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Ghost Review: Shadowrift: Eve of the Sickle Moon

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Guest Writer: Christopher Bishop

Box art for Shadow Rift: Even of the Sickle Moon

Box art for Shadow Rift: Even of the Sickle Moon © Game Salute

Eve of the sickle moon is an expansion produced by Jeremy Anderson for Shadowrift.  It adds in two new monster factions to traumatize the poor beleaguered citizens of New Haven, and with these new factions come new perils the intrepid heroes will have to resolve.  The new factions are the Lycanthropes and the Harrowood.

Lycanthropes, as to be expected, are not just werewolves.  They come in all forms from Weretiger to Wererat even a Wereox!  These primal beasts will try to infiltrate your town and bite the poor villagers, effectively making them Lycanthropes as well and reducing the amount of untainted villagers within your city.  Run out of healthy normal citizens the Lycanthropes win.  Lycanthropes also get more powerful when a full moon arises.  It is worth mentioning that for whatever reason there are two different versions of the lycanthropes that were printed.  The more common and most recent change, went from 2 wererats and 2 wereoxes to 3 wererats and 1 wereox.  Mechanically this does not change much but it is worth noting.

The Harrowood are an angry faction of druids and primalists, twisted mentally by the Shadowrifts, that see the town as a plague that constantly abuses the resources of nature.  As such they want to see it destroyed.  The Harrowood cause your town to become overgrown, which further speeds it towards the path of destruction.

The players get a few goodies as well though to help them in their fight against evil which will be explained in more detail below.

Whats in the box?

  • Lycanthropes:
     The Lycanthropes specific cards (I ran out of sleeves)

    The Lycanthropes specific cards (I ran out of sleeves) Photo by Christopher Bishop

    • Werewolf x3
    • Werewolf Alpha x1
    • Wererat x3
    • Weretiger x2
    • Wereox x1
    • Werebear x2
    • Werefox x2
    • Wereboar x2
    • Blood Moon x2
    • Wereraven x2
    • Full Moon x1
    • Bite x10
  • Harrowwood:
    • Willow Hag x2
    • Thorn Knight x2
    • Spore Pixies x3
    • Wormwood Druid x2
    • The Harrow x1
    • Full Bloom x2
      The Harrowood

      The Harrowood Photo by Christopher Bishop

    • Alraune x2
    • Oaken Troll x2
    • Green Behemoth x2
    • Mandragora x2
    • Overgrowth x5
  • Town Cards:
    • Tanglewood Rampart (Wall)
    • Fisherman
    • Trader
    • Herbalist (Traveler)
  • Hero Cards:
  • Scrying shard x6 (Loot)
  • Blossoming Staff x6 (Loot)
  • Form of Wind x6 (Skills)
  • Noxious Cloud x6 (Skills)
  • Raging Inferno x6 (Actions) The Harrowood
  • Ritual Cut x6 (Attacks)
  • Stance of Stone x6 (Actions)
  • Bountiful Harvest x6 (Actions)

There is not a rulebook provided but, two new dividers are included with a few special rules listed on each divider for the unique faction it represents.  As this is an expansion, there are no actual changes to the core rules simply expansions or new ideas consistent with the theme of the 2 new factions.

What makes it so much fun?

This expansion adds a few new layers to things.  The mechanics behind the Lycanthropes provide an interesting edge to worry about, in that much like the zombies, having villagers get bit means having one of your protected resources become a detriment to the players instead.  Doing your best to protect the villagers still may not be enough and if a Full Moon card comes into play prepare for some white knuckle decision making.   Full moons allow for creatures to activate additional abilities surrounding this event.

The Harrowood have their own unique power sets but you are also constantly trying to prevent overgrowth from occurring.  A good part of this expansion seems to be based around trying to shutdown monster abilities before things get really ugly for New Haven.  Add to this some really interesting Spells and attacks that have been added to the mix and it certainly makes for its own flavored play-through of Shadowrift.

The Hero Cards offer more dynamic ways to take out your monsters.  Scrying Shard lets you preview your traveler deck and move the top two around to suit your tastes.  Blossoming Staff lets you remove afflictions and customize your decks to avoid them altogether.  Stance of Stone helps you protect against afflictions and gives you a damage bonus if you have a wall in place.  Raging Inferno allows you to deal out 2 melee damage but the real treat to this card is that if you have affliction cards in your hand it also adds 1 damage per affliction card to all monsters.  A little strategy and a willing victim can turn this into a townsaver.  Bountiful Harvest applies various benefits dependent upon the cards in play such as removing wounds or hiring travelers, and allows for the extra drawing of cards as well for all heroes that meet the criteria.  Ritual Cut deals a melee 1 damage unless a sage is in play in which it becomes a ranged attack.  It also triggers a magic boost for other players if that hero plays a spell with a boost.  Form of Wind protects you from gaining afflictions while causing all your attacks to only deal 1 melee damage.  You also get to heal a wound once per round while it is in effect so it reduces your damage but gives the trade off of healing and protecting you.  Lastly, but certainly not least, Noxious Cloud allows you to add 1 damage to all monsters in spaces 2 and 3 and gives you the option of spending magic boosts to deal additional damage to any monster.

Is it worth the price?

You can pickup Shadowrift:Eve of the Sickle Moon for around $20.00 depending on the retailer.  The expansion does provide new monster factions, 48 new hero cards 3 new villager types and wall to add to the mix but there is one glaring issue with adding all these new items.  Because there is no instruction booklet there are a lot of questions left for players that thus far have only been answered via FAQ’s or gamers posting directly to board game message boards.  I do think it is awesome the developer cares enough about their product that they follow these queries (It is actually the game creator himself responding most of the time!) but all this could have been resolved with a simple sheet going over the various uses of the cards.

The biggest unresolved issue I had trouble figuring out was if I could just mix the new hero cards in with the original Shadowrift or if they needed to be kept separate for expansion specific games.  I did manage to find an answer by sleuthing around the internet, but even then there were clarifications that still seemed a little shaky.  Overall, nothing is so confusing that it breaks the game or invalidates the expansion but it definitely feels a bit rushed.

I can say at the time of this review we have played Shadowrift with Eve of the Sickle Moon twice now using both factions each time.  The Harrowood went very smoothly with no hangups but the Lycanthropes did leave us with several questions such as bite mechanics and full moon effects.  We were able to find the answers but if you pick up this expansion expect to do some hunting for rules clarifications.  The artwork is top notch and I have zero complaints about the quality of the cards themselves.  If you like Shadowrift you are sure to like this expansion as well.

Until next time,

Keep Rolling them Bones

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