Nightfall Strategy: Using Diplomacy to Win Games

 

Brian (Left) and Summer (Right) playing a game of
Nightfall against other people
Have you played a game of Risk were the group did not stop the one player who dominated the table? Did you ever trash talk so much in a game of Hearts that someone went out of his or her way to screw you over? Were you ever the first person eliminated from a game of Commander because everyone at the table hates your general?
If these scenarios happen to you then you need to review some basic tips about how to play a game involving multiple opponents. Succeeding at multiplayer games requires a certain set of transferable skills that will help increase your ability to win; furthermore, Nightfall plays best with more than two people, making it a great game to use as an example. As everyone remembers from Survivor, you need to make alliances to survive.
Common Enemy
The easiest way to make friends comes from helping one player take down another player; however, the player that you help gang up on will not forget who you allied with. Try to make sure the opponent you gang up on either does not pose a real threat to you or demonstrates clear signs of pulling ahead of everyone else at the table. When picking on the leader, other players will support your alliance and consider it not as threatening. Always keep an eye on your perceived power level and score because the rest of the table might find you as the common enemy.
Brian (Left) and Summer (Right) discuss how to take
down an opponent’s army of minions
The Little Red Dot
Nobody ever wants to see one of those on their forehead. If you start smashing on everyone at the table, they will all aim their rifles at you. Sometimes you need to avoid a battle to win the war. Staying quiet helps your chances at placing high among a group of people. If you do not show up on their radar, they will not think of attacking you. Do not take an oath of silence, especially when players ask for your help. This could violate the common enemy principle. People who play multiplayer games do not forget who screws them over and who chose not to help. Pick your battles wisely and try to learn which conflicts you can afford to act as Switzerland. Try not to abuse this strategy either. Some people will attack you just for appearing too quiet, as if your opponents sense a storm brewing.
Brian (Left) hopes that Summer (Right) does not notice
his five minions in play
Attention Versus Power Level
Anyone who can master this relationship will succeed in weathering the storm of multiplayer games. You need powerful cards to defeat multiple opponents, but powerful cards could force the table to gang up on you out of fear that you will grow too powerful. In Nightfall, I advise not advertising or developing the best combo at the table. In the first few turns all the players will notice how everyone’s decks will turn out. The group will come to a consensus on which player they believe poses the most dangerous threat and the group will make an extra effort to attack that player. Make sure the cards in your deck can help you survive, help other players when needed, and can deal damage when opportunities present themselves. The increased power level of cards in Nightfall appears to generate a diminishing returns affect depending on how many players you play with.
Brian (Left) reacts with fear as Summer (Right) resolves
an impressive chain that includes three Tag Team Takedowns
Nightfall does not allow players to count how many wounds each player’s deck contains. Unless you can count cards well, you need to guesstimate the approximate score of the players. Most people factor into this guess what they think the scores will look like in future turns. This evaluation hurts players who sprint into first early on in the game. Players who cannot count every single card between four or five players tend to overcompensate attacking or hurting the perceived leader. You can win many games of Nightfall with subpar cards if you stay quiet, help your opponents to build alliances, and seek out less devastating combos.
Brian (Left) celebrates a victory as Summer (Right) sits
confused how her powerful deck received so many wounds
Do you feel diplomacy plays a big part in Nightfall? Do you think the best cards always win or will the best politics prevail? Share your thoughts about how table talk and other outside the game strategies affect the outcomes of multiplayer games.
Let us know what you think.
Additional Information
 
For more information about Nightfall check the product page on BoardGameGeek.com.
Interested in purchasing a copy of Nightfall? Try the following links.
Amazon: Nightfall.
If you live in the tri-state area, consider stopping by AU to pick up a copy and play with the staff. Most of them make up my play test group. We play usually every Monday.

Thunderstone Strategy: Abusing the Destroy Effect

 

All the cards in the base set with some type of destroy effect.
When I worked construction for a brief time with a friend of mine we used to build decks. I did not care much for the job; however, it did provide one task I still enjoy: Destroying stuff. The first day on a new job we had to demolish the old rotted deck in order to build a new one. Good demolition clears the way for a bigger and better structure, and you can apply this same concept to building exceptional Thunderstone decks.
Why Would I Want to Destroy My Deck?
Would you rather add on to an existing but old and rotted deck, or would you rather build something new and strong? An obvious answer, but one you should always remember. Destroying the starting cards will help build a more efficient deck to compete against the monsters of the dungeon and other players. Stronger monsters will come out as the game progresses, and the card quality of your deck will improve as you purchase new cards and level up your heroes. A card like Militia just does not cut it when you face down Lord of Death. You need to draw your better cards more often and with other equally powerful cards in order to defeat difficult monsters. Your starting deck’s wood will eventually rot out, so you need to destroy it.
How Should I Destroy My Deck?
Take advantage of the rules of Thunderstone. Unlike most deck building games, Thunderstone allows a player to destroy cards as part of his or her turn. A player can take a turn off from purchasing new cards or fighting monsters and choose to Rest, which allows the player to destroy a card in his or her hand. I recommend exercising this option any time you do not have enough attack to defeat an important monster or money to purchase an important card. In the base set of Thunderstone three cards allow the player to destroy cards outside of resting.
Banish
Banish
Allowing you to remove any type of card, Banish provides the most consistent way of destroying cards. Its other effect to disrupt the dungeon makes it the perfect card for controlling who can fight which monsters. Banish allows you to improve the card quality and power of your deck while denying other players the monsters they want to fight. Effective use of Banish will force other players to visit the village in order to improve their deck.
Pawnbroker
Pawnbroker
Nothing helps you add new cards to your deck better than Pawnbroker. Even after you destroyed your entire original deck, Pawnbroker self destructs into more gold. Prioritize this card because it allows you to purchase those big and expensive cards in the village much faster than any other player. Opponents can only keep up with your ability to purchase by using their own Pawnbrokers or by leveling up their heroes.
Trainer
Trainer
Usually a player needs to defeat several monsters in order to take advantage of the experience point game mechanic. Trainer accelerates this normal waiting time, allowing a player to level a hero all the way to its third level before ever entering the dungeon. Similar to Pawnbroker, Trainer destroys itself for Gold when you run out of uses for it. I recommend using only experience to add new heroes to your deck when playing with Trainer. Do not purchase the first level of a hero. Just use the experience mechanic on one of your remaining Militia. This way you can spend your gold to purchase something else, giving you the effect of adding two cards to your deck.
What Other Tools Help me Build My New Deck?
Although Barkeep does not destroy cards in your deck, it does allow you to purchase more than one card when visiting the village. After several visits, you can remove Barkeep from your deck. Town Guard also possesses this ability. Instead of allowing you to purchase multiple cards, Town Guard draws you extra cards in hopes of adding more Gold or good Village effects to your hand. I really like Town Guard’s ability to draw through your deck faster than usual. It accelerates when the new cards you have added to your deck will show up in your hand. The fact that both of these cards remove themselves also aids the strategy of improving the average card quality of your deck and minimizing the useless cards. Once you feel ready to face the Dungeon, all these cards destroy themselves; therefore, they make your deck as efficient as possible when preparing for the dungeon. The tough part comes when you must decide which of these cards you want for your deck at any given time.
Today’s Challenge
Below includes a set up for a four player game.
Village
Village cards in addition to basic cards for Today’s Challenge
  • Banish
  • Pawnbroker
  • Trainer
  • Barkkeep
  • Town Guard
  • Battle Fury
  • Feast
  • Fireball
Heroes available for Today’s Challenge
  • Iron Rations
  • Torch
  • Dagger
  • Militia
  • Selurin Magican
  • Reblade Killer
  • Feayn Archer
  • Outlands Warrior
Dungeon
  • Ooze
  • Doomknight
  • Undead – Doom
Monsters in dungeon for Today’s Challenge
How would you build your deck? What cards would your prioritize? What game plan will not only effectively defeat monsters in the dungeon, but provide the most efficient means of reaching high power level before other players?
Let us know what you think.
Additional Information
For more information about Thunderstone check the product page on BoardGameGeek.com.
Interested in purchasing a copy of Thunderstone? Try the following links.
If you live in the tri-state area, consider stopping by AU to pick up a copy and play with the staff. Although not many staff members know how to play this game, I always want to play more. Interested in playing at AU? Drop Next Level Card Games a line. Contact us at info@nextlevelcardgames.com. Use the subject line: Playing Thunderstone at AU. Let us know your schedule and we will try to set up a time to play together.

Nightfall Strategy: How to Draft Your Archive

By Brian Durkin
Different types of wounds
Synergy – the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.
In a multiplayer game of Nightfall, you have the chance to select cards for your private archive and build a synergistic deck only available to you. What should you consider when selecting cards?
Going Moonfinite
Look out for cards that can chain off each other. Marcus Toth and Alton Hickman may not seem that exciting on their own, but you can drop your entire hand if it consists of only these guys. Well timed moves like this can devastate your opponents and swing you into a commanding position. When drafting cards for your private archive, always consider defaulting to taking two cards that allow you to play them in succession over and over again. But what if your second pack does not contain a card you can do this with?
You can chain these two cards forever.
Kick It!
“You wake up late for school, man, you don’t wanna go.” You ask your neighbor for some help and she says, “No!” Did someone cut you off from going moonfinite? No worries. Hopefully the pack provides a card with a kicker ability you can exploit or a card that allows you to kick your first pick. Maybe you took Blood Rage as your first pick and your neighbor passes you Vulko. You can’t chain these cards forever, but playing them in the right order gives you a powerful bonus. I find kickers difficult to execute, so any player able to activate them on a consistent basis will pull ahead in a hurry.
You can activate the kicker of Vulko by playing Blood Rage before it.
Combos, Shmon-bos, I Got Nothing but Non-bos
Did you fail to pick up cards that chain forever or cards that can activate a kicker? Hopefully the commons will help add synergy to your deck. Try to avoid this situation because you never know what cards the other players will allow in the commons or what cards will randomly appear there either. Assuming you cannot avoid an archive with no synergy, just take the best card. If you made a strong first pick, your two archive cards put you in a great position to hedge your bets for the commons benefiting your deck. I recommend picking up cards out of the commons area first in the early stages of the game if you do not have a strong synergistic archive. The more people you play with, the faster the cards in the commons will disappear; therefore, prioritize them so you do not lose out on any combos with your archive cards.
Today’s Challenge
The picture below includes a commons set up and three opposing archives.
Cards in today’s challenge
What cards from the draft would you hope to have in your archive to effectively combat your opponents and have the greatest chance at victory?
Below includes a list of all the cards.
West Player’s Archive: Franz Orlok & Ivan Radinsky
West Player’s Archive

Ivan Radinsky
Franz Orlok
South Player’s Archive: Tag Team Takedown & “Big Ghost”
South Player’s Archive
“Big Ghost”
Tag Team Takedown
East Player’s Archive: Grim Siege & Blaine Cordell
East Player’s Archive
Grim Siege
Blaine Cordell

Commons
 
Death Grip, Zacharias Sands, “Overwatch Two,” “Indigo Six,”
Shock and Awe, Rend and Tear, Zombie Horde, Sir John Travail

Commons: Zacharias Sands, “Overwatch Two,”
Sir John Travail, & Zombie Horde
Commons: “Indigo Six,” Rend and Tear,
Shock and Awe, & Death Grip










Note: This exercise may seem backwards, but knowing what cards work best in a given scenario helps prepare you for drafting any game. During a draft you will realize that you cannot access many cards. Thinking about what the commons and archives will look like at the start of the game will help direct your picks when playing, especially your second and third picks.
With the remaining cards left available for your theoretical archive, pick your optimal set up. Comment below and tell us why you think those two cards provide the best options.
Let us know what you think. 
Additional Information

For more information about Nightfall check the product page on BoardGameGeek.com.
Interested in purchasing a copy of Nightfall? Try the following links.
Amazon: Nightfall.
If you live in the tri-state area, consider stopping by AU to pick up a copy and play with the staff. Most of them make up my play test group. We play usually every Monday.