As day becomes night in the town of Fallbrook, a battle begins. Good and evil will clash in this unseen realm. Deliverance is a dungeon crawler where angels and demons battle over the saints in this sleepy town. Today we’re taking a look at this Biblically themed game of light and darkness from designer Andrew Lowen.
An Army of Angels
Deliverance is a cooperative dungeon crawler that can be played solo or with 4 players. Each player controls an angel with a unique set of actions found on the player board. While the game comes with a campaign that can be played through, I’ll only cover the basics to the gameplay and how the mechanics work in this preview.
This battle between angels and demons takes place across multiple boards that are set up as a grid over the town of Fallbrook. Below this modular board is the Darkness tracker and battle track that shows the demonic enemies that are currently involved in the battle. The darkness tracker will bring added difficulty as the cards roll out at the start of each round. Darkness cards are added based on the number of angels and tormented saint tokens found on the board. When the track fills up, these cards begin to turn over and affect the players.
Angels will have 2 initiative tokens that can be used to trigger actions and attack the demons they meet in battle. Actions such as movement are free to use the first time it’s triggered on your turn. Some actions allow you to gain or lose courage which acts almost like a cool down meter in the game. More powerful actions use more courage while common actions like prayer will refill your courage tokens.
Angels and demons will alternate taking turns as the battle moves forward. Demons come in various forms and have a basic action then an action that is controlled by a die roll. Demons like the Meddling Imps prove small and annoying while the Abomination is a tank that will stay on the board for a while.
The Battle Rages On
I really like the mechanics behind the Darkness track because it creates a tension in the game that has to be dealt with by the players. At the start of a new round, new darkness cards appear based on the number of angels and tormented saint tokens on the board. Players can help these saints by standing adjacent to or on top of the saint token and making sure they’re not adjacent to a demon.
When the 5 spots on the Darkness track fill up, darkness cards will begin flipping over and taking affect. Taking the prayer action during your turn and passing a dice check allows players to remove a darkness card from the track. Deliverance does an excellent job of creating an urgency here that has to be dealt with. Ignoring the build up of these cards just makes your job so much tougher.
Deliverance awards XP for helping saints on the board and killing demons throughout the game. This pool of XP are spent gaining Talents that are unique to your angel or gaining Heavenly Treasures. These include armor, weapons and other items that can be used in battle.
Dice are used throughout the game to pass “tests” which means the dice have to meet a specific threshold in order to use the action. This is just enough randomness that sometimes you’ll fail in doing an action that you’ve done over and over. It never felt punishing but it offered enough variety that you can’t depend on doing 1 action each and every time.
After the initial crew of demons are defeated, you’ll roll out Prince Cards for the Final Battle. This is a tougher enemy that has a curated deck of darkness cards. You’ll go to battle against this boss along with a new set of demons to finish the game.
Even without experiencing the campaign that is being developed for the game, there is a ton of content in this box. The map is larger based on the player count and the mechanics feel really solid from everything we’ve played. I’m really impressed with the amount of lore that was put together for Deliverance. There’s lore on each of the demon and angel cards that makes the world inside the book feel more complete.
I really like the attention to detail put into the illustrations of the game and how each angel and demon feels unique. Playing with a different angel each time will give you enough variety to keep the game fresh. The only thing I struggled with is the reliance on the color blue when it comes to the game board and components on the table. It doesn’t have the same pop that the colorful player boards and Heavenly Treasure cards have.
Deliverance feels like a game that has been through many refinements over the years. The Biblical narrative and focus on scripture is there and comes from a genuine place. The attention to detail from the art to the game mechanics show that a faith based game can stand alongside anything you’d pick up at your local game store.
If Deliverance sounds like a game that would be a good fit for your family or game group, do yourself a favor and jump on this Kickstarter today. Don’t miss the option for the deluxe version of the game that includes some fantastic miniatures.
Deliverance is being funded through Kickstarter through July 8, 2021.
A prototype of the game was provided for this coverage. Components and rules covered in this preview are not finalized. Read more about our preview policies at One Board Family.