“Gnomes come alive at midnight! Quickly forage for toadstools, bump rival gnomes away or dance in the garden in formation. Keep your gnomes unseen between the shifting moonlight by staying in the shadows or keeping still.
Be sneaky or bold, but only one group of gnomes will win the garden for the night.”
Gnomes At Midnight is a simple and quick game by David Van Drunen, for 2 players that takes between 5 and 10 minutes to play.
Set up is simple, you have two boards the you fit beside each other to make up your play area. Your play area is made up of a grid and in each square is either Grass, Tulips, Cobblestone, with toadstools on three of these squares, as well as each players starting positions. A “dance” pattern card is selected for the game as one of the objectives and players start with five Gnomes placed across three of their available starting spots.
Each player takes turns moving a gnome (or two gnomes holding hands) one square at a time, knocking an opponent’s gnome off the board if they their gnome is occupying that spot, then flipping the card on top of their moon deck to reveal the one underneath. These moon cards dictate where the moon is currently shining, and where the gnomes cannot trod. If the card flipped is cobblestone for instance, gnomes will be unable to move to any cobblestone squares and any gnomes on those squares presently are frozen and are unable to move off. Once a player has gone through their deck it is shuffled and used again.
Players are trying to do one of three things; Have a gnome of all three toadstools, knock three opponent gnomes of the board, or have their gnomes on the board in the particular “dance” pattern determined by the card selected at the beginning of the game.
The game play is incredibly simple but has quite a bit of strategic depth especially the more I play it. The play area isn’t very big so you can’t just knock your opponents gnomes out of the way and assume you’re in the clearing to take the toadstools because your opponent can put the gnome back on the board next turn and be within two spaces of you again. For any of the objectives your timing must be right as well as your placement and when you choose to play offensively or defensively.
Having only played a near production quality copy I can’t say too much about the final product but I was able to see the art as well as get a sense of the cards and pieces. The art is beautiful. Kiri Østergaard Leonard is a talented artist with a lot of fantasy art in her portfolio so the game is a perfect fit. The cards that we played with were nice quality and if anything I imagine they would only get better for the final version. The gnome figures were nice little wooden gnome shapes and I was told they are getting bigger for the production copy as well which will be nice. All in all a very nice game.
Jen and I have backed their Kickstarter campaign and eagerly await our copy of the game. We hope you do as well.
For the Parents:
Sexual Content: None.
Horror/Occult: Whatever your thoughts on gnomes and fantasy creatures they are fairly mechanical. There is no magic or anything other than gnomes in your garden.