Daemon Trilogy: Subrosa is a card drafting game where players are trying to complete contracts using characters from the game’s 5 Houses to earn favor in the Empire. It’s the first game in a planned trilogy and is (optionally) app-enabled in order to facilitate a campaign mode that will carry over plays from one game in the trilogy to the next. The app is available on both Google Play and iTunes.
Subrosa is composed of 30 Contract Cards and 75 Character Cards. The Character cards are divided into 5 houses each with 5 characters. Each Character has their own special ability and every Characters has 3 cards. The number of Characters used in the game depends on the number of players. A 5 player game will use all the cards in the deck, while a 2 player game will use only 15 Characters, with 1 card being removed from each Character Set.
To start, each player is dealt 15 Character Cards and 3 Contract Cards. Players may choose to discard up to 2 Contract Cards and all kept Contracts are placed face down in front of their respective players. The player who dealt the cards gets the Initiative Token and play begins.
The goal of Subrosa is to complete Contracts and have the highest Contract score by the time a single player runs out of cards. Contracts are completed by meeting House requirements listed on the card. A Contract can be completed when a player has enough cards from each House required by the contract.
Each round players will play 2 Characters from their hand face down to the table and then may either choose one to use its action or may draw 2 new Contracts and keep 1. Once every player’s actions are resolved wounded Characters are moved to the center of the table and players may use their Characters on the table to complete Contracts. Each player then passes their hand of cards to the left and play continues in this manner until a player has only 1 card left in their hand. At this point, the game ends and Contracts are scored.
To see the full rules, included variant rules and how the app can be used in the game, check here.
Subrosa is a quality produced game coming in a thick, beautifully designed box with a magnetic latch. The Initiative Token is a thick wooden disc and a sturdy cardboard phone/tablet stand is also included in the box. The cards are richly illustrated, printed on a wonderful feeling stock with a linen finish, and have an overall excellent feel to them. The accompanying app follows through with the game’s overall look and feel with an easy to use and intuitive interface that allows players to scan cards and resolve abilities with ease.
If the first game in the Daemon Trilogy is any indication of what the future games will be like then this is something to get excited about. Subrosa is incredibly simple to learn but offers a lot of strategies when it comes to drafting cards, using their abilities, and managing revealed/unrevealed Characters and Contracts. A huge part of the game is trying to figure out what cards other players have on the table and effectively neutralizing their crews to hinder their ability to complete Contracts. All this has to be done with a constantly changing hand of cards each round, making it all about the long plan. The app offers a few niceties during play, but I don’t think it’ll really come into its own until the next game arrives and more of the campaign aspect of the Trilogy is unveiled.
Daemon Trilogy: Subrosa feels like a great start to a hopefully great trilogy.
A copy of Daemon Trilogy: Subrosa was provided free for review by IDW Games.
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.