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



George Skourtis

Vesuvius Media

No. of Players:



G@mebox author Manuel Esser writes about the game:

The invasion of the deadly elements brought the Evergreen Empire to the brink of destruction. For the Emperor and his subordinates, it is the sacred duty to secure what is left and to initiate reconstruction. Of course, the Emperor cannot do this alone, he needs the support of the noble houses of the Empire. They alone have the power and the resources to accomplish the important mission. What sounds to be easy for the Emperor, turns out to be much more difficult than thought. Centuries-old blood feuds cannot so easily put aside. The old rivalries among the noble houses are much too great to make cooperations possible. In the end, the Emperor is willing to let the the noble families fight out their rivalries. The winner of the challenge will be the next chief advisor and administrator of the Empire.

This short story is the beginning of the plot of Nocturion. All players slip into the role of heads of one of the noble houses, and try to accumulate wealth and prestige by solving various tasks to determine the upcoming counsellor of the Emperor.

The game has three phases that are executed one after the other. At the beginning of each round dice are rolled with each player choosing one die for the Action Phase. This dice drafting determines where the players can go and what the players can do in that phase. Special abilities can allow a player to use more than one die, but more about that later.


In the Action Phase, players can choose between several options. Depending on the number of spots, the dice can be used to activate the one or other location, that are randomly placed on one of the four quadrants of the board. Each quadrant can be activated by a specific number of spots on the dice. First of all, all of these locations produce resources. Additionally to that, most locations enable the players to do special actions like exchanging resources, taking another die from the supply or summoning a beast. The farm location tile, for example, can be activated by a die with a result of one. The Player claims a wood resource and can summon a beast from the hand cards. Next to direct advantages for the player there are also disadvantages for all opponents (in the form of curses). Anyway, after all players have performed their actions, the round ends with the Refresh Phase.

Nocturion demands the players to choose their dice wisely to achieve maximum effectiveness. On the one hand it is important to strengthen your own house by summoning beasts that can be exhausted to alter the pips on your dice and completing quests. On the other hand the weakening of your opponents (with help of the curses) can also be a clever way to achieve goals.

It is also allowed to save one die and use it together with another one in the next round to get a higher result and thus to have better options including more resources.

Quickly collecting house's heirlooms by discarding the required resources is a another good way to gain more options during your turn. Heirlooms are cards that the players hold in their hands until the requirements are fulfilled and the resources collected. These heirlooms guarantee prestige points and make you valuable in the eyes of the emperor. At the same time, the heirlooms give the player access to quests for even higher reputation and rewards.

During the game, a Season Tracker moves from one location to the next making the output of resources at this location twice as as high as usual.


I learnt that acquiring and using the beasts is very important to win the game. As said, beasts can manipulate dice results and have another special ability like cursing all your opponents. If a player wants to use one the options of his beasts, he or she has to pay the necessary resources and the beast gets exhausted for this round.

Curses are a nasty plague, if you have one. First of all they have negative effects as long as the curse is active, for example that you have to pay more to carry out your actions or that you are not longer allowed to collect new resources. That's why you always should try to get rid of the so-called blood-thirst curse cards as soon as possible. Additionally the curses count as negative prestige (up to seven minus points at the final scoring). So they also can make the difference between victory and defeat.

We had a lot of fun with Nocturion, because the large number of possibilities required strategic planning for each round, while at the same time single actions of your opponents can ruin your strategy. So, a game was never long or boring, and the fight for the supremacy in the empire always kept exciting until the end of the game. In my opinion Nocturion is best played with four players, because then you have the full options and more interaction of your opponents have to be kept in mind while planning your next moves. But I also enjoyed the game with two players very much, not least because of the beautiful and appealing design.

If you are looking for a well illustrated and exciting dice drafting and resource management game with a great story, I can recommend Nocturion to you. And now be ready and help the emperor to rebuild his empire and be the noble house, which will be honoured as the administrator of the capital.


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