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Subject: Short review of Nightfall after one, slightly inebriated play rss

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Jason Novak
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I went over to a friend's house for a birthday party last night, and after some drinking and some Rock Band, we busted out my friend Eric's demo copy of Nightfall. I was interested in checking this out because I'm entered in The 100 Days contest, and I'll admit, in the '90s, I was into Vampire: The Masquerade.

Take everything here with a grain of salt...I was about 5 beers in, so I was feeling pretty good.

OK, let's break this down to the good and the bad.

THE GOOD:

First of all, mechanically, the game is pretty sound. You get influence points, which you use to buy cards to build your deck. Cards you play give you more influence, and you can discard to give yourself more influence. You have options, and if you are willing to take risks, you can get more influence.

The text on the cards is pretty clear. I think there was only one card, which said you could get a card from an opponent's archive (cards that only that player can buy). I thought the wording meant that you were allowed to buy it this round, but the guy who had played before thought it meant you just get the card at no cost. Maybe that could have been more clear. Besides this one card, though, it was easy to understand.

The combat system was pretty intuitive, and resembled Magic: The Gathering. The cards, however, retained injuries from the time they were played until they are finally discarded , which is kept track of by "tapping" the card, then again, then again, until the card is out of HP. It's an interesting way to keep track of this.

I also like that player HP is kept track of with Wound Cards, which are added up at the end of the game but also "clog" the deck as you play. These do have the advantage of being discarded for 2 cards at the end of a turn.

Finally, the system of playing cards in chains, where a player plays his cards, and then the next player plays any cards that can be played off of the previous player's last card, was a good system. I means that one is always playing cards, even on other players' turns.

THE BAD:

While the text was clear, the color coded moon symbols that tell which card can be played next kept confusing us. We kept having to ask, "Now, do I play a card that can link to green, or can I only play blue or red cards off that green one." I admit, this may have been because I and another of the players were a few beers in, but it was confusing.

Also, when cards are being played but are not quite in play, you have them turned at a 45 degree angle. There were a couple of times during long chains that we got things mixed up and had to backtrack.

I'm not sure how I feel about having to attack with everyone who can attack on my turn, then discarding all attackers. Besides my dislike of this, we had an instance where I forgot to attack. We had to backtrack. Not too bad, but it was a little counter-intuitive.

Finally, this was a game where I felt the theme was incidental. I really didn't care about the pictures on the cards, and there wasn't much that made this really a Vampires and Werewolves thing. Like, when I used to play Magic, the theme of sorcerers dueling really came though. In Nightfall, I really didn't care about any of that. This didn't detract from the fun, but I feel that it could have been even better if the theme had shown through.

OVERALL:
Overall, I would definitely play this again. I'm not entirely sure I would buy it after one play, but I do hope to win this in the 100 Days contest. Right now, I'd give it a 7 out of 10, but I reserve my final rating until I've played this at least three times.

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Strangely I never, ever felt like the so-called theme of dueling sorcerers in M:TG really came through during gameplay. Maybe earlier on in the game, it did to some extent but after a while that whole theme/point seems lost.

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Thanks for the review.

I got a similar impression as yours from some of the spoiler info. Many of the combat effects seem there simply as a mechanic, and aren't tied very thematically to the cards. As opposed to Thunderstone, where every little dungeon effect and stat really reflects what it's supposed to be representing.

That wounds are all identical (even the same bullet and blood art no matter the type of wound) at this point further abstracts the idea of "gothy" combat. I really like a lot of what's going into Nightfall, but it already seems like it needs an expansion to flesh it out, before even playing it.
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Joe Mucchiello
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jaynova wrote:
Also, when cards are being played but are not quite in play, you have them turned at a 45 degree angle. There were a couple of times during long chains that we got things mixed up and had to backtrack.

You don't HAVE TO. It is merely a suggestion in the rulebook. If you find it confusing, find another way to differentiate cards in chain from cards in play. If you have the space, the easiest way is to have a separate play area for cards in chain.
 
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Steven Metzger
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otherdane wrote:
Thanks for the review.

I got a similar impression as yours from some of the spoiler info. Many of the combat effects seem there simply as a mechanic, and aren't tied very thematically to the cards. As opposed to Thunderstone, where every little dungeon effect and stat really reflects what it's supposed to be representing.

That wounds are all identical (even the same bullet and blood art no matter the type of wound) at this point further abstracts the idea of "gothy" combat. I really like a lot of what's going into Nightfall, but it already seems like it needs an expansion to flesh it out, before even playing it.
Nightfall wasn't themed this way from the start. David started with a mechanic and got some help from some of us to finish up the meat of the game. The artists and developers put on the dry rub, stuck it in the barbecue for a bit, then sliced it up and put it on a sandwich for us.

Speaking of which...don't southern vampires have BBQ human blood?
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Todd Rowland
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otherdane wrote:
"gothy" combat.


...

I picture two high school kids in black trenchcoats moping at each other with increasing intensity. Then one suddenly explodes.
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Lee Fisher
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AEGTodd wrote:
otherdane wrote:
"gothy" combat.


...

I picture two high school kids in black trenchcoats moping at each other with increasing intensity. Then one suddenly explodes.


I hope that's an expansion.
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