03 May 2018
Nyctophobia named after fear of the dark and inspired by designer’s blind uncle
There are plenty of board games out there that simulate the inability to see, from revealing tiles to drawing random cards. But what about a game where you actually can’t see, because you’re blindfolded – for real?
Nyctophobia is that game. And if its name – which means ‘fear of the dark’ – and inventive premise isn’t enough to have you feeling slightly nervous, you should know that while you’re blindfolded you’ll be trying to escape an axe-murderer. At least that bit’s not for real – but it’ll feel it.
Behind the original design is creator Catherine Stippel, who was inspired to create Nyctophobia after searching for tabletop games she could play with her blind uncle.
All of the players except one are blindfolded, with the player who can still see taking on the role of the hunter trying to chase down those left in the dark. The game uses a tactile board arranged into a maze of sorts, which the blinded players must feel their way around to try and find a way out, using memory and communication to get a sense of their surroundings. The aim is to get to a car and survive until the police arrive, avoiding one of the group being killed.
The players can instead be hunted by a mage, who has the ability to rotate the map, move trees and confuse the players they’re tracking, a more tricksy approach than the axe-murderer’s rampage through the forest.
As well as the standard game, known as Nyctophobia: The Hunted, publisher Pandasaurus is also releasing a different edition, currently exclusive to US supermarket chain Target, called Nyctophobia: Vampire Encounter. More than just a reskin, Vampire Encounter introduces the need to rescue a kidnapped character and lead them out of the woods, with different powers for the hunter.
Nyctophobia will be out this August, heading to shops after a launch at Gen Con.