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Death Wish Review

Quick Look:

Designer: Jason Hibbert
Artists: N/A
Publisher: Sketchy Games, Zafty Games
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2-8
Ages: 15+
Playing Time: 20-45 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com


A perfect party game for a light-hearted night of fictional diseases and death. The goal is to be the first player to gather afflictions, gain symptoms, and die.

Getting the Game:
When you open the box you will see a plethora of cards that make the game. There are four main types of cards. First, the disease cards (black and white backs) are shuffled and four cards dealt out in the middle of the table to form the disease pool. These are all the diseases you will be wanting to collect. Another disease card will be placed to the side and is called the incubation disease which might come into play later in the game. Next, the symptoms cards (black and blue backs) are shuffled and four are placed above the disease pool and makes the symptom pool. You will need to collect symptom colors that match the disease you want to contract. Next, the afflicter cards (black and red backs) are shuffled and placed out flipping the top card over next to the deck to form the open afflicter pile. Afflicter cards state the manner of how you contracted your symptoms and disease. Lastly, the outbreak deck (yellow backs) are shuffled and laid out to form the outbreak deck. Each player will also be dealt out four symptoms face down, two afflicters face up, and a player reference card that explains your choices of actions.

Playing the Game:
During the game, you will be trying to contract diseases to gain a certain number skulls that are shown on the top right of each disease card. You can decide how many skulls you need to collect to win the game. Typically, in a 2-5 player game, the first player to get 10-12 skulls wins, and in a 6-8 player game, the first to collect 8-10 skulls wins. The disease cards are the only cards that have skulls on them. To contract a disease, you will need to obtain one afflicter card that matches the disease color. Additionally, you will need to collect the number of symptoms that is shown on the top left of the disease you are wanting to contract. Some cards have an additional number shown underneath the first stated number--you can collect more symptoms and use another player's afflicter card. After collecting the afflicter and symptoms you will take the disease from the disease pool and share your diagnosis. For example (see image below), I was bitten by a starfish and contracted the meowsles and now have uneven bum cheeks, a leather fetish, can hear insect screams, and see dead people.

On your turn you will take one of four different actions.

1. Suffer Symptoms
You will pick two symptom cards that are either both in the symptom pool OR two face down from the symptom deck. You cannot take from both the pool and the deck. You can only have a maximum of seven symptom cards in your hand.

2. Become Afflicted
You will either take the top afflicter card that is on top of the open afflicter pile OR take the top two face-down afflicter cards from the deck, take one of your choice, and place the other face up on top of the open afflicters pile. You can have a maximum of three afflicters. Remember, these are placed face-up in front of you, and other players might steal your afflicter by collecting more symptoms than normal.

3. Spread a Disease. 
You will take the top incubation card OR the top card on the disease deck and place it offset above a disease card in the disease pool that you want to block. This will block a player from potentially contracting a certain color disease.

4. Contract a Disease
Take the disease from the disease pool (you will need to have the correct number of symptoms use an afflicter card) and share your diagnosis with everyone else. You will collect a certain amount of skulls each time you perform this action. If your disease card has a yellow outbreak symbol on it, you will draw an outbreak card which breaks the rules and gives you an advantage somehow.

Artwork and Components:
The artwork is simple and basic which works for this game. I would almost say that the art is more graphic design than art. The game doesn't need much art as the game works well by reading the hilarious symptoms, diseases, and afflicters and letting the mind make the pictures. The cards are standard quality with no problems.

The Good:
The game is quick and fun to play as you will be excited each time a new symptom or disease card is flipped over. The game is made to be light-hearted and does a good job when someone is telling you that they contracted the uncommon cold and have hurty face, persistent nodding, and meat cravings because they poked a dead pigeon. The game includes some strategy as you can block players and even use their cards. There is a different number of each color of diseases and symptoms and the more rare colors give you more skulls as they are harder to get. This game is fast and can be played with 2-8 players, so this game can be played about anytime you want.

The Bad:
The game wears off after playing it a handful of times. There is a definite need for more cards if you want to keep playing the game over and over again. Some people might be offended with the names as they are all spoofs of real diseases.

Final Thoughts:
Players are dying to play this game. In all seriousness, I guarantee lots of smiles and laughs when playing this game. The game can be played in both a strategic and a laid back fashion. The game is borderline appropriate on its own, but the game has a NSFW expansion that can be played by those who like inappropriate games. The best part of the game is when you share your diagnosis and everyone makes comments about it. The game really brings your imagination to life by contracting made up diseases to try to die.

Check out Death Wish on:


Brody Sheard - Reviewer

Brody Sheard played board games with his large family growing up. He continues with his love of games by teaching his family, local gaming guild, and friends about new and exciting games. Brody believes that board gaming keeps your mind healthy while also having fun interacting with others.

See Brody's reviews HERE.
Death Wish Review Death Wish Review Reviewed by Brody on March 15, 2019 Rating: 5

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