I played a game of Nacht der Magier with Johanna yesterday. We played in light; it was nice to see the game worked well without the darkness effect. It’s better in the dark, but fine in light. Thus, a review in Finnish.
Nacht der Magier, Magician’s Night, has a rare gimmick. The game is played in dark; not in low light, but pitch black. This causes most of the components of the game to disappear completely, while others are highlighted by their glow. The challenges created by the invisible components make the game stand out.
Push until it clicks
The basic premise is simple: the board, raised up from table level, is full of wooden discs and trees and other bits. There’s a ring of fire in the middle, covered by a cardboard disc and a blazing fire. Cauldrons circle that disc. The goal is to get one’s own cauldron to the ring of fire by pushing the bits on the board.
You start pushing from the side of the board and push in one continuous movement until you hear a clack; something has fallen off the board. Your turn ends there. Next player is up, and this continues until someone’s cauldron is in the ring of fire.
The idea is simple, but it works. It’s not quite easy, you see: the round discs have a tendency to go in unexpected directions when you push them. Getting your cauldron to move straight forward is nearly impossible — particularly as you only see the cauldrons, the fire, the ring and the wizards of other players (the pieces you use to push).
In light, the game is slightly different; more tactical, perhaps. It’s still fun, though not quite as special. Still, even in light of the day, Nacht der Magier is nice, different dexterity game. It’s physical, but doesn’t require steady, non-trembling hands or deep understanding of the workings of gravity.
As is typical with Drei Magier Spiele games, Nacht der Magier is pretty. The deep shades of blue are very cool in daylight, but the real magic happens in dark. The game looks stunning — anybody should be impressed. This game ranks highly on my list of the prettiest games.
Because the game is so simple, it has little to offer to people looking for serious strategy games. However, Nacht der Magier is a must-buy for three groups: children, childish adults and collectors looking for curious, unique games.