90’s cartoons, filled with references to our favorite and unforgettable characters.”
In the base game and add-ons there are, for example, homages to Leela from Futurama, The Brain from Pinky and the Brain, and ALF among others.
The cartoon-inspired art is sort of cute, but didn’t exactly win me over, although others at the table were satisfied.
The Kickstarter campaign also noted; “In Covil: The Dark Overlords you will struggle for the supremacy of the regions surrounding an isolated town. Each player controls a Dark Overlord with unique powers and countless minions to “defend the world from enemy hordes” and bring “peace and security to the territories” — at a cost, of course!”
The game, published by Canadian publisher Vesuvius Media, comes across as a bit grander than it actually is.
This is a fairly light worker placement/area control game, which players put over four segmented rounds.
In the opening couple of rounds you have fewer minions to send out across the realms, and that limits what you can actually do. It is generally a build-up of forces that players generally must follow for fear of being under-manned in later rounds.
In the last couple of rounds you have more options, battling other players, hording gold as such fun things, although there are limitations. The game allows a rather small treasury so players are always making rather frugal decisions.
The interesting aspect of this game is that various character cards have abilities which create synergies with certain attack styles – melee or ranged – with different terrains on the board. This means there is a learning curve. Some time spent with the cards outside of a game situation getting a grasp on what cards to go after to be able to chain effects will add to the game experience.
A pair of small expansions; The Outposts and Chaotic Evil, expand on things, and while some games only gain variety with added cards and options, with Covil it adds some interest by expanding the decisions. The chance to add fortresses, and dragons to the troops is great, and sinister plots give each player hidden goals to go after, another bonus in play.
I rather liked the game at the basic level, more so than my gaming comrades, but with game time, and the expansions this is likely to satisfy most games in for some quick fun.
Thanks to fellow gamers Jeff Chasse, Trevor Lyons and Adam Daniels for their help in running through this game for review.