Review – Dead Men Tell No Tales: The Kraken

OVERVIEW

Dead Men Tell No Tales: The Kraken is an expansion to the co-operative game Dead Men Tell No Tales, which sees you not only looting a burning ship, but fighting the mighty kraken whilst doing so!

If you are unfamiliar with the base game, DMTNT is a co-operative game where you take on the role of pirates attempting to loot treasure from The Skelit’s Revenge. The treasure is guarded by a skeleton crew and the ship is already ablaze as you board it!

The game is turn based and on each players turn they start by revealing a new tile to add to the ship, a token such as guarded treasure or trapdoor is added to each new tile. Next you will have a set number of actions to take (5 in the base game, 6 in the expansion) which are used to move, attack, pick up tokens and so on. If you don’t use all your actions you can pass them on to the next player, this is extremely handy at times!

After your actions are complete, the ship fights back! The fire level, represented by dice, increases in some of the rooms and the skeleton crew or deckhands may move around or increase in number. Then it’s the Krakens turn!

The Kraken expansion introduces an additional threat, as you will have to continue fighting crew and fire, but also the Kraken and it’s terrifying tentacles! The Kraken moves through the water at the rear of the ship unleashing attacks on the ship and those within it. To win the game you must defeat the Kraken as well as escaping with the treasure. Not too much to ask…

Player Count2 – 5 players
Age13 +
Play Time60 – 120 mins
Weight3.00 / 5
PublisherMinion Games

Disclaimer: This game was provided by the publisher, but my reviews are always 100% honest and all photos and opinions are my own!

GAMEPLAY 8/10

The Kraken expansion really takes this game to a new level in terms of gameplay and enjoyment! You will need to balance collecting treasure and fighting the Kraken. The new actions include attacking the Kraken and chopping off it’s tentacles, but also introduces the use of Cannons! Cannons are used to fight the Kraken and add another dice to the game. You can also now close trapdoors to slow down the deckhands from spawning and spreading

To help balance against this new threat, the expansion introduces Adrenaline tokens, which offer one off bonuses such as a +3 axe to attack the Kraken or skip drawing a Skilet’s Revenge card for one round. These are invaluable bonuses which can really win you the game if used at the right time! You gain Adrenaline tokens from attacking the Kraken or chopping off it’s tentacles.

DMTNT has a lot of dice but these are mostly used just to track the flame level. However there is still dice rolling involved in the battles but there are ways to boost your results so even the most unlucky players can try to mitigate against bad rolls!

AESTHETICS & COMPONENTS 9/10

The art in DMTNT is wonderful and The Kraken expansion (and miniature upgrade kit) truly elevates the game and creates a much more immersive experience. The Kraken models are beautifully detailed and incredible quality, even unpainted, they have a great table presence.

The Kraken expansion also has a new character to add to those from the base game, this character comes with a wooden meeple as well as a plastic miniature. This is because Minion Games released a set of character mini’s for the base game alongside The Kraken expansion, these are included in my photos but are an additional upgrade. One that I would recommend as they are some of the best quality miniatures I’ve seen!

If you have played the base game, you’ll know that there was a slight omission when it came to tracking exploded barrels. This has been remedied in the expansion with new tokens which can be placed over the exploded barrels.

Highly detailed Kraken model

RULES & TEACHING 7/10

The Kraken is one of those expansions that once you start playing with it, you won’t want to play the base game without it! However that does push the learning curve up for new players as there will be more actions they can take, more things to track and rules to remember.

We did find that we overlooked a few of the small rules from time to time when we first added the expansion as there was a lot to remember, but this wasn’t a huge game changer and as it’s a co-op game it doesn’t affect the balance too much.

The rulebook is well written and illustrated and there are great player aids in the base game plus additional ones in the expansion for the new actions etc. but it might have been nice to have all new updated player aids with all information on one rather than additional ones.

Character Miniature Upgrades

REPLAYABILITY 7/10

There is a good amount of variety in the base game as well as the expansion, which both allow you to increase or decrease the difficulty as you see fit.

It’s probably worth noting that The Kraken expansion does increase the play time a little and add slightly more to the set-up, taking it from 60 – 75 minutes to 60 – 120 minutes according to the publishers description.

The expansion really enhances this game and I can’t see me wanting to play the base game without it, but this may be a double edged sword as I might be less likely to introduce the game to new players who haven’t played the base game already. But for experienced gamers this shouldn’t be too much to grasp!

OVERALL SCORE 31/40 = 7.75

RECOMMENDED IF…

… you enjoy the base game already, The Kraken expansion is a no brainer!
… you are looking for a challenging co-operative game
… you love a good pirate theme, DMTNT is highly thematic!


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