Darkness is an upcoming Kickstarter title from Green Meadow Games that has players vying for powerful artifacts as druids of Northern Europe. Each player starts with an identical hand of 15 cards, 3 cards of 5 different colors, and uses those to try to gather Artifact from a central ring of cards and Relics placed at the top of the play area. Artifacts are scored on sets of identical cards earned, while Relics give players special actions that can be taken during the game. Sometimes Darkness cards appear and must be dispelled before 3 accumulate and Darkness falls, forcing players to discard Artifacts. All this happens over the course of 6 rounds which, once over, final scores are calculated.
How are Artifacts and Relics obtained, and how are Darkness Cards dispelled? Each round players will play a total of 6 cards over the course of 3 steps.
- First, all players place 3 cards from their hand face down. Once all players have done so the cards are revealed.
- Next, 2 more cards are placed face down and revealed once all players have placed their cards.
- Finally, a single last card is placed faced down and revealed once all players have placed down a card.
Players then go around the ring of Artifacts, each containing a Primary Color and Secondary Color, and the player with the majority of the Primary Color gets the card. If there’s a tie then the player with the most of the Secondary Color gets the card. If there’s still a tie the Artifact is discarded. Next, if any player played the proper combination of colors to acquire a relic they may take it an place it in front of them for latest use. Players then take all their cards back into their hand, refresh the Relic line and Artifact circle, and begin the next round. The came continues for 6 rounds, at which point all the Artifact Cards should have been claimed or discarded.
The only other type of cards players need to worry about are Darkness cards, which sometimes make their way into the Artifact circle. These cards have a color combination that must be met, similar to Relics. If no one matches the colors on the Darkness card, it gets placed off to the side. If the card is dispelled by a player, that player takes it for the purpose of a tiebreaker later on. If 3 Darkness cards manage to accumulate without being dispelled, Darkness falls and players must discard their Artifacts down the number of the player with the least amount of Artifacts.
At the end of the game, players group their Artifacts by type and score based on how large the sets they’ve created are. In case of a tie the player who Dispelled more Darkness wins.
Darkness is light, quick, and easy to learn. The mechanics are fairly unique and provide interesting choices at every turn. Most of the game’s strategy comes from trying to maximize the Artifacts you can turn during a round while paying attention to the cards played by your opponents. Relics come in hands, though often don’t line up well with the colors you need to snag Artifacts. Dispelling Darkness works in a similar way. Often players will need to get colors on the table to dispel a card which costs them precious Artifacts. The cost of not dispelling Darkness can be greater, though, losing players more than just a few Artifacts.
The prototype I received has wonderful artwork and bright, vibrant colors on the player’s cards. The cards themselves, however, are small and difficult to handle. I’m hoping that’s just because it’s an early copy and not a reflection of the card size for the final game. If you’re familiar with the original printings of Ticket to Ride you’ll have a good idea of the card size presented to me. While I enjoy the game, the card size might actually be a deal breaker for me. I hate tiny cards. Of course, that’s my personal preference.
Darkness is currently up on Kickstarter.
A prototype copy of Darkness was provided free for this preview in adherence to A Pawn’s Perspective’s 2018 Preview Policy.