Review by Chad Adams
If there is one up and coming iOS developer to watch, it’s Playdek. This “hottness” company keeps cranking out great looking iOS card game apps that deliver quality in artistic design and playability. Their earlier successes include Ascension and Food fight. Recently, they have released Nightfall, a new deck building card game from AEG. If you like Dominion and more specifically, enjoy attacking your fellow players with vampires and assassins, then Nightfall might be the game for you.
Nightfall is a strange game that is hard to explain. Yes it is another deckbuilder, Yes you will be buying cards and adding them to your discard pile, but unlike most, it adds a very interesting new twist, “Chaining.”
My full time job is in Software Engineering. Basically, I do a lot of programming, websites, and databases. I even do iPhone apps. So when I read the manual to Nightfall, I was very astonished when I learned that “chaining” in Nightfall is basically a “stack”. For those of you not familiar with a “stack”, think of a plate of pancakes. Every time you make a new pancake, you add it to the plate. Each new pancake is added on top of the other in a “stack”. When you’re ready to eat them, you start with the top cake and work your way down. How does this translate to a game of Nightfall? Well, when you are ready to play your cards, you play them in this stack. Each card played must have its color match the chaining color of the previous card. This is called the “chain”. When you are finished, your opponents then have a chance to add to your chain in turn. This is where things get interesting, because when the stack is finished, the cards get executed from last to first (top of the stack to bottom). This means the actions added by your opponents can have a dramatic effect on the cards played earlier. Genius!
“Chaining” is an interesting mechanic, but it also makes the game very hard to learn and explain. The tutorial walk-through included with the app helps a little, but I still found myself looking up other resources online. I also suggest playing this game on the iPad if you can. Playing on the iPhone is hard because sometimes the chaining colors of the cards get covered. This is really annoying and makes it hard for new players to visualize the chaining.
I also have had a few instances where my cards have disappeared and I basically had to restart my game. Other than that, the UI is otherwise fantastic and provides a lot of information in a small space. Playdek is also pretty good about fixing any issues, so I’m expecting an update soon.
- nice UI
- AI and online play
- Tutorial (not great, but it helps)
- Hard game to learn
- sometimes cards disappear, very weird
- UI sometimes covers important game elements