"When the moon flies full precious child o' mine,
Walk not the glade or alley anew,
For the fay find folk unknown true fine,
And steal young lost, for fairies are few."
- Traditional children's rhyme
When the hunter's moon waxes full and fat, the mysterious village of Moonflight emerges from the mist and rime, but the village will melt away with the rising sun so the folk of Moonflight value only that which they can carry in their hands. Moonflight is a 1-4 player oppositional deck builder but it is also a new concept, the deck unbuilder, which allows for extended engine usage and accelerated end game scoring.
The inspiration for Moonflight is a love of the elegance of classic deck builders such as the fantastic Dominion. While the essence of the deck builder is a master class in elegant and effective game mechanics they often leave modern players hungry for a second stage. Once you've built your deck you want to do something with it. Many games have tried to fill this need with varying levels of success by offering battles to be fought, dungeons to be delved and tasks to be fulfilled with those built decks. While this can be, and has been, achieved successfully I feel that these additional stages complicate a system satisfying primarily due to its elegance. As such Moonflight offers a second stage intrinsically linked to the engine formation of a deck builder, the deck unbuilder.
During a game of Moonflight players will take the form of one of the rulers of Moonflight, currently the Jack O' Clay and Bones, the Jack O' Bond and Kind, the Jack O' Cot and Hovel and the Jack O' Words and Names. Each Jack comes with an asymmetric ability and a market place of cards attuned to their personal style and domain, but by vying for power in the open court of Moonflight they offer their opponent the chance to buy their most powerful cards and turn their own acts against them. Players will seek to build an efficient resource generating deck engine tuned to acquire high scoring cards as in most standard deck builders until the market place runs dry. Unlike most standard deck builders however once the market place empties rather than the game ending it Turns. Every card in Moonflight has two distinct versions, one triggered before the Turn, one after. In a game of Moonflight, game end is not triggered by the market place being emptied and decks built but rather by a draw deck being emptied and a deck unbuilt.
Each card is designed to build a deck in its first incarnation and to unbuild or trash in its second. For when the game's end is triggered cards left in a player's deck are useless to them, they will score only what they hold in their hands at that moment. Much of what others covert is useless to the grand dance that is the schemes of the Jacks though and few cards score at all in Moonflight. This means that players will need to purchase cards without value in the final scoring to secure their scoring cards and then carefully plan their sequence of trashing to ensure that they are left with the exact right cards at the exact right time.
Although the game has at heart two simple aims, building and unbuilding, with cards transforming their purpose half way through there is a lot to grapple with. Building with a plan and vision while adjusting to market availability benefits from learning the cards and decks but the cards post turn are designed to play as twisted reflections of their pre-Turn versions. This means that while the game rewards learning and planning for long term gains, so long as you make wise choices in the present you will find a reasonably solid engine built for you in the second part of the game, though if you can pilot it is another question.
Build fast and unbuild with care, take your place in the dance.
The Moon is full. The Flight is on.