A preview by
- 2-5 Players
- 20-30 Minutes
During the Dark Ages in Europe, There were many Mystics. They tried to control Nature via the use of powerful stone artifacts. Using energy from animals with matching affinity they would “energise” these artifacts. This energising of the artifacts granted them great power. Those who were less prepared however risked releasing dark spirits into the real world to create havoc unless they were contained. Do you have the power and abilities to utilise these artifacts? Can you stop the dark spirits from breaking into our world? Will you become the most powerful of all the mystics? Ring.
- Animal Spirit Cards,
- Relic Cards,
- Artifact Cards,
- Darkness Cards.
Note: The copy of Darkness I received to preview was a prototype copy. As such quality and quantity of components are liable to alter as stretch goals are achieved. Also note art work and minor rules changes are likely.
You and up to four opponents will compete to gather mystical artifacts and valuable relics on your journey to victory. Over the course of six rounds you will gain points from the collection of these with the ultimate aim of having the most mystical score and being crowned as the head of all mystics. You all start with an identical set of 15 animal spirits and each round you will use the power of some of these spirits to try to claim artifacts or relics. The more you collect the more valuable they will become at the end of the game.
OK so about now your itching to know how to claim these artifacts and become the all powerful mystic leader. Well I will tell you.
Your starting set of animal spirit cards are colour based in sets of 3 (five different colours) Red, Orange, Yellow, Green and Blue. Now first off for those that have colour sight issues. You will be pleased to note that all of the cards have vastly different artwork to enable you to differentiate them. The icons used are replicated throughout the game whenever that colour is used.
Initially a series of artifact cards are revealed. Each of these have a primary and secondary animal spirit aligned with them. At the end of each round the mystic that has used the most of the primary animal spirit will claim the artifact if there is a tie then the secondary will be counted.
You will also be aiming to claim powerful relics. These can give you big point boosts or special abilities. These are claimed at the end of a round by a player who has managed to play five animal spirits that match those required for the relic.
Regardless of weather you target the relics or the artifacts. The round is played in three phases. In each phase you secretly select a diminishing number of spirit animal cards from your hand. When all players have selected you reveal your chosen cards. Once the third phase is complete you will have six face up cards in front of you. These are what you will use to claim artifacts and/or relics. All players then return the animal spirit cards to their hands. The central tableau of artifact and relic cards is then replenished ready for the next round
Be warned though, all this mystical activity will call forth the dark spirits. When these appear they need to be dispelled to avoid terrible havoc. To dispel these dark spirits at the end of a round, one player must have used a matching number of animal spirits. If this happens the dark spirit is cast out and order is returned. Fail to remove however and they enter “the veil” if at any point there are 3 dark spirits in “the veil” all players discard artifacts down to the fewest number held.
After you have completed six rounds points are awarded based on the number of artifacts in each set you possess. From 1 point for one card through 16 points for 6 cards up to 67 for a set of twelve.
Darkness is an interesting little game. It falls neatly into the filler category and plays well at various numbers. That being said I did find it a little ‘dry’ at 2 player but 3-5 is much more interesting. Play is easy to learn and also to teach. It feels very familiar in its structure. At its heart Darkness is a set collecting game but one which tries to add something a little different into the mix. It is due to launch onto Kickstarter on 6th March 2018. and could well be classed as a nice little shelf filler for family play or occasional filler at meet-ups. It is a little too lightweight for game groups. The artwork is nice and distinctive.
I was provided with a copy of Darkness to preview as part of the BGE group. I have now passed this copy on to another reviewer in the group. This has no bearing on my review or my final thoughts on the game.