Happy Daggers, Part 2: Dramatic Tension and Irony

Welcome back! If you haven’t read Part 1 of how to play Happy Daggers, you should go ahead and do that now. Otherwise, this part is going to get really confusing!

So remember last time when I said there were five Attack and five Defense cards? That’s not quite true. Each player also gets two SP cards, Trip and Vault.

vault b

Vault is the ultimate Defense card for getting out of sticky situations. If you’re pushed into the corner, you can play this and switch places with the attacker before they get a chance to corner you. It isn’t perfect – a defense value of 4 means it’s likely you’re going to get pushed this turn – but it can save you from taking a lot of damage.

You may notice the last line there: “Costs 1 Irony to use”. Irony is a resource that you gain from taking damage that can be spent on SP cards. To learn more about how you get it, let’s take a gander at one of the character cards!

Art by Ian Jay. Nobody likes playing board games with Hamlet because he always takes hours to do anything.
Art by Ian Jay. Nobody likes playing board games with Hamlet because he always takes hours to do anything.

Each character card has a Damage track that goes from 0 to “I am slain!” at 8, and an Irony track that goes from 0 to 4. Both players start with 0 damage and 1 Irony. Whenever your damage counter lands on or passes a blue number on your damage track, you gain 1 Irony.

As you can see, Irony is a scarce resource. So what could Trip possibly be that you would spend Irony on it over Vault?

Trip b

How does taking another turn on the attack sound?

Trip only works against three particular cards, which means you aren’t guaranteed the extra turn. However, it works against Vault, and you’ll probably know when your opponent is going to use it: When they’re backed into a dead end and you’re on the offense. Perfect for taking away their newfound advantage!

But wait, “without a Dramatic Tension bonus”? What does that mean?

Dramatic Tension is something that builds over the course of the game and increases  the distance both players can push each other. At the end of every turn, you move the Dramatic Tension counter up one space on this track:

dt-track preview

If this image looks cropped, it’s because it’s only part of the mat: The other part is a list of all the Attack and Defense cards in the game for both players to reference. (I can’t give away all of the game’s secrets in these blog posts!)

As you can guess, the different levels of the Dramatic Tension track provide a bonus to either player whenever they push their opponent. For example, if the track is at +2 Historical, and you would push an opponent 3 squares, you instead push them 5 squares.

Whenever a player is cornered, the Dramatic Tension counter lowers until it reaches a space right above a sword. This means that if you can corner your opponent, you’ll be at less risk of being pushed a large distance on the next turn!

That’s about it for how to play Happy Daggers! Keep watching our Twitter for an exciting announcement about Tiny Trainwrecks in the near future!