PAX East 2012 XTRA Hands-On: 'Nightfall'

PAX East 2012 XTRA Hands-On: ‘Nightfall’


Tabletop gaming has recently become one of my favorite hobbies, but work and other life commitments sometimes make it hard to make time to sit down and play them.

That’s where Playdek comes in. They port games from their physical, tabletop form into full-fledged iOS games. The really great thing is that these games are playable online, so even if you can’t sit down with your friends for your favorite board game, you can play at your leisure on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, or play and pass on long car rides or in long lines.

Another great thing about what Playdek does is that the digital version of these tabletop games clearly defines the rules and explains them, which helps take some of the intimidation factor for those of us who are new to tabletop. And if you love the iOS version of these games, you can buy the physical game fully understanding the rules and ready to play!

At PAX East I got a chance to check out Nightfall, Playdek’s newest game, based on a deck building card game published in 2011.

Set in a world where vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures walk the earth, your goal in Nightfall is to assemble a powerful deck of cards, wound your opponents, and sustain as few wounds yourself. Like in other deck building games, players purchase cards in the game to build up their deck. The iOS version contains all the cards you’ll need to play with up to five players, with no additional need to purchase additional cards, like in other card games such as Magic: The Gathering. The physical version of Nightfall does have expansions associated with it, but the digital version does not include these just yet.

This digital version of Nightfall  has a pretty clear tutorial mode, which I played through and explains each round of the game in full, interactive detail. The game looks and works great on the iPad. However, the game is a bit tiny on the iPhone or iPod Touch. For those of you playing on one of the smaller iDevices, it may be a bit time consuming to zoom in, read each card, zoom out, and move onto the next. But this isn’t a fault of the game, as all tabletop games seem to include tons of details that don’t compact well on the tiny screens of the iPhone or iPod.

Nightfall is a universal app, meaning just one purchase will allow you to play the game on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. You can pick it up right now on the App Store for $4.99.