Wednesday, September 2, 2015

TableStop Review - Nevermore

A Treacherous Card Game
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door
            Only this and nothing more.”

Coming from Smirk and Dagger comes another game filled with chances for all kinds of backstabbing and underhanded play. Nevermore is a casual, card-drafting game where you try to collect cards that are good for you, while attempting to poison your opponent's hands. In the hopes of transforming all of your opponents into ravens or collect enough victory points to claim the triumph.

The game is played through two different phases, drafting and resolution, The main goals of play are to garner either six victory points or all your opponents have lost enough health to be transformed into ravens. To achieve this at the start of round players are dealt five cards each and then drafting commences. You have to pass on three cards first, then two and finally one to complete your hand. Then the round moves onto resolution where hands are compared to do damage, heal hit points, earn victory points or gain Magick cards.

There are five different suits that you can attempt to collect - Attack, Heal, Victory, Radiance and Ravens. During the resolution phase the totals of each of these sets that players have managed to get into their hands are compared. The difference between the player or players with highest amount of a suit are compared to second highest. This decides the value. For example in the case of Attack cards, one player plays 3 Attack cards, and the second highest playes just 1 card. This would mean the first player would be able to deal out two points of damage however they would like.

If a players health ever drops to zero they get turned into a raven, they cannot win the game but they still play a part in the rest of the game and even have the opportunity to return to human form if they can get full sets or one of each suit into their hand before the end of drafting.

This game is great fun and I love the quasi-elimination given to you by being turned into a raven, that power gives you plenty of king maker opportunities as you peck away at the humans who are still busy fighting one another.  In many games that could be seen as a problem, but with Nevermore it works within the constructs of the gameplay.

The hard decisions that are given to your during drafting with such a limited pool of cards is tense and that first pass of three cards can be heartbreaking to either you or the person you are passing to. A good collection of Magick cards throughout the game can easily help you to victory or hinder other's plans. Light Magick is powerful enough, but if you have a chance picking up a Shadow Magick or two can be even more overwhelming for your opponents.

Game weight wise this one sits just above Sushi Go! on the scale and it's general ease of play could be a good gateway game for people who don't mind being mean to one another. You have to be prepared to be mean in this one, and also be ready to be on the receiving end of a knife in your back.

The only negative I can lay at this game is some of the back and forth can cause the game to run a little longer than needed, but the fast gameplay can cover that once every player knows what they are doing.

Rating - 7.5/10 - Solid backstabbing fun and will stay in my collection.

Publisher: Smirk and Dagger
Designer: Curt Covert
Players: 3-6
Time: 45-60mins
Mechanics: Card Drafting, Set Collection

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