Conquer the Underground Realms in the “Dark Hearts” Solo Wargame

Kickstarter campaign launched now

Drows are evil, arrogant and cruel elves with a pale hair and grey skin (no sun in the underworld), dwelling in the cities below the surface. They’re certainly not the people you’d like to meet in the dark alley alone at night, but there’s no doubt they’re characterful – or simply cool and a bit edgy, scheming and betraying each other, seething with anger against the denizens of the lands above their Underdark kingdoms. The popularity of characters such as Baldur’s Gate III Minthara shows that everyone likes dark elves.

This makes it surprising that almost no board games or even RPGs delve into the treacherous relations of these pale, pointy-eared underworld dwellers. The only one I’m aware of is Tyrant of the Underdark, which is set in the Forgotten Realms universe. But that game is neither solo nor cooperative, and area control mechanics don’t interest me much.

However, this changed with just launched Kickstarter for Dark Hearts, a pretty ambitious project of a solo wargame/RPG, where the player takes the role of eponymous Dark Heart, or a warlord chosen to conquer the Underdark (or “the World Below” – I guess the Underdark is a Wizards of The Coast IP).

Dark Hearts cover

There are lots of fantastic ideas in this upcoming game, so let’s take a peek at the features that make me excited for Dark Hearts:

  • Simple Mechanics: “Dark Hearts” combines solo wargame dynamics with RPG elements. The game is structured in the campaigns, requiring you to conquer territories and balance the loyalty of your three advisors. In addition to campaigns, there are a few enemy races to play against, which should result in replayability. Mechanics seem to be simple but should work well. Besides campaign maps, there will be tables with random events.
  • Mature Themes: The game delves into some adult subjects, precisely what you would expect from ruthless, arrogant, and sensual elves living underground. Some short stories are sprinkled throughout the campaign to get the players into the mood.
  • Full solo play: The game is intended to be solo playable.

Two of the opposing races from Dark Hearts

Part of the campaign map preview

Advisor sheet

Several supplements have already been announced, including the “Dark Lovers” – an expansion that adds a personal layer of romantic relationships, which we’ve definitely never seen in a wargame, and even solo games rarely tackle this matter. The Dark Heart has to maintain relations with his partner and, in return, can leverage them for favors and connections – a truly dark elf way of love! This relationship mechanics looks intriguing and will surely be an intriguing addition to the game. Further stretch goals include more campaigns and new mechanics for religion (“Dark Faiths”).

Dark Lovers cover

“Dark Hearts” will be available in PDF and physical book formats if the campaign successfully concludes. After a few days, it’s funded around 25% and rises quickly, so we will likely see this project coming to fruition. This should be quite an unusual game in terms of theme, presentation, and rules, and it will undoubtedly go beyond simple solo RPGs. The mix of a wargame and RPG for one player is still something we didn’t see often.

Dark Hearts is made by Mobinet Games, which released previously Tome of Endless Romance, the first system-agnostic RPG supplement focused on romantic encounters and You: A Solo Roleplaying Game.

Check out more details on the “Dark Hearts” Kickstarter page to see more information, and if you’re interested, back it now!

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