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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Chain of Ghouls

For this weeks segment we’re battling against vampires and lycans in order to survive the night in the grisly deck-building game known as Nightfall.  Have you ever seen 30 Days of Night, or Underworld?  This game is a collaboration of those two films.  The vampires look very similar to the ones in 30 Days of Night, and the game actually takes place over the course of a couple weeks in darkness so that’s fitting with consideration to the film.  If you’ve ever seen Underworld you know that it’s all about vampires versus werewolves which is also the case in this game.  In this deck-builder you and your opponent/s will face off to attack each other giving as many wounds to each other as possible.  Once by the end of the game, whoever has the least amount of wounds is declared the strongest player and the winner.  The howling werewolves and the shrill screaming vampires echo over the land.  Venture forward and read about this horrific deck building game of survival through the night. 

Players begin by drafting cards from the supplied draft cards provided in the box. These cards are only used in the beginning to decide which cards will be used in the commons for the duration of the game. Once this is determined, the draft cards are returned to the box. You will have 8 different card types that will make up your commons. In this example, we’ve decided to place them in a circle with the wound cards and main deck in the center. Turns are made up of 4 phases to be played in the following sequential order: 1) The Combat Phase, 2) The Chain Phase, 3) The Claim Phase, and 4) The Cleanup Phase. Throughout the game, you will undoubtably become wounded during an attack, and sometimes the players are able to directly target specific cards, while others are up to you to determine how your damage will be dealt to you. Hit points are determined from the amount of red slashes found on the cards. Every time one of your players takes a hit, you will rotate the card 90 degrees to reflect the damage that has been inflicted. If one of your cards hits zero, it is discarded, and your hand must be replenished. Like other deck-building games, there are specific actions and other card types that can repel your attacker or inflict the damage upon other opponents. This can be performed in a variety of ways, and does provide an array of options.

The chain phase is a slightly different approach. Once all of your attacks have been resolved, you may play orders from your hand for various effects. You can bring minions into play, inflict damage on opposing players or minions, or help your cause in a variety of other ways. This is defined as playing one or more order cards in sequence. At the beginning of your chain phase, you can play any one card from your hand for free, without restriction. This is called, “starting a chain.” You can add more cards to the chain, but each card you play must link to the latest card played in the chain. The commons consists of public archive cards that are considered neither friendly nor opposing to the players, but these are cards that you need to be focused on allocating into your hand for building a stronger defensive hand. The private archives are the minions you control, the order you play, and any game text on those cards are all considered friendly to you. The end of the game is triggered when the last wound card is attained by a player. Each player totals the number of wound cards he or she has in their deck, hand, and discard pile. Whoever has the least, is the winner!

Nightfall does not work as well as a two player game, and is strongly encouraged to scale for more of a 4 player game. The effects of distributing direct attacks is far more efficient this way, and it’s harder to do that with only two players. The artwork is fantastic and the setting is drawn out quite well in this game, perhaps a little too well. Back when we first played this game, the setting and storyline was drawn out much more graphic than we anticipated which shocked me a little. I wouldn’t recommend it for any kids under 12 as it is quite descriptive and dark. I do like the backstory though. The setup of the game is interesting how you use a drafting mechanic to decide which cards will be put into the commons. This provides the players with more control over how the game can be played out. The gameplay itself is good. As mentioned before, this game plays much better with 3 or 4 players. The order sequence of phases works well and is logical. The engagement and level of interest is a little above average for us. I would say this game isn't as great as some of the other deck builders we have, but it’s certainly a game that we will play again and again, it just may not be too often. Claire and I both love vampires and the folklore in this game is emphasized strongly between all of the characters. We don’t own any expansions for this game, but we know there’s a lot, so it may be interesting to play some of those and see how much it improves the overall game. If you like vampires and lycans, you should look into playing this one.

Overall Pumpkin Rating: 6.5/10

Game Mechanics:
1)  Deck Building
2)  Card Drafting
3)  Hand Management
4)  Take That
5)  Variable Player Powers

Have any thoughts or questions?  Leave a comment below.

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