“If the legends are true, deep in the forest you might encounter Shadowlings, mysterious creatures who live in total darkness and have never been seen in the light. Each night, the Seeker searches the forest with a lantern hoping to prove that they truly exist. But the elusive Shadowlings have many places to hide, and work together to avoid the Lantern’s light. Will they finally be discovered tonight?”
Shadows In The Forest is a board game for 2-7 players, ages 8 to adult. One plays as the Seeker, and the rest control the Shadowlings. Featuring an LED lantern as the game piece for the Seeker and glow in the dark dice, Shadows In The Forest is meant to be played in the dark.
Don’t let the age suggestion fool you. Shadows In The Forest actually is great for all ages. It has a simple rule set, but there is a sense of strategy involved, especially if you are a Darkling player.
As a horror fan as well as the father to a young boy, I found that this is a great game to play with kids. With the lights off and nothing but the glow of the lantern to see with, it sets a great atmosphere for children looking for something on the spooky side without it being outright scary.
The gameplay for Shadows in the Forest is fairly simple. The Seeker uses the glow in the dark dice to move the lantern along the stone path through the dark forest, looking for the Darklings. Any Darkling caught in the light is frozen until another Darkling saves it by coming in contact with it. The goal of the Seeker is to find and freeze all of the Darklings. The Darklings can hide between the 3D trees, rocks and stumps, moving from one hiding place to the next, keeping to the shadows. The goal of the Darklings is to get all them together in one area and remain unfrozen, but they cannot move through even the tiniest sliver of light from the lantern, always using the forest as cover. During their turn, the Seeker is supposed to close their eyes or look away.
Shadows in the Forest looks fantastic in the lighting created by the lantern. The glow in the dark dice are easy to read and add to the aesthetic. My only issue is that it can be difficult to see your Darklings, so you may need a light handy when it comes to your turn to move them. The rules are simple enough, so you don’t have to worry about referring back to them in the dark. It’s basically hide and seek in the dark as a board game.
The gameplay allows you to choose how many Darklings you want to ,use, with a minimum of 3 and maximum of 6. When playing with three or four, it felt well paced and, dare I say… intense. As the Seeker, I could tell whether I was close or not by the amount of giggling from the children I was playing with. But that aside, the Darklings are hard to spot in the dark. There were a few times when I could see their little white masks, even when they were safe from the lantern, but not often. As for the Darklings’ side of playing, it can be quite easy to allow them to become trapped with every direction blocked by light that has found its way past the trees and boulders, but never to the point of frustration.
The more Darklings you add, however, can make the game take drastically longer as they flit through the shadows and unfreeze one another while the Seeker is moving toward the opposite end of the board looking for the final one or two still hiding. It almost feels like the two Kings in a Chess match, keeping each other at bay. This is what can be the biggest downside for adult players, although the kids didn’t seem to mind at all. In fact, I think they would be perfectly fine if the game lasted several hours, they were enjoying it so much.
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The kids loved it, and it was surprisingly fun for the adults as well. Just be mindful of how many Darklings you use if you don’t want a long game of mostly circling each other.
So turn off the lights, pull the shades, turn on the lantern and take a walk through the Shadows In The Forest.