Dead Man’s Draw

Dead Man’s Draw
1-2 (pass-and-play mode)
Universal App:Yes (there is a single app which works on both iPhone and iPad in HD)
Purchase for iPhone:Use link below to purchase universal app
Purchase for iPad:
Dead Man's Draw
Price: Free
User rating:
GD Star Rating
Dead Man's Draw, 8.4 out of 10 based on 126 ratings

Dead Man’s Draw is the first mobile casual game from veteran developer Stardock, who are better known for creating deep games like Galactic Civilizations and Sins of a Solar Empire.

Arr! Time to play some poker, me hearties!

Arr! Time to play some poker, me hearties!

With many physical card and board games making the jump to iOS and Android, it’s interesting to see a reversal of roles as is evident here. Dead Man’s Draw was designed from the beginning to be a digital-only game. However, the developers found they had so much fun play-testing the physical draft of the game, that they’ve now launched a Kickstarter Campaign to help them develop the physical game.


The goal is simple: gain more points than your opponent before the deck of 50 cards runs out. There are ten different suits, which are: Anchor, Cannon, Chest, Hook, Key, Kraken, Map, Mermaid, Oracle and Sword. On each turn, you may draw as many cards as you wish. If you tap them to end your turn, you accumulate the value of the highest value cards as points. But if you draw two of the same suit, then you’re bust and you forfeit all drawn cards.

Dead Man's Draw

Each suit has a different ability (e.g. a Cannon card lets you destroy an opponent’s card). That said, these abilities are not available in the earlier levels; you must play through the first few levels to unlock them. Once unlocked, they can be used together, allowing some powerful combo moves. For example, draw a Sword and steal an Oracle card from your opponent. Now you can see what the next card on the deck is, so you can decide whether to draw again or take your booty and run.

Dead Man's Draw

An abundance of “tournaments” (levels) are available in which you try your luck against increasingly difficult pirates, with a variety of game modes. As you progress, you unlock “traits” which make your card abilities more powerful. For example, if you apply the Mystic trait to a match, every time you draw an Oracle card, you can see three cards on the deck before drawing them. Of course, there is a catch: you can only apply a trait to three matches, requiring a “refill” with in-game gold before you can use it again.

Dead Man's Draw

The best feature by far is the pass-to-play mode, which allows you to have some tabletop pirate fun with a friend. Sadly there is no online multiplayer; a feature that would be perfect for this game. Hopefully it’ll be implemented in the near future.


Eye-catching visuals, a solid pirate theme and fast-moving gameplay make Dead Man’s Draw easy to play and hard to put down. The music and sound effects are reminiscent of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Dead Man's Draw

On the whole, the developers have managed to strike the delicate balance of delivering a premium game with fair IAP. For the initial price, you get a slick, addictive game, loaded with plenty of gameplay. Whilst you don’t need to buy any IAP, by mid-way into the tournaments, you’ll find your luck running out. This is due to the traits system, which does seem to unfairly favour the AI. You can purchase and refill traits with real money, but I wouldn’t bother. The only upgrade I found of real use was the 2x multiplier (£1.49) which doubles your gold winnings for life, making it less of a grind to earn gold and refill your traits. There is one trait you can only unlock through IAP – the Plunderer Trait (£1.49) which I feel is a tad unfair.

Dead Man's Draw


7/10 A lot of thought and effort has gone into making Dead Man’s Draw a fun and appealing game. Admittedly, success is dependent on luck of the draw, but you can counter this with a bit of strategy. Progress through the tournaments becomes a real slog, due to the odds being heavily weighted in favour of the AI. The lack of multiplayer is odd considering the format, but otherwise this is a solid game.

There are 4 comments

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  1. HH

    Thx for the review. This is a brilliant game. I have been playing it now for 4 hours or so and I’m not bored yet. the lack of multiplayer is biggest complain. A physical version could be awesome as well.

  2. Loganeer

    This game is so much fun. Each level brings something new. Simple press your luck style game that’s better than almost any other press your luck game I’ve played. Thematic and polished.

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