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Dark Side
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Dark Side

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Ages Play Time Players
10+ 60 minutes 3-5

Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

Publisher(s): Clementoni

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Product Description

A game about the dark side within each of us. Each player is dealt cards with certain characteristics. His dark side is the one in which he has the most points. The active player plays an action card allowing him to voice his suspicions of the other players, formulate accusations, or brag about his own grandiose actions--reactions and actions of the players reveal more and more cards and bring scoring opportunities. A player who is forced to reveal his dark side drops out of active play. Score is kept on a scoring track. At the end of the game, highest score wins.

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

  • Publisher(s): Clementoni

  • Year: 2001

  • Players: 3 - 5

  • Time: 60 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 1,018 grams


  • 1 gameboard
  • 65 secret cards
  • 25 action cards
  • 6 alibi cards
  • 5 player tiles
  • 5 game figures
  • 4 tiles
  • 10 bragging chips

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3 in 2 reviews

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Rich bluffing but unfocused
November 06, 2001

My group enjoyed playing this game, but wasn't thrilled about it. They wouldn't be likely to play it again, although I think it should be given another chance.

The game takes a while to get going. You can't make reasonable accusations without information, and information is slow to come. Although there are only five or so action card types, we had to keep referring to the rules for what to do for each one; they didn't stick in our brains intuitively. However, the action picked up later in the game. After several players are knocked out of the primary competition, the nature of the game changes somewhat. The players whose dark sides have been revealed have greater incentive to reveal other players' dark sides, so they take greater risks.

There was significant activity at the end, with the ultimate winner decided only in the last turn.

Throughout the game, there is a variety of bluffing. A challenge to an opponent, for example, might be made to raise the stakes or just to make the opponent think you want to raise the stakes. With repeated play, I think players would develop intrigue and skill in the game.

It's fun to delve into your friends' dirty secrets.
June 13, 2001

Every person has his shameful secrets. In this game these secrets are categorized (five categories), given point values (1 to 5), and printed on cards. The point of the game is to find out other players' secrets.

Each turn you flip up one of five different types of action cards and earn points. Some action cards let you brag about how many points you have in a category. The more points you brag about the more points you earn, but also the more you reveal about which of the five categories is your 'dark side'. (Your 'dark side' is the category where you have the most total points.) You can also lie about how many points you have, but if your bluff is called, you risk getting no points.

Other action cards let you find out some of the secrets of the other players. As secrets are revealed, they are placed face up in front of you, where they still count toward your total, but are no longer secret. The fun part is reading the secrets as you play them, and learning that your friends rob piggy banks or dress up as a moving company to break into expensive villas. (It's a little cumbersome going back and forth to a sheet of English translations of the German cards, but we found it worthwhile because the horrid little secrets add to the fun of the game.)

You can also accuse players when you think you know what their 'dark side' is, and earn or lose points depending on whether you were right or not. This has serious consequences, because a player can not win the game if their 'dark side' has been revealed, unless all the other players have also had their 'dark sides' revealed.

The five types of actions are unequal; some types of actions will get you significantly more points than others. And as your action is determined by a random draw each turn, this can result in an unbalancing effect as some players get lucky and others get unlucky in the card draws. However, the most points you can get come from making successful accusations. Others can make sure you don't get too far ahead by being co-accusers, but they still don't get as many points as you do. (And they don't lose as many points if you're wrong.)

The bluffing, challenging, deducing, revealing, and accusing make this game fun enough that it is almost worth four stars. It would be there if it weren't for the high luck factor. Still we had a great time and will play again.

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