Be to the first to 6 VP or be the last person standing in Nevermore

Recommended Age:14+
Play Time:45-60 Minutes
Contents:110 Cards, 60 wood cubes, 13 tokens, 1 Direction Marker
Our Recommended Age:10+ (Please play the game with adults first to be sure)
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I am a HUGE fan of Poe and the Raven is one of my favorite poems so I knew I would love Nevermore by Smirk & Dagger. Your goal is to be the first to 6 victory points OR be the last person left in the game…that isn’t a Raven.

Yep! One of the unique features of the game is that throughout you can be turned into a Raven! You then spend the rest of the game (or until you succeed I guess) trying to get your human form back…I didn’t succeed in that…but I did like the first time I was turned into a Raven….like I said I love Poe.

More on that in a bit…We have the game and the expansion which has updated rules and high quality Resolution Tokens. The original game has chipboard tokens which were of a good quality themselves and had beautifully dark artwork but the new tokens are of a sturdier quality with the same beautifully dark artwork.

sndnevermorereview-33The premium Clay Poker Chip tokens are a bit heavier and come with the expansion. The whole game is beautifully desgined. I love the artwork…and only a little because of the content…

The box is a simple lift top lid with a cardboard insert that includes a spot for the cards and a spot for the tokens. I love organized boxes, especially those that can go on a shelf sideways if needed. The cards are standard material but coated so they are smoother..which to me means higher quality but either way they are not the flimsy cheap type cards…and have I mentioned the artwork?

The game is recommended for ages 14+ but from a mechanics standpoint I would say 8+ is good. However, as with any game check the content and game play yourself befor allowing a child under the recommended age to play. It is a game based on Poe so for sure check the imagery. This is also a Smirk & Dagger game so there will be potential for back stabbery and meanness…all in good fun but maybe not great for kids under 11 or so.

The Gentleman is starting to learn games that allow for meanness and back stabbery but we are easing him into it so he hasn’t played this one just yet. I will stress again to always play a game before allowing a child under the recommended age to play…those recommendations are there for many reasons. Now with that in mind, let’s learn how I lose..err to play!sndnevermorereview-9


Either be the first to 6 VP (victory points) or be the last player standing…we’ve had winners this way.


I am explaining as if you have the expansion, because I highly recommend it, but if not the game play is the same except for the people cards. Which adds to the game, adds more replayability and adds a more fun element to the game…plus they are fantastic. Love the characters!

Before we pass out the characters though lets go ahead and set up the Raven Tokens, Resolution Tokens and the Passing Direction Marker…which is still the old one. The Tokens are the ones you use not the old chipboard ones…if you have them that is. Again I am assuming you have it and will just explain like you do from now on.

SO! Setup the playing area with the Conspiracy Raven Token at the head of the line, followed by the Attack, Healing, Radiance and Victory Tokens and at the end is the Skulking Raven Token. Just under this area is the Passing Direction Marker with the Left (L) side up.

There are 12 Characters in the expansion and each are unique..and beautifully creepy. Their features are similiar and balanced but are designed to fit different play styles. Some are more aggressive and some are more defensive so you MUST be able to choose your Character…sort of.

Give each player two of the Character Mats face down. You can then choose between the two and the one you don’t want pass to the person on your Left and can then choose again. This decision is final but it gives an opportunity to choose from 3 Characters in a fair way. Put the remaining characters in the box.

My personal favorites are Lenore and Ligeia. Lenore has the ability to draw an additional Light Magick card while in human form and in Raven form you can choose to Peck for an additional damage if you have the most Healing card or are tied.

Ligiea is a bit more…wicked. In human form when you score Skulking Ravens you take one Health cube from the Healthiest player and add it to your pile.sndnevermorereview-7

In Raven form whenever another player is transformed into a Raven you can give up 1 victory point to transform back to human! I’ve done this….but sometimes you are the ONLY Raven…for the whole game…from near the beginning of it…yeah…

Now shuffle the Main deck and place it where everyone can reach them, shuffle the Light deck and put it near the Main deck and then shuffle the Magick deck and pass one out to each player face down then put the rest next to the other decks.

Finally pass out 1 Health/Raven Token and 4 (regular version had 5)Health Cubes. Put the Health side up on top of the Raven square on the Character Mat. This will show only the Human form text and let other players know you are Human…for now..when or if you are transformed into a Raven simply flip the token and put it on the Human square.

Determining the first player is interesting and not a way I’m familiar with, but I like it! Select a dealer and then each player draws a card from the Main deck until someone draws a Raven, That is the first player! Now you are ready to play!


There are three(regular version has 2) phases to a turn, the Drafting phase, the Resolution phase and the End phase. You should already have your cards from the Main deck…you can now pick those up.

The Drafting Phase

During each hand 5 cards are passed out to each player, which you will be forced to choose just 2 to keep. Then you must pass the remaining 3 in the direction indicated by the Passing Direction Marker which should be going Left to start.

Now you will choose 3 to keep, any 3, and pass Two cards to the L and then do this once more time, for the Final Drafted Hand, in the same direction. You will change the direction of Passing to R (Flip the Passing Direction Marker) during the NEXT Draft Phase and then again L during the one after that…it alternates.

Important info about the cards…There are 5 different suits, Attack (sword), Healing (heart), Radiance (white swirly thing), Victory (a chalice) and the Raven (which has a raven on it…of course). There are 12 in each suite which altogether make up the Main deck.sndnevermorereview-23

You have to figure out which suit you want to try to have the most of after the Drafting phase is over. Each suit has its own effects that you will get to use during the Resolution phase.

You have to have the most of a suit in order to use its effects so choose your Draft picks carefully. You can tie for most though, the person closest to the dealer going the direction of passing will go first…except if it IS the dealer they always go last in a tie.

Another thing to consider is trying not to pass good cards to the next player…you don’t want to keep giving them the same suit…they even have a term for this, Hate-Drafting and it is a good strategy to use…we tend to play this way though since I lose a lot most of our group doesn’t worry too much about specifically sabotaging me hehe…silly people…

I will briefly go over each deck..basics really because you can read the instructions and/or play to learn more…it’s only fair.

sndnevermorereview-5The Attack suit lets you choose a player to attack. You can’t just do any amount of damage though it is dependent on how many Attack cards you have minus the amount of cards the person has who has the second highest number of Attack cards…there is an example in the instructions.

You can heal up to the 4 health cubes back if you chose and had the most in the Healing Deck. The same method is used as with the Attack suit, the amount you have minus the amount of the person who has the second highest amount of cards. You CAN gain VP instead if you are already at full health.

The Radiance suit allows you to draw from the Light Magick deck. Use the same method as the Attack and Healing suits. You can use the Light Magick cards based on what they say and you gain whatever it says as well. Also, whoever plays 5 Radiance cards heals 2 and gets 1 VP and you still earn the Light Magick cards.

Victory cards will get you VP or Victory Points using the same method as the other suits. You only need 6 to win the game remember so you probably shouldn’t pass an opportunity to gain these cards.

Raven cards are tricky. They don’t work like the other suits and are usually bad to have…except when they aren’t. In low numbers they will cost you cards from other suits if you have any after the Drafting is ended, however, if you have a Conspiracy or 5 Raven cards the hand is over right there. Ravens are first called for in the Resolution phase.sndnevermorereview-22

The player who played 5 Raven cards gets to deal 1 damage to every other player and draws a Shadow Magick card and gains 1 VP as well. Very powerful hand indeed! I haven’t done this but have tried for it…if you get 3 or 4 the Skulking Raven token.

It is a reminder to call for remaining Ravens at the end of the Resolution phase. If you have the most Raven cards at the end of this call you get to draw a Shadow Magick card.

The number of cards you can draw is based on the same method as the other suits. The Shadow cards you draw can be played when they say and do damage among other things to other players. Light and Shadow decks are exactly what you think, good and evil…so to speak.

The Resolution Phase

I explained the cards first so you have an idea of why you want each suit…sometimes when I first play games I don’t think about that sort of thing much as I get the hang of HOW to play…which is why I always lose a first game…unless I get lucky hehe.

This phase starts when the Drafting phase has ended. This is also where those Tokens you set up at the beginning come into play…literally. First you check for a Conspiracy of Ravens, then you go to the Resolution Tokens in order.

sndnevermorereview-12Basically follow the order in which they were set up. The Conspiracy token, Attack, Healing, Radiance, and Victory and then at the end Skulking Raven token which is resolved at the end of this phase.

After the first hand though the order will change. You will shuffle the tokens and put them face down in a row. Start with the Conspiracy and end with the Skulking Raven tokens as always but the middle 5 will not be revealed until it is their turn. The order can matter…especially if you are in danger of being turned into a Raven…which I usually am.

Each token is flipped and resolved in order.You can still play Light and Shadow Magick cards as you want and they allow and then resolve them. I will not explain all the possibilities of these cards though…it would take awhile and you can read them as you play or before if you want.

If during the course of the game you reach 0 Health you become a Raven.Your Health marker gets flipped and moved to cover the Human spot on your Character mat. You are not out of the game but you can’t win if you are a Raven….well mostly can’t win.

You can be turned back to Human form when Skulking Ravens are called. You need either 5 of a suit or one card from each of the 5 suits. You need to have them at the end of the Drafting phase/beginning of the Resolution phase. So if someone makes you discard cards during the Resolution phase the cards you collected still count.

sndnevermorereview-16After the Resolution Phase there will be a call for Ravens turning back to humans which is known as the End phase. Then the Clean up phase starts. Discard all played cards, shuffle the main deck, dealer changes to previous dealers Left, Passing Direction Marker flips to the other direction and shuffle and place Resolution Tokens. Play another hand!


There are 3 ways to win. Be human and earn 6 VP and you win immediately. Highest health breaks a tie and after that continue play until a winner is determined. If there is only one human left they win immediately. The final way to win is being a Raven and if your Peck (which is explained in what you can do as a Raven) takes out the last of the human players you get transformed back into a human and win. Yay!

I tried to do that…it didn’t work. I’ve ended the game as a Raven…but humans won. I love the game and the artwork. Nevermore is not a game for people who are sore losers though…just fyi. There is a lot of room to be…mean in this game but it’s all in good fun. Our group enjoys a good “screw your neighbor” type of game every once in awhile and Nevermore has that option as well as being a great game.

Share your Conspiracy with us! @MyGeeklings #Nevermore @SmirkandDaggersndnevermorereview2

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“But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.”
~ Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven

Author: sandyz