Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Enrique Dueņas González


No. of Players:
2 - 6



On a total of just 30 character cards the game brings together the who-is-who of Victorian age London. There is Dr. Jekyll, Dr. Van Helsing, Arsene Lupin, a Priest, a Damsel in Distress and a Brave Young Man, whereas on side of the monsters you can find Mr. Hyde, The Mummy, Wicked Servants and his Lordship Count Dracula. Drawing secret Faction cards at the beginning of the game, the players either take side of the heroes or the monsters, and at the game's end they will score a Victory point for every matching character card in their own playing area, but they will loose a point for every card they have played of the other faction.

At the beginning of the game, each player receives just one card from the deck, and during a turn the active player must choose between two simple actions: playing a Character card or drawing a Character card. If a player already has three cards on his hand, he cannot even draw a card anymore, but he will have to play one of his cards in order to make room once again to possibly draw a card.

When playing a card, the card will be placed in in the player's area (called Neighborhood) and the special ability of the card will be activated. These abilities are fairly straightforward, allowing the players to draw a new card, to steal a card from another player or to force the discarding of a character. Some card actions also can be used to discard cards from the player's hand, a quite useful action if the player has his hand filled with cards of the other faction. However, quite often the players will have to make a compromise, playing a card of the other faction even if this will cost them a Victory point when the game ends. The reasons for doing so are variable, either to hide the player's true alignment or to use the card's special ability, hoping that another chance still might come up to get rid of the card.

The game ends when the 30th and last Character card has been drawn, and the quick and direct way of playing reminds me quite a bit of Seiji Kanai's and Hayato Kisaragi's Lost Legacy. However, London after Midnight does not contain any cards which may cause a sudden death like Lost Legacy does, and I think that the game offers quite interesting possibilities for speculation and misleading the other players once the players have gotten familiar with the composition of the Character deck. During first play you will only learn how the characters work, but already during your second game you will start to expect the arrival of certain characters later in the game, and so you will try to include this information in your cardplay for the next round or two.

Of course, there is luck involved when it comes to drawing a new card from the deck, but as described the cards offer enough special abilities to give the game some quite entertaining twists of fate. With a short, brutal playing time of about 10 minutes, the game played extraordinary well with just two players, and even though it can be played with a cast of 6 players I would think that the total deck size of 30 cards can be best enjoyed with 3 to 4 players, leaving each player enough possibilities to act.

Coming with a set of rather nice illustrations, London after Midnight certainly has been a rather nice find, and I am certain that the little deck of cards will be taken along on the one or other holiday trip by my wife and me!

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Copyright & copy; 2015 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany