Deadly Dowagers' board game.
Image credit: Sparkworks

Boy meets girl, they fall in love, and… this is not at all what Deadly Dowagers plays like. The game, designed by Sarah Shipp, who is debuting in the board games hobby, and illustrated by Mercedes Palacios is all about observing due decorum when looking for a good match for a lady in the Victorian era. 

Become the Duchess By Cunning and Business Acumen

But there is more, as money and murder get involved before long. Deadly Dowagers is a game that, well, has its unique theme. In it, 2-6 players will play as one of the lovely ladies who have been squirrelling away wealth to increase their dowry, although this often requires being less than agreeable to others.

However, the game balances this nicely with an infamy mechanic which will essentially be how you attract the duke whom you think would make a fine husband. Playing as your typical middle-class Victorian woman, you set out to become a duchess yourself, but you have not exactly been born to high-society parents.

This is okay because money is the next best thing and the game has you toil away for 30-90 minutes trying to amass the biggest wealth. Things aren’t all that bad, as you will start with a small dowry and an estate that you can manage in order to advance your status, catching even the duke’s eye who will no doubt recognize you as a suitable partner providing you have enough wealth to make a compelling case.

One Last Death Necessary to Wrap It Up

The game will see the players marry strategically to increase their wealth as well, as place investments. It all comes down to being good at pretty much everything, though. You need to pick a suitable husband, make sure the house is well-kept, and above all else, manage your money smartly. Death is an option, but not for you – rather a tiresome husband who has served his purpose and now need to go discretely.

To trigger the game’s end, the player who is playing must have no husband, no more than 9 infamy points, and play a remarry card to finally get what they wanted all along – marry the Duke and secure the title. Oh, and the player also has to have spent 120 crowns so there is no skipping the Victorian pecking order. It all must be done by the book – plus a few discrete assassinations here and there, but even that is the sign of a true noblewoman. 

Stoyan entered the hobby over seven years ago and his collection has been growing at a pace his spouse has described as “concerning.” Willing to push the boundaries of the connubial bliss to its extremes, Stoyan is here to bring you the latest updates and developments from the world of board games.