Friday, 6 January 2017

Nightmarium - A game about conquering Nightmares - Game Review

Sooo....  I back Kickstarters too much


That said, I don't back all the kickstarters that I look at (thank frag...), and I have a limit on the Kickstarters that I do back, they have to be delivering within a timeframe that I'm going to be around to collect in (so no backing Kingdom:Death), and they have to be at a price that I could afford to lose if there's no delivery on what was promised (so no backing Kingdom:Death), and most importantly...

They have to have a premise that interests me...

This is Nightmarium.

It's a simple game, all the players are trying to create a number of monsters, first one to create the right number of monsters wins the game.  Play is simple, each turn players get two moves, they can either

A) Draw a card
B) Discard a number of cards from their hand (no upper hand size) and draw half that many cards again.
C) Play a card.

Simple enough?
Mid Game
It really is, but the interesting part comes when the monsters are assembled.  You have to assemble the monsters in order, Legs, then Torso, then Head, and when each monster is assembled, you resolve all the icons on that monster in order, if you can't resolve an icon, you stop resolving all the other abilities on the monster and they go to waste.

The Icons are as follows:

And they're presented on the monsters in the top right corner.

So if you'd just completed the first monster on the panel below, you'd have to discard the top card from one of your monsters, then add the top card from any other players creature to your hand, then play one card from your hand to complete the creatures abilities...

And this is where it gets really interesting, because by discarding the top card from one of your monsters, you make it incomplete (which means you can score it again), if you were to take another head from someone else's monster, you'd then be able to play it with the last ability, which would complete a second monster, and then you have to resolve all the abilities on that monster, and so on.  If you complete a creature that has parts that are all the same colour, then as an additional bonus, the other players have to discard a card of the same colour (and if they have no card of that colour, two of any other colour.) as well as anything else that the icons dictate.

When any player completes the last monster in their lineup, that's the game.

It really is a simple game, you can learn it in a few minutes, but the infinite variation in creatures and abilities that can be found make for a very interesting game.  In the few games that we played, we found that the best strategy tends to be trying to get monsters put together quickly, but the key part of doing that is ensuring that the monsters you create actually have useful abilities when they are completed, or you might end up crippling your own strategy as you go...

The artwork is brilliant, even if some of the creatures that you create are a little haphazard, and finishing off monsters has to be done in the right order or you'll scupper your own plans, but it's an interesting game, and you have to keep a track on what the other players are creating as well as what you're up to in order to ensure that their completed monsters don't wreak havoc amongst yours.

Overall, it's an interesting game with a good premise and superb visuals, better played as a party game or short interlude, but it's definitely worth picking up a copy.