DC Deck-Building Game: Dark Nights: Metal
Later this year, Dark Nights: Metal will join the DC Deck-Building Game lineup as its next standalone set. Based on the hugely popular comic book series of the same name, Dark Nights: Metal introduces the dire denizens of the Dark Multiverse to the domain of the DC DBG. The set offers plenty of shiny new goodies for players, and we’ll be taking a look at some if its inner workings here.
To start with, if we’re going to talk about Dark Nights: Metal, we need to talk about its most important antagonist: The Batman Who Laughs:
The Batman Who Laughs is a cunning and terrifying foe whose presence can be felt throughout the game. Rather than being represented by a simple card, he takes the form of a special rules tile, changing the way the very game is played. There’s no escaping the reach of The Batman Who Laughs, as he serves as an omnipresent foe for players to contend with.
It may not be apparent at first what his special rules mean. Rescue? Captured? Let’s take a moment to break that all down.
One of the mainstays of the various incarnations of the DC Deck-Building Game are the oversized Character cards. These depict the persona the player is portraying, plus an ability the player can take advantage of as they play. In Dark Nights: Metal, though, players will have the opportunity to play as not just a single Super Hero, but a full-fledged squad.
Players still start with a single Character card as normal, but each time they defeat a Super-Villain (with one big, high-cost exception), they’ll rescue a Character from the clutches of The Batman Who Laughs, adding the chosen Character to their team. You’ll need the added firepower your new recruit brings, since The Batman Who Laughs will saddle the rescuer with two Weaknesses, something that brings a little more peril than usual (more on that later).
In order to accommodate the extra members players will add to their teams, Dark Nights: Metal comes with more Characters than usual. Whereas past standalone releases normally had seven Characters, this set cranks it up to eleven! Not only does this offer a wider variety of starting Characters to try, it also makes for a plethora of combinations once you start mixing and matching the abilities of Characters you rescue.
Now, that explains how you rescue Characters, but how does a Character become Captured in the first place? There are a few different ways. Firstly, The Batman Who Laughs always starts each game with the “normal” Batman Captured, so you’ll have him available as your first rescue. Secondly, if there’s ever no one Captured, The Batman Who Laughs will capture an unused Character. Finally, there’s a third way a Character can become captured, but we’ll go into detail about that in a bit. Before we do, let’s talk about the new crop of Super-Villains: the Dark Knights!
These twisted versions of Bruce Wayne from the Dark Multiverse serve as sinister reflections of the Justice League that players must overcome. Rather than being added to a player’s deck when defeated, these Super-Villains have a Reward effect that the player receives immediately. Afterwards, the Super-Villain is set aside in a separate area known as the score pile, to be scored at the end of the game. These Villains aren’t the only thing that can end up in your score pile though!
As we alluded to before, Weaknesses are more threatening in Dark Nights: Metal. They still gum up your deck and give you negative Victory Points, but if you end up with two of them in the same hand, disaster strikes! You’ll be forced to end your turn, and one of your Characters will be Captured by The Batman Who Laughs. The two Weaknesses will then leave your deck, but one will be moved to your score pile, a lingering reminder of the ally you let fall to darkness.
Remember: Each time you rescue a character, The Batman Who Laughs will gift you with a couple of Weaknesses, so while you triumph in the short term, there’s always the fear that he’ll come to collect in the future. However, players do have a tool of their own to fight against these Weaknesses: Breakthrough.
In Dark Nights: Metal, Breakthrough takes the place normally occupied by Kick: a 3-cost, 2-Power card always available to purchase (unless the stack runs out). Breakthrough has no type and is worth no VPs, but it features an important new ability. Players can cash in a Breakthrough they play to destroy one of their Weaknesses (or Vulnerabilities), hopefully keeping your precious Characters safe and sound. Be careful, though! If you start a turn with two Weaknesses in hand, you’ll be Captured before you get a chance to play anything!
While all of that covers most of the significant gameplay elements unique to this set, there is one more exciting new element of Dark Nights: Metal. The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that The Murder Machine mentions “a Metal card” in his attack. What exactly is a Metal card?
Metal is a new subtype some cards have, which can be identified by the “Metal” tag to the right of the card’s type (“Equipment” in this case). As you can see with both Dionesium’s ability and The Murder Machine’s attack, the Metal subtype can be referenced by other cards and abilities, often giving any Metal cards you get your hands on a little extra oomph.
That’s not the coolest thing about these new Metal cards, though. Each one has been given a gorgeous foil treatment! It’s hard to capture what they actually look like in a picture, but these Metal cards look amazing, and will be sparkling additions to your collection.
Dark Nights: Metal promises to excite, whether you’re a newcomer to DC Deck-Building Game or a seasoned veteran. There are plenty of new cards to explore, and a myriad of Character combinations to experience. Free your comrades, bolster your team, and triumph over darkness!
Matt Dunn is the Co-Designer of DC Deck-Building Game: Dark Nights: Metal