DANY (2019) review
Hello, my name is Dany. No. I'm not the Shining's little boy, he's spelt with two "N's". This is not the same. Ok, we have almost the same problem ... No, my father did not try to kill me and I do not live in a strange house (though ...). But like this little boy, I hear voices. The number is quite variable, I grant you. This can range from 3 to 8 votes each time (including mine). Imagine a little overall cohesion. I'm afraid. At first I thought it was my imagination, a bit like a personal Jiminy Cricket. Except that I do not necessarily feel that they act for my good. I even hear them plotting together to "take the power". They want to exist. And if they exist, I’ll disappear. And that is a scenario which, strangely, I do not wish to see realized. I have to fight. To interfere with them. Make them believe that I am with them and force them make mistakes, that will give me back the power. It's risky, I grant you. But I do not have a choice. It's them or me. And I absolutely do not want it to be them. My mental health is in danger and I can not lose. You understand him, eh Tony. The fight will be tough but finesse. I do not have to be unmasked. But ... I have to push them to error. I have to go, they’re arriving. Wish me good luck.
Dany is the first game of a young publisher, GRRRE Games. But it is also the first game of a young designer: Phil Vizcarro. In fact, it is his first edited. Hollywood Death Race is his first achievement. This Kickstarter project has been funded successfully (unfortunately I missed it) and should be available in 2019 (date is undetermined). Phil Vizcarro is a passionate author of the 80’s and all things geeky pop culture. It is felt in his way of presenting things but especially in relation to the chosen themes. Overflowing with ideas, he is a young authors to follow. I think that his games will bring a little "freshness" and a sense of nostalgia at the thematic level.
Dany is a funny game. A pure party game with communication at its heart. Dany is an individual, normal except for the fact that he is regularly invaded by voices trying to take control. No peaceful cohabitation. There are two camps and only one can win.
Rules of the game are simples.
You’ll receive a role’s card at the beginning of the game. So you'll be either Dany or one of Dany's inner voices. Depending on your role, your goal will not be the same. Dany must win alone while the voices must cooperate to defeat him.
In turn, there will be an active player. This player will have a word that they need to covay to the rest of the group. This comes from a card composed of five numbered words. This card is visible to all. The active player will then pick another numbered card defining which is the chosen word for the others to guess. Of course, they are the only one to know this number. Then, in order to help in the mission, they will draw the first seven memory cards. The memory cards are double-sided. The front side always displays the same thing but can be used as a normal card. The back is composed of a black and white illustration, most often very abstract. The active player is now free to use these seven cards as they sees fit. They must select a number of these cards to use and put the others back in memory’s pile (which will lengthen or not the game). Once done, they must deal with what is left in their hand. It is strictly forbidden for this player to speak, to write a number with the cards, to mime, to point fingers, to throw them in the air or to use external elements. For the rest, they can very well hide portions of the cards, make 3D structures, align cards, position them as they wishes. The choice is the players and gives way to the creative imagination.
Once done, it is displayed for the other players. The interaction with the active player must be zero, at the risk of being penalized with a lost card. The others must therefore find which word is the right one among the selection. They have the right to discuss among themselves, to argue but no right to touch the work done or ask the active player for things (otherwise they lose a card). The nice thing is that the final choice is not made by the majority, but the player to the right of the active player, who will have the difficult task of choosing for the group. They can take into account the opinion of friends or not. Of course it's at their own risk. When the decision is made, check with the card number of the active player. Two situations can then occur. The answer is good, it will give a point to the vote. The answer is wrong, Dany wins a point.
The game continues until an end-game trigger occurs. If the voices get six successes, they win automatically and poor Dany disappears until the next game (quickly it is necessary to remake one!). If Dany gets three successes, or if there are not enough memory cards to refill a hand to seven, the game goes to the final twist. You thought Dany would win? Well, no, they are tough voices in his head. As often in games with a traitor, there is a final twist. Did you pay attention to the others during the game? Now, there will be a vote. Of course, you can negotiate, accuse, argue one last time between you before launching the final vote. But you have to find Dany. He is there, we know it, you know it, he knows it. After a countdown of three, all players must nominate the person who they think is Dany. If the majority chooses correctly, they have foiled the plans of the infamous unique personality and the voices win. If not, the voices cringe and poor Dany is free to regain his leadership ... until next time.
You will understand, the originality of the game does not come from its mechanics. We are dealing with a mixture of simple rules and already well known game mechanics. I could cite such games as Imagine, Werewolf, Linq, Fake Artist, Found Objects, ... The list can be long. BUT. This mix works really well. The word search and deduction side coupled with the presence of a traitor offers that little touch that makes it a game apart. Combine this with the presence of a theme and especially very original illustrations, you get a game with unique and unique identity.
The arts of Antoine Baillargeau are really original. This is sober design, in black and white, representing things mostly abstract. They will clearly not be unanimous and yet once in the game, they correspond to the thematic madness. Remember, that you are not individuals but flanges of entities that are based on memories. So, as everyone knows, a memory can be confused already when you tell it alone, so imagine telling the same memory to many. You will have strangely abstract things. The choice is daring but fits very well to the theme. We are far from the cute and colorful illustrations that you’ll find most often in this type of game. It can be confusing but it feels good. By the way, an image can have more than just a simple reading. The box itself, in a sober and refined style, does not leave you indifferent.
Dany is not a game to put in all hands. Although with younger players it works, the choice of words to guess and sometimes illustrations justify its prohibition below 16 years.
Games are fast. Guess words seem impossible in the first few games, and once the habit sets in, you get a better grasp of the memories and how to use them. Everything becomes easier to use. And that's where Dany's role gets harder and harder. He will have to bluff, but secretly, so as not to be unmasked. If that were to happen, you would be sidelined and the victory would seem impossible. Do not hide it, to win as Dany is hard, very hard. You will have to rely on the mistakes of others, encourage dissonances, rely on the accusation but all this anonymously and especially innocent. Dany's role turns out to be not only the hardest but also the most interesting to play. The pressure, how to find the weak point of the team and push them to the fault without being noticed.
The strength of the game is therefore in the theme and the illustrations, there is no doubt. But the mechanisms, less original, work well and fit well into this ambient madness. Dany is a game of atmosphere that can not leave you indifferent. Of course, I can only advise you to play a lot. Starting with five players, the game really begins to unleash its potential and the more you will be the more it will come alive and be fun. The interaction is very strong and the game is very fluid. You may of course, happen to be blocked to find a way to guess a word, but ultimately the limit being your own imagination, you’ll always find a solution. After the others come to understand you it's something else. Communication games are very present. They are trusted by mastodons. However, Dany manages to differentiate itself from others. This is not a simple copy but a game that has a real personality and a strong originality, if only in the choice of the use of cards. GRRRE Games and Phil Vizcarro strike hard for their respective first. Dany is a game of atmosphere which I can only advise you. An excellent party game for an informed audience. Will you be able to handle the stress of a Dany or will you have enough instinct of survival to go from the simple status of personalities to that of individuals? After all, do not we all have a Dany lurking in each of us?
Technical Score 8/10
Strangely, it was difficult for me to put a score. I am one of those who doesn't necessarily hang on the art of cards. On the other hand, I recognize the talent of the draftsman and especially the will behind this style. Finally, the style fits perfectly with the atmosphere and the theme. So, it seemed logical to assign a good rating. As for other cards, the text is clearly visible (written in large print), the cards are large and easy to handle. For fans of sleeves, I advise against doing so given the future use of cards.
My BGG Score 7/10
(good game - like to play it willingly)
The game offers an interesting strong experience. While based on known mechanisms, it manages to stand out from the crowd and to offer itself the luxury of its own identity. Well fun, especially to many, Dany will offer you a challenge and plunge you into the heart of the madness ... of your madness. A very good party game for informed public.
Combined Score 7.5 / 10
Now, it's your turn to play ...