fast fun little game with a couple of decent decisions.
Publisher: Ares Games
Designer: Konstantin Seleznev
Artist: Erbol Bulentaev
Game Type: Hand Management
Game Type: Set Collection
Initial Year of Release: 2014
Age Range: 10+
Expected Playtime: 10 – 30 minutes
Number of Players: 2-5
Theme and What is it?
*Note* Copy of the game provided by publisher for review.
There is room for one more Lord of Night. What happened to cause the opening? Best not to dwell on it. What is important is the opening exists. Gather the fabric of fear and nightmares. Build a force of monsters so terrible that the other candidates flee from your magnificence. Build your forces before the others and the title is yours. Are you fit to be the next Lord of Terror?
Nightmarium is a set collection game. On your turn, you’ll be trying to build five monsters. Scare off or devour your opponent’s monsters to assure your victory. Can you be the greatest of them all?
Nightmarium is all about set collection. On your turn, you’ll get two actions. You can draw a card, play a card, or discard any number of cards and draw half as many back into your hand. If you play a card for both actions then they must both be from the same faction.
The only other rules are focused on building your monsters. You will do this in stages. All monsters must be built in order starting with the feet and moving up to the head. Building a monster from a single faction forces your opponents to discard cards. It makes it more difficult to finish a monster but the extra help might be worth it.
The real strategy comes from finishing a monster. Several of the monster cards have special rules on them. When a monster is finished you’ll go from top to bottom and perform each of these actions. This can cause a number of different effects such as moving cards, stealing pieces of opponent’s monsters, or destroying pieces of your own creations. This can lead to playing and replaying heads on certain monsters in order or to get to perform some of its actions a second and third time.
Once you complete five monsters you win. This happens without activating the abilities of the final monster.
There is a variant in the game where you can lock a monster preventing it from being tampered with. It doesn’t really add any complexity to the game itself and you can play with or without it.
This game tagged into a special place in the back of my mind. When I was a kid I had a creature factory that this game reminded me of. I spent hours creating my own monsters, superheroes, and athletes. Because of this, I was very optimistic about this game.
Game Build Quality
The cards in this game are nice but felt a little thin to me. Overall, it wasn’t a problem for me but some people might want to do something about that. Though I’m not sure sleeving is a great idea here as it will interrupt the completed monster images.
The art is a bit dark in tone. However, I think it’s very good for what it is intending. The pieces all go together very well and look nice with combined into a single entity.
This game is about set collection and a bit of take-that. It’s very fast and can easily be played with little difficulty by people having a conversation. It’s a nice filler weight game, though it does take up an impressive amount of table space.
Age Range & Weight
The box says 10+ and I’m not sure. I think the rules are simple enough to engage a 10-year-old without overwhelming them. Thematically, I think it’s okay. I don’t think the images are graphic or too horrific. I’m fairly certain young children should be fine. However, I could be wrong about this. Maybe show the kids some images from the game and then decide how they’ll handle it.
I like this game. I think it’s a fast fun little game with a couple of decent decisions. It’s not long and so I feel it is more of a filler game. It can feel a little take that when the demons abilities go off. However, I don’t feel like it negatively impacted my play session.
I feel like the rules are a little choppy. It may just have been my group but we missed a rule that made the game take longer. With that rule sussed out, everything sped up significantly. I feel like the game also takes up too much space. The five creatures spreading out in front of you took a lot of room. This made the game awkward to play after a while.
In the end, I felt like this was a nice game that filled a specific spot. Unfortunately, I already have a couple of games I use for this that I like better than this one. That said if I were somewhere and someone invited me to play I would probably say yes. As I said, I had fun with it.
However, as always, I encourage you to try before you buy. Head to your local game store or convention and see if they have a copy you can take a run at. The game is also on Tabletopia.com if you want to give it a try that way.
Have a great day. Be well.
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