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Subject: Magius Reviews: Nightfall rss

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Jared Voshall
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I've decided to post up a series of reviews from my collection, and next up on the list is the combative deck-building game: Nightfall

Nightfall is a fun and interesting game. Unlike a lot of the Deck Building Games that I've played, Nightfall keeps a lot of what makes the genre great while taking it in its own direction. For free-for-all combat goodness, there's nothing quite like it.

d10-1 Pacing
Nightfall is a longer game than Dominion, both in setup and play time, but it is a rather frantic play time and much more interactive experience than Dominion. Planning out your plays ahead of time is extremely important for keeping the play time down and keeping turns short, but being able to play and having to defend on other players turns keeps the downtime to a minimum. The fact that the starter deck cards remove themselves from the game also helps keep the decks streamlined and fast playing, which helps keep the gameplay fast and furious.

d10-2 Player Support
Per the rules, Nightfall handles 2-5 players, and I could see up to 8 players being supported with the addition of Martial Law - however, that would likely cause issues with players not having enough cards to actually play on other players' turns. It provides a good, if deadly and very cut-throat 2 player experience, and the 3-5 player experience is also quite fun, but in a more diplomatic, wheel and deal sort of way.

d10-3 Originality
It's a deck-building game, with all that that entails, and while it does do the job quite admirably, does nothing to revolutionize the genre. The Chain mechanism (where you can play any number of cards so long as you can match the colors up correctly - even on other players turns) adds another layer of strategy to the game - do you play your hand now for a nasty attack next turn, or do you hold on to the cards so you can have a decent defense? The kicker mechanic can also do nice things for you, but are difficult to pull off (especially if, as with the groups I play with, they don't really look ahead and are always surprised when the colors they need aren't in the commons to play with).
The game also introduces the idea of the starter decks removing themselves from the game as they're used, which helps immensely in streamlining the late game, and keeping the decks fast and fun.

d10-4 Fun Factor
So how fun is it? Well, that depends on what you're looking for. With a group that embraces the free-for-all nature of the game, it can be a real blast, as you try to keep track of who's playing what, how many wounds each other player has, and keeping up your defenses against other players' attacks (and overcoming other players defenses with your attacks ). With a group that ignores that part of it... It's still fun, but a lot is lost, and can become very frustrating, especially if using a random method to determine who's attacked, and the die hate one player more than the others (team-based or other 2 vs 2 variants should help with this - but a attack left/defend right system would exacerbate issues with varying deck strengths).

d10-5 Final Thoughts
Nightfall is a fun, free for all game that can be a brutal blood-fest and strategic game that plays fast and furious with the right group and few distractions. Not for everyone, but enough to be placed as one of my go-to games, along with Dominion and a few others. Definitely comes highly recommended.
Rating: d10-9 out of d10-1d10-0
Magius out.
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Nick PA
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Magius wrote:
d10-1 Pacing
Nightfall is a longer game than Dominion, both in setup and play time...
Great review!
Although i do not agree on the playtime being longer than Dominion! It is a little faster actually.
 
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Jared Voshall
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Thanks for the kind comment. As for the playtime... In my experience, it does take longer to play Nightfall than Dominion - not by much, and Dominion can take longer if there are a lot of draw+action engines going - but it's still noticeable. A typical game of Dominion for me (with 5 players, which seems to be the norm for me nowadays) will run ~30 minutes to an hour, including setup and tear down, while a game of Nightfall will run 45 minutes to 2 hours (if everyone's playing defensively, or there's a lot of minion hate flying around) - again, with 5 players. Not something I'd mark the game down on (and Nightfall overall definitely feels like it plays faster), just something to be aware of.
Magius out.
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