Note: This preview uses pre-release, prototype components and rules. The components you see here do not represent the final, published game.
For quite a while, Vampires were all the rage. Thanks to Twilight, V-larps and movies like Interview with a Vampire, these denizens of the night dominated pop culture. However, since that time, the vampire has taken a back seat on our tabletops to the zombie. Is it time for the vampires to make a resurgence? Quite possibly.
Today we are going to be looking at Bite Nite. Now in funding on Kickstarter, Bite Nite is a game where each player takes on the role of a vampire seeking supremacy among its brethren of the night. So let’s dive in and see if it would be a game for you to back.
Bite Nite is played out over a series of 3 nights in which players are competing to bite the most influential victims in the city. However, being vampires, they are not content to just let their rivals go about their business. Players will be using action cards to not only advance their position in the game, but also hinder their opponents. At the end of the third night, whichever player has the most points will take their place along side Dracula to rule the city.
How to Play:
Bite Nite is actually a fairly easy game to pick up and start playing. To setup the game, players first shuffle the two game decks: Victim Cards and Power Cards.
Four cards are then drawn from the victim deck and secretly shuffled with the Dracula card. These five cards are then placed, face down, in the masquerade area. Then, 4 victim cards are placed face up in each of the city’s four areas (Holy Ground, Castle, Streets and Slums).
The werewolf is then placed on the tracker space that equals the number of players. Finally, each player draws a hand of 4 power cards.
Bite Nite is played out over a series of rounds, with each player taking a turn in a clockwise manner. A player’s turn has 6 steps:
- Move the Werewolf: If the werewolf is not in the city, it moves to the next space on the tracker. If the werewolf is in the city, the player moves it to the closest victim, who is then discarded. In case of a tie for closest, the player decides which victim to savage.
- Move Van Helsing (only if he is in play): If Van Helsing is in a player’s crypt, the player moves him to another player’s crypt, discarding one of that player’s victim cards.
- Draw a power card
- Play a Power card (optional): These action cards will affect the game in various ways. They range from one time use powers to permanent effects that stay on the table.
- Bite a victim: A player may only normally bite victims in the slums. To bite in any of the other three areas, the player needs a power card in play that allows them to access those areas.
To bite a victim, the player chooses any victim card in an accessible area and places it in their crypt if its power is 4 or less. To bite a victim of power 5 or higher, the player must roll higher on a 8-sided die.
If a player can’t bite a victim in the city, then they MUST choose a victim from the masquerade to bite. If the player happens to choose Dracula, they are penalized and lose a random card from their crypt.
- Clean-up: Discard down to five cards.
Once all the victims in the city have been bitten or savaged, the night ends. A new night is set up just like the first night. After 3 nights have been concluded, the game ends and the player with the most points worth of victim cards wins.
While I’ve never been a huge fan of Vampires as a theme, I think it works pretty well for Bite Nite. Thematically, it makes sense with what you are doing. Players are trying to amass the most powerful collection of victims to impress Dracula. So they spend three nights in the city showing each other up.
And the fact that the power cards allow you to mess with your opponents helps reinforce that theme. Because you know vampires wouldn’t sit idly by and let their opponents’ get the upper hand. Vampire literature is full of stories about their political machinations and underhanded plots.
The game play of Bite Nite actually reminded me a bit of the old card game Guillotine. From collecting victims to using power cards to affect your choices, Bite Nite felt like a version of Guillotine with a bit more depth, which is a good thing.
I also liked how many of the victim cards had special abilities or were worth negative points. This helped keep the game from growing stale if players simple had to select the highest point cards. The negative victims allowed for a bit of cat and mouse games near the end of a night as you tried to maneuver the game to force your opponent to collect those. More than once I would play an action card to let me skip taking a victim in the hopes of forcing my opponent to collect that negative VP victim card.
Speaking of which, Bite Nite does have a healthy does of “Take That”. You’ll be stealing cards from your opponent, canceling their power cards and messing with them in other ways. While the game isn’t outright mean, it does have a good amount of player interaction, which I liked. But if you have a timid personality, be forewarned. You can’t be afraid to attack your opponents if you hope to win Bite Nite.
Finally, I thought that the player scaling worked well in Bite Night. Turns tend to go by pretty quickly, so even at the four player count, the downtime was minimal. The werewolf also helped keep the nights moving quickly as he gobbles up a victim each turn.
Speaking of the werewolf, I thought that was a really interesting mechanic. Players can use him to remove cards they don’t want from the game, or even ones they know the other players DO want.
Despite my apprehensions about a game with a Vampire theme, we ended up enjoying Bite Nite. The game is fairly light, so it’s quite easy to get to the table. The werewolf mechanic was a great idea and it helps keep the game’s pace moving along quickly. While the game play isn’t ground breaking, it does have some solid mechanics and makes for a good light game.
If you are a fan of the “Take That” genre of games, then you should definitely check out the Bite Nite Kickstarter campaign. Publisher 4Tips has put together a fun little game here and I’m sure it will only improve with further refinement and polish as it nears production.
Bite Nite is now in funding on Kickstarter, so head over to their campaign page for more information and to see the actual game components.
As always, we don’t post ratings for preview copies as the components and rules may change from the final game. Check back with us after the game is produced for a full review. This post was a paid preview, you can find out more information here.