— Nightfall, the horror-themed game of deck building, is growing up and Martial Law is merely the first step in making this game a real monster.
The thing that sets Nightfall apart from its other deck building brethren is the confrontational interaction present in the game play. The way to win is to send minions to wound your foe(s) and to avoid those wounds. Martial Law, the first expansion, gives the gamer more creative ways to do both.
“Theme-wise it was all about exploring the urban settings of Nightfall, and how the authorities and citizens are reacting to the world,” said Todd Rowland, senior brand manager at Alderac Entertainment. “Well, urban USA to be specific. You'll see other areas in the future. Blood Country, the next set, takes the camera out into the rural areas where the people rely more on themselves than any sort of cohesive military or police protection. As for card goals, the main focus was to introduce Feed (which will stay around in future sets) and to create more chaining combinations.”
The feed mechanic gives gamers a way to use cards in hand for more than just adding influence for card purchases.
One of the things about Martial Law that has been the source of much discussion has been making it a stand alone as well, meaning it can be played right out of the box without having the original Nightfall.
Rowland explains, “The idea for set two was timing. We were expecting, hoping, that the first set would be totally sold out by the time set two came out, with a reprint in the works. Were that the case they'd have a readily playable version of Martial Law. We nearly hit that goal. Now Blood Country will be stand alone also, because we've gotten a lot of positive feedback on releasing the expansions in that format.”
The down side of that plan in some gamer’s eyes is that they will once again be paying for the starting deck cards and the wound cards.
Of course Martial Law can be used to mix into the original game to offer a more varied game experience by having more card combinations. “The biggest change is the increased number of viable chain combinations,” said Rowland. “While the ability to get kickers stays roughly the same, the number of cards one can weave into a coherent deck definitely goes up, increasing tactical choices.”
Nightfall is a vastly different game depending on the number of players. It is playable from two to five players. But with three or more players decisions need to be made about whom to attack with the minions each turn. It is possible for two or more players to gang up on a single player who might be perceived as the biggest threat. Revenge and payback are also multiple player possibilities.
“In two-player games, healing effects are very powerful,” said Rowland. “In games with three or more players, those with healing effects tend to become a target, but with two players this is not possible. In addition, with fewer players, you can use the healing effects more often. Basically, it comes down to the perception that getting a healing card wins you the game. Thus, the first card in a 2-player draft gets discarded. This removes a healing power or other strong 2-player card before it gets into anyone's hands.”
As previously mentioned, the next set to be available for Nightfall will be called Blood Country.
“People may be able to demo it at Gen Con, but it will not be on sale until October,” said Rowland. “As I mentioned Blood Country moves the story out to the country, with pickups, shotguns, and hard working honest folk trying their hardest to shove pieces of wood into vampires’ chests. Blood Country, while not introducing a new wound effect like Martial Law did, introduces many new ways to use your wounds.”
So Nightfall appears to be primed for a long run and moving in directions that will make it an even more enriching and interesting gaming experience.