I had a total blast this year at Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio. I met so many awesome gamers, designers, & publishers. One designer that was super cool to talk with was none other than Curt Covert, of Smirk & Dagger. He invited me to review Smirk & Dagger’s newest game “Dead Last”.

Dead Last3

Dead Last is a social collusion party game designed by Matthew Grosso & Andy Patton. It is for six to twelve players, ages fourteen to adult, & it may take anywhere from forty-five to ninety minutes to play.

In Dead Last players will want to form alliances, betray their friends, & conspire with other players to knock-off their opponents in order to collect gold at the end of each round. Players will nod, point fingers, shoot a glance, or even call out to others across the table in order to put a hit on their opponents.

Players at the beginning of the game will choose an ID color & will receive a deck of colored voting cards. Each color of card represents the color ID of another player at the table. They will also receive a card that says “ambush” with their color. Any player color not being used in the game will be placed back into the box.

Each player will then take a look around the table to see who will be killed off first. After some glances, nods, pointing, & chatting players will begin the voting process by placing one of their cards face down on the table. After each player places a card face down they will then flip their cards over revealing who will die that round.

When players reveal their face down card, if the majority of the same player color is revealed then that player will be knocked out of the round. If there happens to be a tie in colors, those players will share in their defeat. Any player who did not vote for the target is also knocked out of the round. However if a player is receives enough votes to be considered a target & they play their ambush card they will survive the onslaught from their opponents causing them to lose the round.

In the final showdown of the round if one player is the last one standing then they will collect four gold bars. Each gold bar is worth anywhere from three to five points. If two players remain they have the option of sharing the loot. One of the two players could decide to be deceitful & steal the gold from the other player. They could both try to steal from each other. Or they could grab a bar of gold & run. The first player to receive twenty-five points or twenty-four points in a ten to twelve player game wins the game.


I took video of Curt Covert showing a group of gamers how to play Dead Last.

I have played a lot of party games in the almost four decades that I’ve been around & I have found Dead Last to be very unique in how it is played. In most party games players are playing for either group approval or trying to deduce who the traitor is.

Dead Last, however, is a game of social collusion. This means that each player is working as a collective in killing the other players off. Almost like a card version of Survivor.

Curt Covert told me that he has seen games where players in a twelve player game just started to pick off players at one end of the table. This continued until only five players remained. I even watched a game where friends told other players to vote against their own friends just to keep them from forming alliances.

I only have one regret after walking away from the Smirk & Dagger booth, I never picked up a copy of Dead Last. Dead Last was on limited release at Origins Game Fair this year but sold really well.

I know that Curt & the others at Smirk & Dagger had a great time & are looking forward to seeing awesome sales & game play of Dead Last at the upcoming GenCon in Indianapolis this year.

So make sure to come in dead last, grab that gold, & game on!

-Christopher Richter