Shifting Realms: Darkness Revealed Preview

Darkness Revealed is the first expansion released for Shifting Realms from Soaring Rhino Games. In this expansion, two new realms are opened up for players. These two realms introduce some really interesting mechanics that are sure to shake up how you play. Because of the modular nature of the game, you can play with just one or both boards when introducing this expansion.

The Realm of Gehenna

This new realm is a dark land filled with demons and a force that allows players to capture other players on the board. Three new buildings are introduced and this is where most of the new mechanics lie. The Demon Alters are a new building that allows you to sacrifice one of your own scouts on the board in order to gain two resources. When you’re struggling to get the resources you need, dropping a single scout into this alter is a small cost.

Another building that is introduced in Darkness Revealed is the Demon Tomb. This has the biggest effect on the game because it allows the building owner to capture opponents and trap them in the tomb. This was a game changer because it essentially sent the other players running from the realm of Gehenna. If you’re not building a Demon Tomb yourself, chances are that getting further away is a good tactic until you have a strategy from being sucked in by your opponent.

We found this new realm to be a little over powered in a 2-player game but just fine at the other player counts.

The Realm of Knossos

This new land comes with probably the biggest addition to the game by introducing search tiles and labyrinth walls. The search tiles are laid into empty grass spaces in the realm. A player can perform a search by spending an action and 1 magic. These tiles are always positive and rewards are given immediately.

I really connected with the labyrinth walls that are introduced to the game with Knossos. These walls are placed when prompted by a story card or gained through buying a labyrinth. Walls can be placed on the board to block adjacency rules but cannot box in an opponent. I really enjoyed funneling opponents in specific ways or even routing opponents a specific direction using these walls. Like all the realms, three buildings are associated with Knossos. The labyrinth building awards the player 10 points which can be a huge swing in the game. The Maze Junction allows the building owner to collect resources from any adjacent resource locations which is great when you’re short on scouts.

I really liked the additions that the Darkness Revealed expansion introduced. While I connected more with the Knossos realm, I feel like the two realms actually balance one another out really well. When an opponent was making use of the Demon Tomb, the best defense around was building out labyrinth walls to impede their progress.

A big strength in Shifting Realms is the modular nature of this game and it’s even stronger when introducing this expansion. This will give you more to choose from a give the game a different vibe when you pick and choose different realms to play in. Any fans of the game should seriously consider adding this to their collection.

Head over to Kickstarter today and back Shifting Realms: Darkness Revealed now through February 11, 2020.

Soaring Rhino Gaming provided us with a prototype copy of Darkness Revealed prior to their Kickstarter campaign. This in no way influenced our opinion of the game. Previews are a glimpse into an upcoming game with the pros and cons that we experienced prior to production of the game.

Ryan Gutowski

I'm a huge fan of strategy games and pretty much anything that involves "city building". My love of board games goes back to my childhood and passion for building relationships with others.

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