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Darkest Night (Second edition)» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Darkest Night - as good as a game could be rss

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bubu bubu
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There was a little bit of hype when Darkest Night 2nd Edition was announced: new map, new cards, a major overhaul, but I didn't buy into that, I was just a new boardgame geek into the hobby, a little offput by the 139$ price tag from the late pledge, but hell, I figured I might just as well go for it. The game looked simple, nice and since well only good game get an overhaul or a second edition I said this might be worth it. Truth be told I was a little bit reckless, had I the mentality I had now, I would probably avoid it. Good thing I didn't.

Unboxing

This little baby arrived about a week ago and I can't seem to have enough of it. 10 plays in one week says pretty much all I think about it. And well, it's not as little as it looks.



This is a beast of a game. I thought I had some room left on the top of my shelf, but from the looks of it, it needs either the entire shelf or at least half of it.


Was it hyped? Hell yeah, but well worth it. From what I saw, a quick search on the 1st edition and a video from Rahdo's channel, the major overhaul was completely worth it. I'm gonna say that since most of the cards were remade, some were made tarot side and others kept in normal format, not a big deal as the tarot cards not only look lovely, but also give a new feel to the game, and considering that all cards have a linen finish it's all better than before. The cards stocks are quite thick and sturdy, top quality now. See for yourself



This is just how every good game should be, but the first thing i was impressed, after the size of the box, was the map. It looked gorgeous, double sided, one A3 and one A4 size just in case your table is smaller, and honestly this works well.



I didn't expect the small map to be this useful, especially when you have a smaller table. Kudos to VP games for this idea. Add the fact that it has a linen finish and the map it top quality with vibrant colors, matching the theme. Just great.



After all ruffling though the box I see the stand and standees. I thought the standees looked cool and when I put them on I couldn't be happier. The character with the name below it gives a good impression. The token also looked nice and with a thick stock this just gives the premium look to the game. A little minus here is that there is one less stand so one characters will always be lonely. Guess that's why the no one likes the necromancer, cause he comes in a mini.



So all in all I was impressed with the build quality, top notch, but then I looked at all entire box and it hit me. This game has a lot content, and not just content, but variation as well. I didn't go into too many details, but after the first game setup i saw how much variation there can be in this little project. There are map cards, which detail the blight and search results, the event deck (which most of the time is just there to annoy the hell out of you) the artifact deck, the quest deck, the mystery deck, your own character deck which is just 13 cards, but if you take into account that there are 24 characters to choose from, this game is definitely how every game should be like.

Gameplay

After sleeving the normal size cards, cause I didn't have that fit the tarot cards I went and played a game with my buddies. It was game night and we were all in to have some fun, told them we could try something new, so they had a good idea what there were in, but boy were they surprised when they saw the box.

I told them it was a small game, but the box said otherwise, we were in for a crazy night. Left this after the main course and tried the first round. They were amazed at the amount of character they had to choose from so they went with the classic fighter mage cleric and rogue (aka knight, wizard, priest and well rogue). They were pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of the rules, 1 action per turn, no turn order, then the necromancer. They though it was gonna be a short and easy game. Boy were they wrong. Between fighting off blights searching for clues and getting back secrecy we were having a hard time dealing with the necromancer and his cronies (aka events and blights). Add in the quests we got going from here to there and the loss of secrecy we managed to lose in about 30 minutes. Though we all had many power cards, we didn't keep the blight at bay and the 4th blight spawned at the monastery.

We tried it again, but this time more focused on searching. Too bad we searched the castle most of the time until we realized we had to search everything else. Game still ended in a loss but at least this time we got one holy relic before the monastery was done by the blight. It was at this point that the guys realized this was not just a simple game. It was just so much more than that. It was settled that we would play it again 2 days.

2 days later after setting the game in our favor with the proper party, a slightly tuned map deck for beginners from which a few cards were removed, we finally managed to get he last holy relic before the final blight set in, after 2 warm-up games. There was nothing more satisfying than that, getting things done after a few failed attempt, and then correcting then bit by bit.

Conclusion

From my point of view this is a terrific game, well made and polished to the 2nd edition. The only minus would be that even though everything is top notch, even the plastic insert, it does not account for sleeves. I used Percival sleeves and the game looked like this after sleeving:



There was no way I was getting all those cards back the way they were and they could only sit sideways, but overall it was a great game.
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Jeffery Hudson
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I backed early because i had already been looking at getting this game years before, so a 2nd edition with all the expansions in one box was a MUST BACK. I'm glad i did.

That's what i love about the 2nd...it's all the expansions in one box. TONS of options and replay ability right out of the box. Even though i didn't enjoy it as much as I do games like Eldritch Horror or A Touch of Evil, i will definitely be playing again. While the game fits the general mold of Gothic/Horror adventure games, it really has it's own feel to it. I loved everything except the one action per turn rule, which in general i despise. I never feel like i'm actually doing anything.

With that said, i'll be playing quite a bit of this no matter what. It's a fantastic game with fantastic setup. Looking forward to trying the different map deck options for different game feel.

Great write up, by the way. 10 games in a week...that's a pretty solid like.
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bubu bubu
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Barronmore wrote:
I backed early because i had already been looking at getting this game years before, so a 2nd edition with all the expansions in one box was a MUST BACK. I'm glad i did.

That's what i love about the 2nd...it's all the expansions in one box. TONS of options and replay ability right out of the box. Even though i didn't enjoy it as much as I do games like Eldritch Horror or A Touch of Evil, i will definitely be playing again. While the game fits the general mold of Gothic/Horror adventure games, it really has it's own feel to it. I loved everything except the one action per turn rule, which in general i despise. I never feel like i'm actually doing anything.

With that said, i'll be playing quite a bit of this no matter what. It's a fantastic game with fantastic setup. Looking forward to trying the different map deck options for different game feel.

Great write up, by the way. 10 games in a week...that's a pretty solid like.


Well truth be told the game, basic would seem quite dull, but with all the expansions the first edition got, and then getting all those included in the second edition it's really a lot of content, and a lot of variety in playing. It almost feels like a brand new game.

The thing I like most if the freedom of turn choice for the players. I could go first, but then again, if someone clears a blight i might go later and avoid losing a grace. Being this flexible encourages cooperation and planning between players and this is something I found quite lacking in other games. The one action per movement is quite good, makes planning even more important, but also simplifies the choice, makes it more fluent. I probably should have said that.

Also those 10 games, they were really hard, but you can't say they were true games unless you pass turn 20. Can't say much for the games we simply got wiped by the necromancer and lasted less.
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C Sandifer
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I played the 1st edition base game years ago, and it seemed that Darkest Night might be an interesting solo experience, but didn't work particularly well as a multiplayer game - for the reasons described above. If you're controlling all characters, it doesn't matter that each character only gets one action apiece. But if you're only controlling a single character with a single action, it's less interesting and engaging. Does the 2nd edition (with its included expansions) change this?

As a side note, some co-op games require almost perfect coordination to win, so solo play is ideal because you have full power over the behavior and interactions of all characters. The Warhammer Quest Adventure Card Game seems to falls into this category, for example. And maybe this game?

Also, are there still event cards that say, "Roll one die and take the highest"? Because those cards made me want to start a grammar fire.

Anyway, I'm glad that you like the game. Thanks for the write-up.
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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wkover wrote:
Also, are there still event cards that say, "Roll one die and take the highest"? Because those cards made me want to start a grammar fire.

Yes. What is your grammatical objection to that phrase?
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Tony C
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I noticed that too about the phrasing on some of those cards.
If there's only one die, by definition it is the highest and the lowest.
If there's only one die, there's no choice to be made - you get the result of that. Unless I'm missing something.
I do like the 'Roll 3 dice, choose 2 of them to resolve based on the table below.'

Played one solo game the other day. I had read the rules but worked through them while playing as well. Each character having only one action definitely makes you think about what action to use. I could see that as feeling a little limiting, but since you have to deal with a blight if you end your turn with one, it's not just "OK, I moved, done", so that helps.
I really liked the different implementations of characters. I played the Alchemist, Seer, Knight, and Crusader. I thought my Crusader would be the hero but it ended up being the Alchemist. His tinctures were very cool, as were the Knight's Oaths. I love variable player powers, and in this game you really are able to (and want to) utilize them. I know I didn't optimize usage of the Seer but it was my first game.

Thank you for both the compendium in the box, and the designer's guide. I've really enjoyed the parts I've read of both of them.
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C Sandifer
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Antistone wrote:
wkover wrote:
Also, are there still event cards that say, "Roll one die and take the highest"? Because those cards made me want to start a grammar fire.

Yes. What is your grammatical objection to that phrase?


They're confusing and totally insane. Other than that they're OK.
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Jeremy Lennert
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wkover wrote:
Antistone wrote:
wkover wrote:
Also, are there still event cards that say, "Roll one die and take the highest"? Because those cards made me want to start a grammar fire.

Yes. What is your grammatical objection to that phrase?

They're confusing and totally insane. Other than that they're OK.

That sounds like more of a style critique than a grammar critique.

Clarity and precision are both important, but when there's a trade-off, I tend to come down a bit more on the precision side than most designers. That is, I'd prefer to write a rule that's a bit confusing but unambiguously tells you how to handle the special cases instead of a rule that seems simple on first reading but forces you to guess what to do next when something weird comes up.

Darkest Night gives you abilities to modify die rolls by adding more dice. Therefore, I feel I have to address the case where you end up rolling more dice than originally instructed. Of the various ways of specifying that, I feel "roll one die and take the highest" scores pretty high on brevity, clarity, and precision. Its incongruity can also serve as a reminder that you can spend a spark; several playtesters seemed to get an "aha!" moment.

I'm sorry that I have confused you, though.
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Rob Olsson
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If there are potentially more than one die to roll, there is probably a different way to write the instruction. It is kind of like saying “ place the banana on the table and select the longest one to peel.” A singular subject implies there should not be more than one option.

If instead the instruction was”Roll one die, include any additional dice you can apply based on modifiers, and then select the highest,” it is less insane.
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Oda
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Great review OP!
 
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Jacob Schoberg
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raolsson wrote:
If instead the instruction was”Roll one die, include any additional dice you can apply based on modifiers, and then select the highest,” it is less insane.


I think this loses the 'brevity, clarity, and precision' that Jeremy was going for.

The wording seems strange at first, but as he mentioned, once it clicked (which didn't take long), it was a great way to word it.
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Oda
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The wording may seem strange until you actually play the game, then its intention is obvious. Definitely understand the initial confusion but it's a non-issue.
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Jay Rey
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1st ed owner here. Do you still win every time if you focus on searching in the mountains?

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raolsson wrote:
If instead the instruction was”Roll one die, include any additional dice you can apply based on modifiers, and then select the highest,” it is less insane.

I guess this is what Jeremy wanted to avoid: a paragraph of rules per card...
13 cards * 29 heroes = 377 paragraphs of rules...
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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kompan wrote:
1st ed owner here. Do you still win every time if you focus on searching in the mountains?

I am aware that several players felt this was a problem in the first edition base game. I think most of them felt the "pall of suffering" optional rule in the first expansion dealt with it adequately.

I'd argue that every expansion since has made a "everyone stays in one spot" strategy less likely to succeed, as they've all added new things that could disrupt it; but especially the mystery cards from the fourth expansion, which mean you'll usually need to complete tasks in multiple locations in order to get a holy relic.

(All of the above is included in second edition.)

It's still possible you could spend the whole game in the mountains and win, but I'd say it's dramatically less likely now.

(Though if you were already playing first edition with all expansions and still felt this was a problem, the second edition will probably not convert you. First-edition-with-all-expansions is closer to the second edition than it is to the first edition base game.)
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Mortimer Brewster

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I thought the wording was awkward or worse, another miss, then realized that there were powers certain characters had that would add one die to all rolls made this turn that would make these nonsense statements make sense. As written, if you only roll one die you think "yeah and I have a choice?" But then you come along with a +1 die to all rolls and without the statement you're forced to fill in the blank and just house rule it. As was said else where, that's kind of unsatisfactory. I think this neatly addressed the problem without a lot of verbiage.
 
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" It was at this point that the guys realized this was not just a simple game. It was just so much more than that."


Epic text!

The only reason for me to get rid of DN2 would be the mass amount of space it wants to occupy. There's just no place in our house to put the box.
 
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Jay Rey
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Antistone wrote:
kompan wrote:
1st ed owner here. Do you still win every time if you focus on searching in the mountains?

I am aware that several players felt this was a problem in the first edition base game. I think most of them felt the "pall of suffering" optional rule in the first expansion dealt with it adequately.

I'd argue that every expansion since has made a "everyone stays in one spot" strategy less likely to succeed, as they've all added new things that could disrupt it; but especially the mystery cards from the fourth expansion, which mean you'll usually need to complete tasks in multiple locations in order to get a holy relic.

(All of the above is included in second edition.)

It's still possible you could spend the whole game in the mountains and win, but I'd say it's dramatically less likely now.

(Though if you were already playing first edition with all expansions and still felt this was a problem, the second edition will probably not convert you. First-edition-with-all-expansions is closer to the second edition than it is to the first edition base game.)


Thanks for this explanation Jeremy. I have 1ed & 4 expansions and for me going first to search the mountains is always making the game easier. Drawing a few mystery cards so early in a game is a huge advantage imo .

 
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bubu bubu
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raolsson wrote:
If there are potentially more than one die to roll, there is probably a different way to write the instruction. It is kind of like saying “ place the banana on the table and select the longest one to peel.” A singular subject implies there should not be more than one option.

If instead the instruction was”Roll one die, include any additional dice you can apply based on modifiers, and then select the highest,” it is less insane.


Hey, just to clarify, the reason for that text might be because of the sparks. Using a spark lets you roll an additional die besides the norm, so the text may have neen written with that in mind

kompan wrote:

1st ed owner here. Do you still win every time if you focus on searching in the mountains?



Searching in the mountains is ok, but there are still somr random map cards which can mess you up, but the mountains seem a little bit better for finding clues, can't say how much but it according to the map deck it is slightly favored.

kosterix wrote:
" It was at this point that the guys realized this was not just a simple game. It was just so much more than that."


Epic text!

The only reason for me to get rid of DN2 would be the mass amount of space it wants to occupy. There's just no place in our house to put the box.


This was my best way to put it into words. I was impressed with the game and it did leave a good impression on my friends seeing how somethi g which looked so simple turned out to be more complex and intersting.


And Yes I do agree that the box is big and could have been made smaller, but even with the plastic insert gone my box seems a little bit crowdedand not very orderly.
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