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Subject: Darkest Night: Arkham Horror in a fantasy setting rss

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Michael F
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Note: I first reviewed this on Amazon, and have decided to move my review here since there aren't many out for this game currently.


I saw a review for this on Youtube and knew I had to buy it after it was compared to Arkham Horror in so many ways. You could argue that it feels sort of like Arkham Horror Lite, but more in a good way than a bad way.

Victory Point Games, according to their reputation, doesn't have the best components for their games, but I was pretty impressed with what I received here. My only disappointment was that this didn't come with a box, but I'll probably make one specifically for this since I enjoyed the game so much.

As I've mentioned already, the gameplay is very similar to Arkham Horror. You choose a character, move around the board, and try to thwart the ever-present evil. What makes this game perhaps a little more tense than AH is the fact that, no matter what character class you are, you really don't stand up too well against the enemy. Rather than be able to roll into a portal with shotgun in hand, a lot of times you're just trying to sneak into an area, dispatch something evil, and get out before you get caught by the evil Necromancer who roams around the board, serving as the main villain for the game.

There are a number of characters who fit traditional medieval classes such as a knight, a wizard, a rogue, and a druid. There are also a few more less common ones such as a seer, an acolyte, and a prince. Everyone has their strengths, but no character feels particularly adept at combat. The only exceptions are probably the prince and acolyte. While they are both very weak in terms of the game's version of hit points, the acolyte grows stronger as the level of evil increases, and the prince has some skills designed to make him better at fighting the Necromancer directly.

As the game progresses, the Necromancer moves around the board, creating these things called blights wherever he goes. These range from monsters to enchantments that can be very detrimental to your survival. Much like Arkham Horror, the game does have a "doom track," that, once filled up, means imminent doom for you and your allies if you don't find a way to win by that point.

Winning the game consists of finding holy relics. There are four of these scattered throughout the map that you must find. In order to recover a holy relic, you must search for keys on your turn. You don't always find keys though. Sometimes you might find another useful item, or gain a new skill as a reward. One of my biggest gripes about this game is that it does tend to be luck-based in a lot of ways, and sometimes you can feel like you've wasted your turn if you don't roll a high enough number on a given die to search or get rid of a blight. There are two ways of winning though: You must either find three of the four holy relics and return them to the monastery (the one area of the game that blights don't pop up in unless the game is close to being over with...more on that in a second), or use one of the holy relics to help you defeat the Necromancer. With very few exceptions, the Necromancer can only be killed by rolling a 7 on a six-sided die with no blights present. Luckily a holy relic allows you to add 1 to all your die rolls. Still, this can be very difficult, and does require some strategy and cooperation to back the Necromancer into a corner. But much like Arkham Horror, either everyone wins, or everyone loses.

As for losing, once the evil track fills up, blights start popping up in the monastery, which serves as the only real safe haven for your characters. Blights can also pop up there if there are ever more than 4 in another location. Should the monastery ever get more than 4 blights, the game ends in defeat. While this has never happened while I've played, I have also been playing with the easiest settings.

To sum up this game, it is very fun. It takes about half the time to set up as Arkham Horror does, and plays through in nearly the same way. There isn't as much "flavor text" on the cards, but you still feel like there is a story going on, and I love the overall atmosphere of the game. It also plays very well solo. There must always be four heroes, so depending on how many players are playing, they can be divided up or all used by one person. If you enjoy Arkham Horror, I would definitely recommend picking this up. The price tag is a little steep on Amazon, but you are supporting a smaller game company, so either way it's a good deal.

Pros:
+ Great atmospheric game.
+ Plays very well solo or cooperatively.
+ Satisfies your need to play Arkham Horror in less than half the time.
+ Components are of good to very good quality.
+ Simpler to teach others than Arkham Horror.

Cons:
- No game box.
- Very luck-based.
- Feels a lot easier than Arkham Horror...I have yet to lose a single game, or even come close.
- Not as much flavor text used to tell a story. Instead of setting up a scene for you, it tells you that you are assaulted by an enemy, or that you lose one life.
- I have gone through games where some characters don't get any skills past their starting ones, while others have gotten a slew of different skills. This definitely needs re-balancing if it is ever re-released.


My BGG Score: 7 out of 10
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Joshua Gottesman
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Michael,

Thanks for the review. I'm glad you're enjoying the game. Note that the game can be purchased in a box with a snazzy wrap-around sleeve. You can also purchase game boxes directly from VPG at http://victorypointgames.com/details.php?prodId=222&category...=.

Thanks for your support!

Joshua Gottesman
Business Manager
Victory Point Games
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Victory Point Games
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Michael,

First off, I'm glad you really like the game!

Second, Darkest Night is always sold in a box via Amazon. However, because it's so popular, we run out really quickly! We are aware of this, and try to keep Amazon stocked on a semi-monthly basis.

Thanks,

Noelle
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