Deadfall Review


Deadfall is a game by James Ernest and Nora Miller, published by Cheapass Games. It is for 2-7 players. In this game, players will be playing cards in a bluffing style game similar to Liar’s Dice. Of course, they’ll have to be careful that they don’t get caught in a lie. The player that can best bluff and call their way to victory will be declared the winner.

Before I begin, it should be noted that this game can also be used as a deck for the Pairs card game. All that’s needed are the rules for Pairs which can easily be found from the company’s website. Also, you will need some coins or poker chips to keep score with. The rules recommend about 50 per player. The game does not come with these included.

To begin, players should be given some coins or poker chips. The rules recommend about 50 per player. The deck is then shuffled. Players start by anteing up a coin. Each player is then dealt a hand of cards, 6 in a regular game, 7 with 2 players and 5 with 7 players. Players then choose a card from their hand. This is called the “door” card. Players simultaneously reveal their chosen card. The player with the lowest card become the first player. Play now begins.

On a player’s turn, they may either play a card or call another player. If the player chooses to play a card, they must then place the card on top of any cards that they have previously played. The cards are arranged so that each card is visible with the last card on top.

The other option that a player has is to call another player. Doing this means that the player chooses another player’s top card and claims that it is dead. That is to say that there are no more cards of that number in any player’s hand. That includes the player that calls’ hand. All players then show their hand. If the player guessed correctly, then they are the winner. If they guess incorrectly, then they lose and the hand is over. If there are multiple top cards that are the same number, then the one that was played last must be the one that is chosen.

Once a winner and a loser have been decided, the loser must pay the winner a number of coins equal to the value of the called card. The winner also collects the antes. The game continues until an agreed upon end condition occurs. That can be one hand, a certain amount of chips, or a set time limit. It’s up to the players.


This game consists of only a deck of cards packaged inside a tuckbox. The cards are great quality just like previous Cheapass games cards. The artwork on them is really great looking. They have a fantasy theme based on the Deadfall world. Unfortunately, the game does not come with any poker chips or coins to keep track of your score with. Of course, I’m assuming that most people have something that would work, even if it’s just a big bowl of pennies. In any event, the game looks really nice and is pocket sized for easy travel. There’s not really much more that I can say.
7 out of 10

The rulebook for this game is a small double-sided piece of paper that folds up small enough to fit inside the tuck box. There’s a glossy finish that gives it an excellent look and durability. There are a few pictures on the paper as well as some examples of game play. The paper also includes some tips on how to play the game more effectively. There are also several variations that are included in the rules to change up how the game is played. Everything is well written and easy to understand. It doesn’t take long to read either. All in all, I’d say that it does an excellent job.
8 out of 10

This is not a difficult game to play. In a lot of ways, the game is a simple bluffing/deduction style game, much like poker. In fact, the game is self contained with no real ending set in stone, just like poker. While that’s cool, I’ve really moved past card games of that nature a long time ago. That’s not to say that this is a bad game. It’s just not a particular style that I’m all that fond of. I do like that the game is quick and simple. I also like that the deck can be used as a Pairs deck to play Pairs with. Fans of simple card games like poker or even Pairs should enjoy this game. I’d even say that if you like Liar’s Dice, you’ll probably like this one as well. The good thing is that as a simple little filler game with non-gamers, it works well. I’ve played it with people who enjoy Uno and Phase 10. They all seemed to enjoy it on par with those games. For a gamer such as myself, it’s ok. At least, it does get player’s to the table.
7 out of 10

Deadfall is a simple card game of bluffing and deduction. The game can take as long as you’d like to play it. In my opinion, it works best in short sessions lasting around 15-20 minutes. The artwork on the cards is really great. I love the fantasy style artwork. The quality on the cards is excellent as well. The game is very portable in a pocket sized tuck box. It is however missing any way of keeping score, either in poker chips, coins or a scratch pad. Fans of games like poker, Liar’s Dice, Uno or Phase 10 should enjoy this game. I do like that the deck can double as a Pairs deck. The game also comes with several variations to change up the game play just a bit. For non-gamers, this should be entertaining enough to easily get them interested in playing. For me, I found it to be ok. If you’re looking for something simple to play with several people that won’t take too long. This is a game worth looking into. It’s definitely more interesting to me than playing poker. In that regard, I’ll give it a passing grade.
7 out of 10


For more information about this and other great games, please check out Cheapass Games at their site.

About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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