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The Gamer's Codex

Dementalism

Dementalism

From: Mutha Oith Creations

Reviewed by: Sitting Duck

Dementalism is a card game based on the popular Low Life RPG.

Settings which use the Savage Worlds system have a reputation for being a bit unconventional. Consider Evernight, in which an old-school fantasy world is invaded by aliens from outer space. For that matter, Necessary Evil involves supervillains saving the world. However, Andi Hopp’s Low Life takes it to a completely new level, which can be best described as anti-conventional. Low Life takes place in a post-post-post-post-apocalypse fantasy setting where the characters are the descendants of cockroaches and snack cakes and the like. As you might expect, everything about the setting is utterly ridiculous, but no one living in it recognizes that fact. This oddball concept was one I found appealing. So when the Kickstarter for Dementalism was initiated, I was among the first to fork over a donation.

From the back cover:
Alright, Wisenheimer, here’s your chance to show everyone how smart your brain is. Due to the continuing idiocy of you and your fellow security guards a whole bunch of clones have escaped from the Primordial Soup Kitchen and are now wandering the various countrysides of Mutha Oith. You guys better get your wazoos in gear and recapture them before your bosses find out and you lose your jobs.”

Dementalism’s gameplay is broadly similar to Concentration and other such memory games, but with a few unique twists of its own. The gamespace consists of a grid of facedown cards known as the Spread with a default size of eight by eight. However, this can be reduced to six by six if you don’t have enough room on your table. Personally I recommend starting with six by six and eventually working your way up in later games (unless you’re really hard core with regards to memory games). On a player’s turn, two cards in the Spread are selected and flipped over. If they are both Giggities, they are hurled into the Keister of Gawd (the discard pile). If they consist of a Giggity and a Denizen, the player may take them and place them facedown in front of himself, forming a Sneaky Stack. If the player is fortunate enough to get two identical Denizen cards, he may take them to form a Stacked Stack, also kept facedown. Should the player reveal a Denizen card which matches one of his current facedown Stacks, he may upgrade the Stack in question. For a Sneaky Stack, the Giggity card is hurled into the Keister of Gawd and replaced with the matching Denizen card to form a Stacked Stack. When a matching card is added to a Stacked Stack, it becomes a Safe Stack which is kept face-up. Once a player has a Safe Stack, he can use the power listed on the bottom of the card, with the only restriction being that it may not be used two turns in a row. As there are only three copies of each Denizen card, each Safe Stack will be unique. If none of the Denizen cards revealed can be used to form or upgrade a Stack, they’re flipped back over. Once the player’s turn is done, any empty spaces in the Spread are replaced with cards drawn from the Heap (the deck). Victory goes to the player who scores the most points based on how many and what type of Stacks are possessed at the end of the game, which occurs when all of the cards have either been claimed or discarded. Sneaky Stacks are worth one point, Stacked Stacks are worth two, and Safe Stacks are worth four.

While the bulk of the cards are Giggities and Denizens, there are a few Turmoil cards in the mix. If a card in the Spread is flipped over and revealed to be a Turmoil card, the listed effects must be applied immediately. Sometimes it will be good, while other times it will be bad. More often than not, it will be both.

Though a player may examine his facedown Stacks at any time, he must allow the other players to look at them at the same time. The reason this is such a big deal is because, until a Stack becomes a Safe Stack, it’s at risk of being snitched. If a player believes that a Denizen card in the Spread revealed during his turn matches one of another player’s Stacks, he may attempt to snitch it by selecting the Stack in question. If the Stack matches, the player takes and upgrades the Stack as if it were his own. However, if the Stack does not match, the player’s turn immediately ends and he loses his next turn. So this should only be attempted when the player is reasonably sure of himself.

From the back cover:
An ingenious game of ingenious ingeniousness.”

The artwork on the cards can be a bit of an acquired taste. As a rule, the inhabitants of Mutha Oith are not a pretty sight, with some of them being quite grotesque. The text on the cards is often quite silly and frequently pun-laden, as befits the Low Life setting. Some of the more memorable Denizen cards include Byulunculus the Vigilant, Defender of Wusses and the Cremefillian (snack cake descendent) gladiator Glutenous Maximus, Kicker of Buns.

Ultimately, how you’ll feel about Dementalism will depend heavily on your opinion regarding memory games. If you can’t stand them, you may as well give it a pass. Otherwise, the variations it employs offers more opportunities for strategy and lowers the luck factor in comparison to other memory games.

Rating: 17

Product Summary

Dementalism

From: Mutha Oith Creations

Type of Game: Card

Game Design by: Andi Hopp

Cover Art by: Andi Hopp

Additional Art by: Andi Hopp

Game Components Included: Rulesheet, 90 Denizen cards, 21 Giggity cards, 17 Turmoil cards.

Retail Price: $19.95

Number of Players: 2-12

Player Ages: Larva to Crone (8+)

Play Time: 30-60 minutes

Website: http://muthaoithcreations.com/

Reviewed by: Sitting Duck

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About the author

Sitting Duck

Sitting Duck was first introduced to tabletop gaming back in the seventh grade, when a friend brought his copy of the AD&D Monster Manual 2 to school. Since then, he has dabbled in a wide range of games. His current go-to RPG system is Savage Worlds, and he has a particular fondness for Lovecraft themed games, both serious and silly. You can also find him hanging around the Pinnacle Entertainment Group forum

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