DARK IS THE NIGHT (APE Games)
The dark woods never sleep and anyone brave or foolish enough to venture out at night knows to keep an ever-watchful eye around the fire. With the crackling kindling, other more concerning noises not as easily put out of mind begin to arise. Grabbing her crossbow, the Hunter knows she is no longer alone.
Dark is the Night is a fast-paced game pitting the encamped Hunter against a Monster lurking in the dark. The game sets up with the Monster secretly selecting their starting space on the Monster Movement Dial (with corresponding numbers marked surrounding the Hunter’s campfire ring), the Hunter then places her miniatures on one of the 8 campfire ring spaces around the fire, and then the Monster announces which cardinal direction (not space number) he has started in.
Play begins with the Hunter, who’s turns always start with a single orthogonal move around the fire. After the first turn, the Hunter has a number of additional actions she may take, including a basic attack into the adjacent darkness, firing her crossbow, firing her crossbow through the fire as a flaming bolt, setting a Bell Trap in the darkness, and setting out Mutton in the darkness. Each action has a token and if all tokens have been spent without either the Monster or Hunter being killed, a sunrise countdown starts at 5 turns – ending with the game as a draw.
The Monster’s turns also start out with an orthogonal move, tracked by their Monster Movement Dial. After moving, the monster has a basic attack action into an adjacent campfire ring space and then once per game has a Monster’s Feint action, where they announce their space number and then secretly moves 0, 1, or 2 spaces.
Dark is the Night is a really engaging setting for a game. It’s a well-known scenario, the monster lurking right outside of the campfire’s light, and plays out with all of the nail-biting suspense. APE Games also did a great job in keeping such a small playing game in an affordably small box without sacrificing any quality. The Hunter’s miniature is well-sculpted and the components are all smartly designed without being gaudy or superfluous and raising the price.
The only problem is that after a number of games, the smallness of Dark is the Night make it less engaging. While the Hunter has a number of special actions available on her turn, the Monster has only one, and the chance over choice balance begins to tip. The simplicity of the game is fun and definitely what they were going for, but a few optional rules could have added more depth for players wanting just a bit more head-scratching. (APE Games) by David C. Obenour