Masters of the Night – your beloved family of vampires!
Masters of the Night
November 30, 2020
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Have you ever wondered what would be your life like, if you were a vampire? Masters of the night, from Ares games, will show you just that. A new cooperative, horror board game that is for 1 to 5 players, with the release date of November 30th, 2020.
After years of hiding from the Inquisition, Your Vampire Family has finally arrived to a new city. You are super weak, paranoid about being stabbed with a wooden stick, and you are very, very thirsty. The goal in the Masters of the Night board game is to restore your Vampire family’s strength while avoid being hunted down by an inquisitorial society. If you succeed in doing that, maybe your family will actually build enough influence and manage to conjure an ancient magic spell, guaranteeing them safety and free drinks!
Masters of the Night game overview
There are 6 Vampire characters available in the Masters of the Night board game – Nevena, Laszlo, Mila, Agnieszka, Imre, and Ishtvan. Every player controls a vampire of their choice (or multiple vampires) and roams the city, which is represented by 9 district tiles, or locations placed in a 3 by 3 array onto the tabletop. Here, all the players cooperate with each other and play against the game. The game represents the inquisition – the order that hunts the Vampires.
The game is played over a series of rounds. Each round is divided into two phases: a day phase, and a night phase. During the day, the Inquisition is looking for the vampires. The agents of the Inquisition will spawn onto numerous district tiles, and various events, concerning the vampire search, will be revealed.
During the night phase, the vampires (players) implement their actions in a clockwise direction. They move from district to district, expose & eliminate agents, hunt their prey, draw relics, use their special abilities & recruit minions.
Basically, they do everything they can to increase their power and aim to cleanse the districts from the agents of the Inquisition. But the vampires face critical decisions on what actions to take, how wildly you want to hunt your prey, to balance it all between secrecy & aggression. Typically, the most powerful abilities will also move the awareness (Veil) tracker down, leading to a faster progression of society learning about the existence of the vampires, which is one of the game loss conditions.
The goal of the game is to perform a Blood Moon ritual, that would turn people of the city into the obedient herd, securing you the blood for years to come. In order to achieve this, there are certain steps all vampires need to do. First of all – the kill count. Each character must maximize its strength by hunting & killing your prey. As your power grows, new actions become available to you, eventually allowing you to seal a district. Every family’s vampire that is in play must seal 1 district (Step 1), then meet in one district with other vampires (Step 2), and cast the Blood Moon spell/ritual (Step 3). If all three steps are completed, your Vampire family wins the game!
But is easier said than done. The Inquisition will find you, and they will do everything they can to defeat you. Agents spawning onto districts with Vampires will move the Veil Tracker towards zero. If you get yourself surrounded by agents, you will need to combat them in order to survive. Time & Veil Tracker are your biggest enemies. If the Veil Tracker reaches zero, or there are no event cards to draw, the vampires are hunted down, the Inquisition overpowers the city, and the game is lost!
My first impressions & some cool features of the game
What I found to be interesting, is that each Vampire character has 2 unique abilities, effects that differentiate them. Some of the characters are stronger early game, some late game, and all of them synergize differently, creating the potential for improvisation & varying gameplay.
On top of that, players are actually able to control numerous vampires. The Veil Tracker is always adjusted based on the number of Vampires in game-play, but not players. There can be up to 5 vampires included in a gameplay session. So two players can each play a single vampire, two vampires each, or divide it 3 by 2. This really creates more space for those replays, and not get bored too fast.
Furthermore, I am really glad to see 3 difficulty levels of game-play available, as well as a Solo mode. The solo mode has its custom rules described, and the difficulty levels are adjusted based on the number of event cards included in the game. For the easiest experience, including the 18 Day Event cards ( 6 of each type), to have 18 rounds of gameplay. And you can cut the count of cards up to 12 (4 of each type) to have the hardest version of the game – with 12 rounds only.
There is a clear benefit of time efficiency when you play harder game mode, as there are fewer rounds in total – so you can simply play the game more times, or more games during your game night. But I actually would love that the difficulty would also be felt by the intensity of the game – for example, more enemies spawning, more combatting, and so on. This could have made the game more entertaining in my opinion.
Never the less, these rule adjustments allow all types of players to have a great time. From a beginner gamer, a group of kids, or even advanced adult board gamers. Personally, I would definitely want to progress the difficulty levels from easiest to the hardest, to beat the game at all difficulty levels. It’s funnier that way!
All in all, the game has a very unique theme, that goes with custom mechanics, characters, unique abilities & player turns. This makes the game feel something different, a certainly unique cooperative board game.
You can find more information about the Masters of the Night board game on Kickstarter.
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