SUPER DARK Play Test and Team Interview

Hello everyone! It’s been a minute since I’ve done a post about a game, or in this case, a play test experience and team interview. The last boardgame related post I did, was on a Call to Adventure boardgame specifically themed around the Stormlight Archive books. I really enjoyed that game (it helps that I’m a HUGE Brandon Sanderson fan)! This time, I am happy to share I got to play test an upcoming hidden role game called SUPER DARK. The team behind SUPER DARK, which just announced their Kickstarter campaign (as of this posting), describes their game as a “social deduction board game about money in politics”. If you’ve played games like The Resistance: Avalon (2012), you’ll be familiar with the hidden role game mechanic.

Players are assigned to one of two teams—Citizen or Super PAC—and compete to elect candidates through strategic donations. The citizens outnumber the Super PACs, but only Super PAC members know for certain who’s on their team. Citizens have to play in the dark.

SUPER DARK Kickstarter

SUPER DARK takes the mechanic a step further by allowing two teams of players, called Citizens and Super PACs, to compete to elect candidates through strategic donations. The game gets interesting since, Citizens outnumber the Super PACs, but only Super PAC members are aware of who’s on their team. Citizens have to determine who’s on their side, e.g., as Super PAC members have their own agenda “corrupting” candidates that get elected in their favor. The first team to elect half of the candidates in their favor wins. Players win or lose as a team. Citizens need to play carefully, and elect candidates without inadvertently helping to elect a candidate for the Super PAC! It can get tricky, which is what makes SUPER DARK so fun to play.

Here’s a short video from the SUPER DARK Kickstarter campaign which explains the game mechanics:

Play Test Experience

I got to play the game as part of the SUPER DARK team’s Kickstarter release held at Dogpatch Games in San Francisco. Our group played with a full 8 player party, and I can say it was a lot fun. It did take us (or at least me) around 2 games to get a handle of our roles, the game mechanics, and to work out the game actions each player needed to perform to win the game together as a team. For example, it took me a moment to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each of the different candidates each team gets to elect, pictured below.

I for one, can vouch for how challenging it was to try and get my fellow players to believe I was on their side! It didn’t help that it took me a moment to understand the game mechanics, so it was great that I was able to help win that game by following suit from what my fellow team mates did the first time around. Discussing with your fellow players helps. I was also grateful for the luck on the draw, at least on my side, since I drew Citizen both times and I found it easier to play Citizen at least for first couple of times I played. I did, at the start of our second game, fall into voting with (unbeknownst to me) members of the Super PAC. But, as another player put it, my earnestness to declare my Citizen-SHIP (put intended), helped our group vote our way to victory! I can also see how fun it would be to play as a Super PAC, and look forward to playing that role in a future game as well.

Our play test group (I’m on the far left) in deep thought, deliberating our next moves.

So overall, I have to say playing SUPER DARK was a blast! If you’re into hidden role games, working closely with others, and team strategy, you’ll enjoy SUPER DARK just as much as I did.

Furthermore, I was able to chat with one of the creators, Ankit Buddhiraju. We talked about the dedicated play testing, and effort that went in to putting the game together. It definitely showed, as I can say there was never a dull moment playing SUPER DARK. Check out some highlights from our conversation below.

Q&A with SUPER DARK Team member Ankit Buddhiraju

Ankit, appreciate your time, can you share a little about how your team got together to make SUPER DARK, including your inspiration for the game?


Three members of our team (Tulsi, Drew, and Zack) came up with the original idea for the game in a class called “Designing Serious Games” that they took at Stanford. They wanted to make a game that explored the topic of “dark money” – i.e. money donated to politicians by anonymous donors – in a fun and interesting way.

Kubrat and I are huge fans of bluffing/deception games like Werewolf and Avalon. When we learned about Super Dark, we loved the concept. The idea of donating money to political candidates and corrupting them with dark money sounded fresh and unique. So the five of us decided to start working together to refine the ruleset and eventually publish the game.

That’s great, how long did it take your to make the game? How did you know SUPER DARK was ready for Kickstarter, and how excited are you for the launch?


It took 2 years to make the game. It took over a year of testing to really refine the rules into something that felt balanced for both teams, fun to play over and over again, strategic enough for advanced players, and accessible enough for new players. That’s a really tough balance to strike!

We’ve shown Super Dark to over 100 people, and we always ask for feedback after each game. Once most of our play testers were consistently saying “this is a fun game and I would play it again”, we knew we had something special. At that point we felt confident getting our game ready for Kickstarter.

We are SUPER excited to launch, and by the time this article goes out, we will probably be fully funded or close to it. It makes us so happy to see so many people playing and supporting our game!

More play test photos. Dogpatch Games, San Francisco

What would you like to share for people interested to play SUPER DARK? For example, for players who’ve played hidden role games before? Or for new players to the hidden role game mechanic?


If you’ve played hidden role games before, we think you’ll really enjoy Super Dark. Compared to other hidden role games, the money donation mechanic is really fun, really nuanced, and adds a resource-management feeling to the game. Also, even if you’re a Super PAC and people know it, you still have a way to win, and it’s still fun – which is not always the case in other games in this genre.

If you’re new to hidden role games – they are a fantastic genre of game if you like discussion, debate, and bluffing. Hidden role games lead to passionate arguments, delicious betrayals, and huge sighs of relief. It’s an emotional roller coaster no matter what side you’re on. Convincing people you’re innocent, and trying to get a read on other people and what their actions mean, is a ton of fun!

Happy play testers ready for another round of SUPER DARK! Dogpatch Games, San Francisco

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?


Our Kickstarter is going on as we speak: If our game sounds fun, please consider backing it! And thank you Skkaw for trying our game and sharing it with your readers!

Thank you Ankit for your time! Wishing your team the best of luck, and a successful Kickstarter campaign. It’s a really fun game, and I, among other players who enjoyed playing it during our test run, really support seeing it get its full release.

With that said, check out their Kickstarter here, and if you’re so inclined, consider backing SUPER DARK. It’s a lot of fun!

UPDATE: As of this writing, SUPER DARK was past its Kicstarter fun goal! Congratulations to Ankit and the rest of the SUPER DARK team. Can’t wait to see this fully released after the campaign.

As usual, be sure to likefollowsubscribe and do all that good stuff to get more geek and pop-culture goodness from us here at SKKAW.BLOG.

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