Demoing the Darkness

By John Yarbrough

"Hello, folks! Do you want to fight some evil today? I've got all the evil you ever want right here!"

That was my line to passersby as I spent the majority of Board Game Geek Con (2017) in Dallas, Texas, demoing Darkest Night: Second Edition for Victory Point Games. The game has been out in its first edition for years and I have owned a copy for some time. When the Kickstarter came along for a new second edition, I wasn't able to buy in at that time, so this was my first chance (along with many others at the con) to see the upgraded components and feel the upgraded cardstock.

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No one was disappointed. The gameplay of Darkest Night has always been solid and those who had not experienced it before were rather impressed with both the concept of the game and its actual mechanics. I can report that every person who sat down at the table, whether they wanted the full run-through or the elevator pitch, found the variety of characters (30) intriguing and enjoyed the idea of being "guerrilla fantasy warriors" fighting an evil that had already won.

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With the first edition, I thought the weak points might be the aesthetics, but that is certainly not the case anymore! Player after player commented to me about the beautiful look of the board and the artwork on the new second edition components, not to mention the quality they could feel in the new fabric-finish cardstock. Previous Necromancer fighters will know what I mean when I say the Blights seeking to extend his malevolent influence are now twice the size of what they were in the previous edition. (I can now read them without getting out my glasses.)

There have been comments about the miniatures in the second edition. The regular standees issued with the game are big, bright, and beautiful, but I demonstrated using the miniatures throughout the convention. Again, the response was very positive to those with their eyes (and hands) directly on the figures themselves. I can't speak to the resolution of different photos that might be out there on the internet, but up close and in actual view, the gamers sitting down at my table commented over and over at how the miniatures "looked like" the artwork.

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I know that is a novel concept to have pieces actually look like their representations, but anyone out there who has ever used a certain white wizard whose game piece is a white round peg understands what I am talking about. You buy the miniatures to increase your feel of the ambiance of your story. Pieces that look like the artwork from your character card do that. The only negative comments I heard throughout the show were understandable laments from backers "just wanting their game." If you are one of those people, I would say to you as I said to them:

Victory Point Games appreciates your support and I, as a fellow gamer, completely understand your frustration. The one thing I want to assure you of is that VPG is hardly some fly-by-night operation. Pledges made in good faith are going to be honored and you are going to get your game. After all, the evil isn't going to fight itself!

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