Customer Reviews: Nightfall
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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on January 8, 2012
I've played a fair number of deckbuilding games, and Nightfall is one of my favorites. A little harder to learn than Dominion (or Uno), but easier than Magic the Gathering, this game combines elements of all those games, adds in some neat mechanics of its own, and covers it with some Twilight flavoring (vampires, werewolves, undead).

Some of the things that set Nightfall apart:
- Catch up mechanism. - The person with the most wounds in their deck at the end loses, but during the game having a lot of wounds can be really helpful, so if you are getting beat up early on, it helps you get back in the game.
- Personal "village" - Like Dominion or Thunderstone, there is an 8 pile village that everyone can buy from, but each person also has a 2 pile personal village that only they can buy from. This ensures that everyone can't just go after the same strategy.
- Drafting - Rather than randomly selecting the village, in Nightfall you do a simultaneous draft (a la 7 Wonders). You draft about half the common village as well as your own personal village.
- Chaining - This is how the game is like Uno. Each card has a big moon and 2 smaller moons, usually all of a different color. On your turn (or other peoples turns) you build a chain (like the chain in MTG), but rather than paying a cost to put a card onto the chain, you just have to match its big moon color with 1 of the 2 small moon colors on the previous card. So if I play a card that has a Red big moon and yellow and blue small moons, the next card on the chain has to have a yellow or blue big moon. Once you are done with your chain, the next person can add to it, even if its not their turn. This means you are always doing something and should always be paying attention, even when its not your turn. So Nightfall doesn't suffer from the "multiplayer solitaire" that Dominion can. And its a lot more intuitive than my explanation makes it seem.
- Self-trashing starting deck - Unlike most deck builders where you are working to get rid of your starting hand, in Nightfall it trashes itself. Whenever you play a card from the 12 card starter decks, it is trashed whenever it leaves play.
- Attack based - You don't win by collecting victory points, you win by willing your opponents' decks with wounds, so there is a lot of player interaction through attacks.

If I could, I would give this game 4.5 stars. You can attack anyone in the game on your turn, so if one person is doing well, everyone will pile on him to give him wounds. The base rules that come with the game are set up so that the game is a LOT of politics and potential kingmaker. Some people really enjoy this. I don't. I would dock the game a full star for this, BUT there are a lot of alternate rulesets posted online by the designer, so people can play with whatever win condition they enjoy most. For example, in one ruleset, you start with a pile of 15 wounds to give out, and your final score is the sum of the wounds in your deck and the ones you haven't given out. This rewards people for actually doing well, and dealing a lot of damage. In another rule set, everyone has a life total, and you lose a life whenever you take a wound, so the game plays much more like MTG. Alternate rules can be found at
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on December 3, 2012
I guess I'd classify myself as a medium-core gamer. I'm more of a gamer than, say, a casual friday night drinking buddy gamer but not as intense as an ultra hard-core competitive gamer. I play magic the gathering, android:netrunner, and also board games like arkham horror, twilight struggle, etc... Anyway, this is to say that I've played me a game or two and am not just saying it's great after trying it only once. I've played Nightfall with two to four players and I really enjoyed it. It's so fresh and different from other card games of the genre. I love the concept of chaining and building your deck from a pool of available cards.

I just wanted to add to what others have been saying about how good this game is. It's quick, enjoyable, and challenging. The tactics change when you're playing with two or four people, and I found that with four, players tend to start forming alliances and treaties between each other which adds a nice trust vs. backstabbing element to the game.

One reviewer complained that the game is very hard to understand and that the rulebook is unclear. I read this reviewer before I decided to purchase the game and honestly I almost didn't buy it because I thought it would be too impossible to understand. I ended up buying it anyway though and I don't know what that reviewer was talking about. I didn't find it difficult at all! The instruction manual was very clear and concise. After about 30 minutes or so I was able to figure out the rules. Really, don't let the alleged "difficulty" of the rules prevent you from buying this game. Just about the only thing that puzzled me was the fact that when you "claim" cards they go into your discard pile instead of your hand. It just seemed so contrary to commonsense--I "buy" a card only to place it in my graveyard?? The rules didn't clarify and searching online wasn't much help either. Then it came to me. You start with a small draw deck of weak cards and you can "claim" more cards to add to your discard pile. Then, when you run out of cards from your draw pile you may shuffle your discard pile together and draw from it. In this way, your draw deck slowly grows over the course of the game.

So that's the only thing I found confusing. All in all I'd say this is a pretty easy game to learn. It's not pick-up sticks simple but it isn't impossibly confuddling either! Read the instructions carefully and you should be golden.

One last thing, I wish they could have made this game more "horror" themed. It's supposed to be vampires, werewolves, etc.. but it didn't feel all that scary to me, mainly because the art isn't very scary. It's not bad by any means but it just isn't scary. Anyway, it wasn't a deal breaker for me but I just thought I'd mention it.
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on June 9, 2014
I like the concept and the theme but it's not very intuitive. There are serious ambiguities in the card texts that require reference to forums in which the game designer himself has frequently had to clear up misconceptions regarding how various situations resolve. The pacing of the game also feels off, especially with only two players. I'd recommend it to fans of the deck-building genre, but otherwise would encourage folks to pass.

+ Inexpensive
+ Interactive
+ Good theme

- Unclear card texts and game rules essentially require you to play with open nearby
- Games (esp. with 2-3 players) tend to be over before interesting chains play out
- Base game feels incomplete, like they took out components of the creator's original design and arbitrarily made them into expansions/promos.
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on December 22, 2012
I like this game quite a bit. It's far more fun with 3 to four people than with 2. If you like ware-wolves, zombies and vampires then this game is right up your alley. Some of the rules can be a bit confusing at first but I've found clarification at and since then have had a really good time with this deck building game. I don't think it will ever take the place of Ascension at my game table though.
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on December 2, 2013
Lots of fun. Wife and I have been really digging deck-building games as of late and are happy to add Nightfall to the mix.

Pretty straightforward gameplay, though set up can take a minute.

Lots of replay value right out of the box and also some expansions to keep you rolling, though we haven't jumped on them yet. Just haven't played it enough yet.
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on April 17, 2014
Dominion is the granddaddy and offers tons of replayability, but I really think Nightfall gives it a run for its money. There is so much good here:

1) You draft. This is a great addition and adds a layer of intrigue to the game. When you draft the resource cards, you are choosing two piles that ONLY YOU can draft from, and you are also choosing one card pile to be removed from the game.

2) There is no downtime. Waiting for other players to complete their turns, especially in other deckbuilders, can be extremely annoying. In Nightfall the chain mechanic gives you something to do every single turn. Deciding when to play your chains is really important too! Playing cards at an inopportune time can really hurt. The last-in-first-out stack nature of the chain is really important, and will familiar to magic players.

3) You have constant interaction with other players. Kind of related to point number 2, but one of my biggest problems with deckbuilders in general is they feel like a group solitaire session. Yeah dominion has attack cards, and Ascension allows you to banish cards which can hamper plans, but overall you are kind of in a bubble. Not so here. You are constantly attacking other players with your minions, giving them wound cards. These wound cards determine who wins the game at the end (but unlike curse cards, a couple wounds can actually speed your deck up!).

4) Chaining is fun. It really is. Buying cards to facilitate creation of huge chains, chaining on someone else at just the right time to foil someone else’s plans…it’s a blast and it keeps you highly engaged.

A possibly significant con:
This game does play with serious political consequences. Since you are able to attack anyone, if you stir up some bad blood early on you can be ganged up on, and in a multiplayer game you won’t have much chance of winning. Since wounds are mixed into your deck there isn’t much of a visual indicator to tell who is winning, but there can be a pretty obvious feel for it. If you take your games too seriously / are a poor loser/ that sort of thing, it might cause some rage. Fair warning.

Definitely buy this game if you are into this style of game, and even if you aren’t a big fan of Dominion/other deckbuilders, there’s enough different here to give it a shot. I’ll say this, my group has dozens and dozens of hours on record with dominion and ascension, but when I bought this game, it was played by a rotating group of people for 12 hours straight, and people wanted to keep playing at the end of the session. I haven’t tried any of the expansions yet but i’ve heard great things. Definitely check this out.
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on November 17, 2014
I'm a big fan of card games with a lot of player interaction. I played Magic: The Gathering competitively for many years until the monetary and time commitment just became too overwhelming. So whenever I find a cheap replica in the world of board gaming I'm usually on board.

The majority of Nightfall is just another battle card game. You play creatures and spells and try to do more damage to your opponent than he does to you with his creatures and spells. The unique thing about this game is the casting mechanic. Each card has a color as well as one or two linking colors. You can play as many cards from your hand in a turn as you can link together...and then your opponents get to add to the end of your link and the creatures/spells resolve in FILO order. This unique play order encourages a new way of thinking as your opponents plays actually get the jump on yours during your own turn. There's a lot of other strategic nuance as well like kicker effects, private and public card pools, wound effects, etc. so I consider this a well-designed card game with a fresh feel.

Suffers from the same need for expansions as most other deckbuilding games I've played and the theme isn't really for me.
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A horror themed deck building game where players attack each other trying to force wound cards on their opponents. The player with the least amount of wounds at the end of the game wins. The game adds some interesting ideas to deckbuilding games because diplomacy and keeping your threat level low can lead to a victory. The game plays fast (under 30 minutes). But with new players, or slow thinkers, it can bog down into a long session. It's simple though, if you like werewolves and deckbuilding, then this is for you. If you don't, you won't.
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on November 23, 2013
Take the Idea and Concept that was created by Dominion (Deck Building), add in your face combat, and mix it all up with a World of Darkness like story, and you have Nightfall. Hands down one of the best deck builders out there. The game is not over complicated (Like say Thunderstone), and is not too Vanilla (like say Dominion). The pacing is great the game plays fast (after the first few games my Board Game crew and I can get a game done in about 30-45 minutes), and there are so many combinations out there as far as cards go that there is countless replay ability. The only minor draw back is the chaining mechanic, and it is not really a draw back learning how it works along with the kickers is not hard, but if you are not at least vaguely familiar with deck builders you may not pick it up right away, but after a few plays it will catch on. One of the best deck builders out there, and one of my favorite games
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on January 20, 2015
The theme is a little off-putting to more sensitive people, but the game play is really fun. I love the chaining, and strategies that emerge from that.
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