Game Review: Nightlancer

This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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# of Players: 1-4
Time 2hours
Age: 10+ (14+)
Game Type: Board Game
Gamer Type: Moderate to Hardcore
Complexity: 7.5 Upper level gamer

CoronaVirus, political conflict, and global issues are exploding around the world. People are worried about the future. Gaming has looked into the post-apocalyptic world with many different viewpoints: cyberpunk, steampunk, and fallout. With all that could go wrong, a question to ponder is about the fragility of the world built after the fall. It very well could be a world of despair, hustling, and hope. This is the world created in NightLancer. This is a competitive 2-4 player campaign level game which commits you to about 2 hours of intense competition, planning, and alliances in a world that is falling. Will you be able to survive in the world of NightLancer?

Story

The story of the game is super cool. Players are operatives in the Underworld of Birmingham England in the year 2099. The world has fallen and the people are just not ready to embrace their new realities yet. As the government begins to fall, you and your crew need to place yourself in the best position to survive. The overall cyberpunk theme of the game is one that plays on the current worries of people, while showing that human ingenuity, hard work and the right amount of risk will carry you through these troubled times. The game immerses you in a cyberpunk world, and for that completed mission it earns a score of 7.5 out of 10 for story.

Artwork

The artwork of the game is all-on cyberpunk. Even the character cards have the feel of a fading society. The other components of the game have the futuristic feel of computers as we imagined them to be when they were still the future. Now in a world where we have everything computerized, we have a fear of losing those computers. This is one of the things that makes the cyberpunk world so relatable because it is hard to fathom where we would be without our machines. The artwork is strong in this game and for that it earns a 6 out of 10.

Mechanics

NightLancer is all about getting prospects while avoiding heat. Prospects are the victory points of the game, while heat is the attention you have garnered of the government. The goal of the game is to collect while avoiding attention. This is basically the same as operating in the underworld. If this was the extent of the mechanics, this game would be monopoly. NightLancer adds the Role Player Game (RPG) element to the game giving it a unique spin.

You outfit your character, provide weapons and armor, assemble a crew, then complete missions to raise your prospects. You do this all the while avoiding heat from the government. There is a catch, however, as the other players are after the same thing. This means while you are competing for missions or executing them, you may find that your opponent is using their cards and abilities to undercut you. There can only be one winner in this game, so will it be you? The complexity of the mechanics and how well they work together is interesting. This earns NightLancer a 7.5 out of 10 for mechanics.

Strategy

How do you live on the street? This is where your strategy comes into play. First of all, you have the full options of a limited RPG at your disposal for how you win. If you want to zerg rush, hoping you can reach the goal before the heat catches you, then you can do that. Another option is to go full offense and keep other people from winning. This turns the focus instead on looting the spoils at the end of the game.

Defensive players are in paradise as they can lay low, hide from the heat, and then jump in when they are ready to swoop in for the win. Engine builders can structure their crews so they can take their desired paths. All of these are an option, and they seem to be pretty well balanced throughout the game. This earns a strong 7 out of 10 for strategy.

Novelty

Cyberpunk is on the rise as steampunk is starting to decline. Enough young people are learning the computer elements so they feel if society collapsed the Internet would be the new government. This means this is a hot genre right now. NightLancer is on the forefront of the genre, which earns them a very good score of 8 out of 10 for novelty. The interactions of the mechanics (dice, cards, and boards) enables players to take their characters in whatever way they want. This gives you the option to do what you are supposed to or go full underworld and buck the trend with your player. The choice is yours in this game, which makes it a very novel game.

A Great, Hardcore Cyberpunk Game

With a total score of 36, NightLancer is a very strong game for the advanced gamer. This is not a game anyone should pick up for a work night or for a quick game. This is a hardcore game which will take you about 2 hours to play. The rules are long, but they are easy to understand. The two hour play time is a good estimate, but seasoned players will start to see the time creep down a little for games played with two.

If you are the type of gamer who likes to have game night with other gamers and get deep into a game check out NightLancer. This is a good game for people who do not have the luxury of setting up a D&D night every week. This is a one and done game that is different every time, which makes it a great game for “gamer reunions.” These are those times when you see friends you haven’t seen in a long time. Overall, I recommend this game for the hardcore readers out there, even if you are just moving out of gateway games. This game would be a great addition to your collection. Check it out on Kickstarter and hopefully you will be the next NightLancer.

Author Profile

Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer
Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer
Dr. Christopher Smithmyer is a writer for NRN, the Vice President of International Affairs at Brav Online Conflict Management, and an Adjunct Professor of MBA Business at Doane University. He is also part of the founding team at BlackWalletLTD, one of the leaders in stable coin 2.0 ecosystem maintenance. Dr. Smithmyer’s focus is international business and finance, along with reviews of board games, weapons platforms, and survival items.