Nightfall Review

By , on April 11, 2012

Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • Complex, aggressive deck-building gameplay.
  • Up to five people in one game; a mix of either AI (3 difficulties) or human opponents.
  • Relatively intuitive interface; manages to convey a lot of information without overloading the screen.


  • Scenarios or multiple tutorial missions needed to better teach the basics; simply covering the rules is insufficient to learn 'deck-building'.
  • Expansions hinted at, but no information about their future inclusion is available.


2011's Nightfall has made its way to the iOS and while it's not the first deck-builder on the scene, its uniquely brutal and aggressive style means you'll need to keep track of every player as they attempt to stab you in the back - fun offline or online with friends and strangers.

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As much as I profess a love for board games, I must admit my preoccupation with video games keeps me out of the loop (as it were) when it comes to upcoming or popular titles. Nightfall, an aggressive deck-building card game from Alderac Entertainment Group, has gathered a strong following since its release last year - so it's no surprise to see Playdek, the iOS developer who brought out releases for Food Fight and Ascension, pushing this title out the door as well.

Those familiar with deck-building titles like Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer will be familiar with the basics of Nightfall's gameplay. In short summary, players take turns to draw cards from their decks, adding to it by utilizing special resources (in this case, 'influence') to buy new cards from either a public stack (available to all players) or a private one. Play continues until the scoring points (wounds) are depleted and whoever is least wounded wins the game.

As you can imagine from the name of the scoring system, Nightfall is not a passive game. In fact it's not exactly a pure deck-builder as it incorporates elements of regular collectable card games, in that the player can summon and utilize minions to attack other players or defend from incoming damage. This is all the more intriguing as each player's 'chain' phase is open to every other player to add to - as long as your card is the correct color (or features a 'kicker' of the correct color), you can summon or cast spells even when it's not your turn.

What makes this so exciting is that you'll need to pay attention to the cards the other players are choosing from those available, as chaining is pivotal to keeping yourself healthy, while denying resources to other players.

However, this is a video game and as such the game's success depends on being able to condense such a complex game in to a limited interface. For veterans, it's likely to be a doddle to learn as you'll already understand the resources being tracked and the order of turns being processed. For newer players, despite a rather intense tutorial, it will take several games with AI opponents before you learn the basics of building your deck to succeed.

Once you're confident you can join friends or other opponents in open, online games - while turns can be taken at each players leisure, you can have multiple games running to keep you entertained.

Nightfall is a strong, competitive card game and one that will hopefully feature its expansions in the near future. Until then, the base game is competent, if complicated for newcomers.


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