Have you ever wanted to dominate a kingdom? Have you ever wanted to take over society? Have you ever wanted to rule the world? Or maybe just battle some small children? Well, now you can in the game of Big Bad Overlord from Big Bad Ideas coming soon to Kickstarter.

Big Bad Overlord is a game for four to six players, ages ten years to adult, & plays in around an hour.

In Big Bad Overlord each player will take one of six double-sided player mats. On one side is the citadel you control & on the opposite side is the mighty Duke destined to become the next Big Bad Overlord, or so you hope. Don’t forget to practice your maniacal laughter & sneering look.


Each player will be dealt six cards from a communal deck. The deck will include seventy-four evil minions, ten Do-Gooders, & two artifact cards. If any player receives a Do-Gooder with the first six cards, then they are to be set aside & shuffled back in after all players receive their cards.

Since there are three open slots on the citadel card, players are to place three cards face-down into their citadel. These are the players last line of defense & only three cards can be placed in the citadel at a time.

After placing cards into the citadel each player will then take & place the last three cards face-up in front of their citadel. These three cards are that players army. Up to six cards can be used in a players army. Later on cards can be switched back & forth between citadel & the army.


When the game starts, the first player will draw a card & decide if they want to place it is their citadel or army if it is a minion or an artifact. If a Do-Gooder is drawn then that active player must battle that Do-Gooder before moving on.  Next the active player can rearrange the minions in their citadel & army. When attacking a player must keep three cards in their citadel.

A player is not required to attack during their turn. (It does help to attack another player if you want to become the Big Bad Overlord though.) A player can only attack one player at a time, but can attack multiple players on their turn. Other players may also jump into the fray to either help the attacking player or they can help that player’s victim.

There are three different phases of combat: mind, magic, & melee. Combat must be fought in that exact order too. In each phase of combat each player will roll dice for offense & defense.

If the attacking player is able to destroy their opponent’s army then they can decide to attack that player’s citadel. If this is the case, then that player must reveal the three cards in their citadel.

The cards in the citadel get a double attack bonus in each combat type. Attacking forces must round down their mind & magic attack bonuses. The attacking player may not runaway with their tail tucked between their legs either. They have to complete at least one round of combat.

If the attacking player is capable of overrunning the citadel then they will fight the Duke. When the citadel is defeated the defending player will flip over their player mat to reveal which Duke they are. While in combat with a Duke, a Duke can not be target with mind attacks, a Duke possesses all three combat types, & normal bonus points don’t count in the fight against the Duke. The only bonuses an attacking player receives will be from an artifact if they are lucky enough to find one.


During combat, if a Duke captures a card with mind control, the round ends immediately. The defending player flips over their player mat from their Duke back to their citadel. A new round of fighting begins with the mind controlled minion defending the citadel. The attacking player must either capture or defeat the mind controlled minion to fight the Duke again.

Now if a player defeats a Duke then they immediately draw an extra card & may add it to their army. They can decide to attack another opponent. If they decide to add the card to their citadel or to rearrange their cards, then they end their turn. If they draw a Do-Gooder, then they must defeat that Do-Gooder before continuing on.


When that round of attack is over, the active player may decide if they want to attack the same player, another player, or just to end their turn. The next player “counterclockwise” draws a card & will continue play unless the deck is out of cards. If this happens then the end is near.

If there are no cards in the draw deck the Cataclysm comes & destroys any player that does not have an artifact. If two players survive then their Dukes must “duke” it out to become the last man standing. And if a player has both artifacts then they immediately become the Big Bad Overlord & rule over the land.


Big Bad Overlord is a fun group game to bust out & play. The more players in the mix the faster the game plays. I like the various types of combat each minion has. And of course I love the Do-Gooder cards like the “Small Children”, “Friendly Friars”, & “Good Witch of the North”. The art on each card is goofy, this makes the game look silly, but the seriousness is in the combat not the art.

The only drawback I had was finding four or more players to jump into a game. But all-in-all playing Big Bad Overlord was a lot of fun.

Big Bad Overlord launched on February 25th, 2019. You can back it here: Big Bad Overlord!

You can back this Kickstarter at $1 & have your village burned down last when the great Cataclysm commences & the final Duke becomes the Big Bad Overlord. At a $9 pledge a backer will receive a 1″ lapel pin that says “Cringe, Mortals”, this is one piece of game memorabilia I would love to sport while playing at any gaming convention. The starting pledge for the game is $28. Which for a group card game is a really good price.

Get ready to release your inner villain & game on!

-Christopher Richter

Twitter: @Boardgaming_FTW

Facebook: Board Gaming For the Win

Help keep Board Gaming For the Win going for another 200 articles by donating here: Board Gaming For the Win donations