Dungeon Degenerates®: Hand of Doom

Dungeon Degenerates: Hand of Doom, designed by Eric Radey and artified by Sean Äaberg and Eric Radey, is the most refreshing thing to happen in the genre of cooperative tabletop adventure games since the genre became a genre. It's eye-melting, it's unique, and it's a damned solid design, especially considering that it's Eric's first published game. Out of the 70+ Kickstarter projects i've backed, most of them tabletop games, DD is the one which surprised me the most in terms of expectations vs. what was received. i expected an eye-melting piece of art i could hang on my wall but which would be unplayable as a game, but what was delivered was an eye-melting piece of art which is a more solid, more thematic, and more enjoyable game than some popular designers manage after even half-a-dozen published titles (Tiny Epic franchise, that's directed squarely at you!). It isn't inexpensive - the small publisher doesn't have the scale to produce such a title for $50 - but it is a damned fine game.

My only "complaint", if it can even be called that, with the game is that the title is a misnomer - there are no dungeons in Dungeon Degenerates. (i don't mind that, actually - i'm burned out on the whole over-done dungeoneering genre.) There are, however, plenty of degenerates: the players take the part of criminals, renegades, and other "unfortunates" in their quests to hinder (or, if they like, assist) The Necromancer's attempt to corrupt the entire Würstreich.

In late 2018 the primary artist, Sean Äaberg, suffered a stroke, leaving him unable to draw. As of mid-2019, Sean is recovering nicely, but the future of the franchise is up in the air, with multiple expansions on hold indefinitely. Even so, the base game is complete in and of itself - this is not a game which "needs" expansion content in order to flesh it out.

Bee Keeper
DD may well be the only board game ever published which includes a Bee Keeper as an antagonist.