Recommend
23 
 Thumb up
 Hide
4 Posts

Nacht der Magier» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Review: First Plays rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Brian Rowe
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nacht der Magier (Das Dunkelspiel)

Pros: fun, family-friendly game play; full color rulebook in five languages (Deutsch, English, Français, Nederlands, Italiano); high quality throughout; glow-in-the-dark pieces!

Cons: not widely available (at least in the US), not something to come of the shelf routinely

I was drawn to this offering from Drei Magier Spiele after seeing it featured here at the 'Geek. Something almost familiar with the game struck a chord with me, and I simply had to try it for myself. After receiving it from adamspielt, I was anything but disappointed. This title will serve as a lighthearted addition to many collections, and while certainly not a heavy game, it will delight young and old--especially once the lights are off! Below, I've included my ranked commentary on various elements of Nacht der Magier for you.

Presentation--

Everything about Nacht der Magier is of real quality, from the lovingly rendered and clearly written rulebook to the weighty wood-and-acrylic game pieces. Packaging, game board, rules illustrations--all have a wonderful consistency of mood that recalls a delicately authored children's book. Typically, an overly "cartoonish" approach puts me off, but here it is well executed and actually an attractive feature for me. I don't think adults should allow themselves to see this as a game only meant for children without first giving it a try.

The game board is a round plateau made of heavy, thick cardboard mounted atop a box. Some dark colored, subtle drawings mark the surface and aid in setup; twelve red wooden cauldrons will stand together in a ring on their appropriate markings here. Centered within is a shallow, circular depression not unlike that in the middle of a Crokinole board. This will ultimately serve as the target. Flipped over, this board + box fits within the game's package and nicely holds the other pieces.

A little assembly is required before the first game. One needs to fit the twelve luminescent symbols, each made of thick acrylic, to the corresponding cauldrons. There are three each of stars, lightning bolts, crescent moons and suns. The game's makers have provided an ample supply of double-sided adhesive pads to secure the symbols to the pieces. Similarly, a cross-cut disk of wood holds a glowing bonfire piece and should be affixed to its matching roundel of heavy cardboard. This assembly becomes the magic flame that covers the target (which will house a glowing ring) and provides the key source of illumination once the lights go dark.

The remaining pieces are of enameled wood, with standing conical trees, round disks of two sizes and colors, and the four tall "magicians" complete with large acrylic wizard's hats. Each hat is also luminescent and features that player's symbol along the brim.

Setup & Game play
--

Here's the setting: you and your fellow magicians approach the rim of a darkening woodland copse. A bright, eerie fire glows inside the stand of tall evergreen trees, throwing just enough blue-green light to reveal the ring of twelve cauldrons around it. Your task is this: carefully navigate into the wood, avoiding the obstacles, trees and other magicians, and push one of your cauldrons into the Ring of Light. This ring will slowly emerge from beneath the fire as the magicians each struggle to maneuver their cauldrons into place.

The setup itself is straightforward. Expose the glowing pieces to a light source for a brief period, then set the ring piece into the target area on the game board. Cover this with the bonfire and arrange the cauldrons on their spaces. Stand a tree behind the cauldrons in each gap, then follow with the disks until the board is nearly covered (there are illustrations to make this easy.) Now, turn out the lights!

In turn, each player will take their magician and attempt to place it near any outer edge of the board, sliding it toward the center. A player may stop moving their piece in this manner at any time, but they absolutely must halt their movement whenever the tell-tale "clunk" of a piece fallen from the playing surface is heard. Sometimes this means your wizard doesn't even have room to stand on the board, at which point you keep it for your next turn. Otherwise your piece remains where it is until after the other players move. On subsequent turns, you may choose to carefully remove your magician and start again from anywhere along the board's edge, or keep it where it is and begin your push from that spot. Either way, in a nicely darkened room this is harder than it sounds. The arresting "clunk" often comes sooner than you hoped.

As the fire is shoved away from the center, the ring lights the way to the goal. Get your cauldron to settle inside the ring, and your magician wins! We tried this as a two-player game, and I have no doubt it works well for two, three or four players. We played per the rules a few times through (this can be five minutes or greater, depending upon the concentration level or general recklessness) then created a few variations of our own. Together we each played two magicians instead of one, alternating turns. We also went for sinking all three of our cauldrons, where knocking a "friendly" symbol from the board meant disqualification. The game lends itself to this kind of play, and we enjoyed trying different tactics.

Overall Impression--

I admit this is a very lighthearted title with little to recommend it to hard-core players, except that the mood generated from its fresh approach to the dexterity-game genre is worth experiencing in its own right. I won't give up Crokinole to play this solely, of course, but I'm very glad to have found this little gem and picked up a copy. After these inaugural plays, I felt that Nacht der Magier will make a fabulous game for a family on a stormy evening when the power goes out and the atmosphere is ripe for a visit to this frostily lit setting. I'll certainly share this title with both casual and more hobbyist players, and I imagine they'll be happy I did.

Cheers,

Brian
6 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Rowe
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks, Brent, glad I could help. Also, it seemed from all the Gathering of Friends reports I read here that this game went over well with that crowd, too.

Cheers,

Brian
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Die Nacht der Magier can be played not only in the dark, but also in the light. It's obviously a lot of fun in the dark, but it's an excellent game in the light as well, with more strategy and less excitement. It's a new kind of dexterity game---one that doesn't depend on reflexes, but on careful and deliberate motion. The "in the light" game has quite a bit of skill. It potentially might suffer from the "person after the weakest player wins" syndrome, though none of us was skilled enough to make that an issue in the games I played, but it would even be a good 2-player game, and that issue would not arise in a 2-player game.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Franco
Canada
Ottawa
ON
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
browe wrote:
make a fabulous game for a family on a stormy evening when the power goes out


I'm a little late to the party here, but I'm not so sure it will work with the power out ....

Great review, by the way.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.