DOOM the Boardgame review

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ffg_doom[1]By Daniel Burgess

Greetings all, thanks for taking some time to check out my review of DOOM: The Board Game. I will review each component of the game, in broken down paragraphs and then give my over all opinion on the game.

First and foremost, the miniatures are of excellent quality and sculpt. The detail of every part of the mini’s leave no question that this area of the game is without question one of the best of its genre. This is including the scale ratio of Human like creatures and Player Marines, to the larger “boss” type monsters encountered.

The board tiles and the playing tokens are created from a quality card stock with an excellent finish (I feel the finish offers both, an addition to visual flavour, and some protection from movement and shifting in the box as well as pieces being tapped on them continuously during turns.) Board Tiles are VERY detailed with blood spill and great graphics that really just enhance the gameplay and atmosphere ten fold.

The Invader Card Deck and the Marine Ability Decks are both printed on nice card stock with very nice round corners (OPINION: Square Corners bend easier and eventually become rounded anyway) Great graphics added to each card, helps with the atmosphere!

hell_knight[1]EASE OF PLAY
A Game such as this historically requires a few glances back into the rules book for the first and even sometimes the second play through. In DOOM however, this is minimalized by the reference sheets provided to all players, and a very “at a glance” commonly asked questions page located on the rear of the rule book. This helps because it minimalized the flipping of pages in the rule book and just provided the right direction at quick glance that most of the players needed to refresh their memories.

With that being said, the rule book is NOT a lengthy read by any means, and most of the rules are shared by other games of this genre. One or Two good reads a few hours before playing the game for the first time should set enough into memory to properly enjoy the game at a reasonable pace.

However, with that being said, the amount of potential options that a Marine player has during his turn, accompanied with any tactical discussion going on with other marine players can be, and most of the time is, very overwhelming at first. During my plays with several others, the marine players often found themselves saying, “Oh man, I forgot I could do that, I should have done this instead of what I just did!” however, most of these slip ups of the mind correct themselves after they occur 3 or 4 times. The amount of micro managing ammo and armour and dice, Marine Special Orders (Guard, Aim, Dodge – more on this later) can also lead to some confusion, but these also correct themselves after 3 or 4 turns.

In my opinion this deserves its own category in any game of this genre simply because a bad combat system can make or break a game like this. Take for example Starcraft: The Board Game which used cards for damage with what should have been dice and you will know what I am talking about.
However DOOM excels in this area. Let me explain; Combat in DOOM consists of selecting one of several guns that are obtained throughout the scenario by picking them up (walking a marine over the object) each with its own unique dice combination. The dice combo is a nice twist, the die consist of several green, red, blue or yellow die and instead of numbers show a Bullet, A single digit number, Bullet Holes, and the terrible MISS sign. These symbols can appears on the face of the die in combination with other symbols. For example, a die roll could show a Bullet, number 1 and 3 bullet holes. The Bullet accounts for the expenditure of ammo for that respective gun and all guns sharing that type (Shells, Rockets, Energy Cell) the number 1 shows how many squares the shot travelled (range) and the damage inflicted is shown by bullet holes.

However even if someone rolls 9 bullet holes (this is a great roll!) if the range doesn’t meet the target, the epic damage is wasted. Even still, if the roll consists of any bullet holes and it lands (range meets distance of squares to target) it must be compared against the targets armour score, and then the damage is adjusted accordingly.

This leads to some very intense and interesting combat situations. Do I use the Shotgun, which has a lower range but high damage and risk missing all together? Or do I use the Assault Rifle that is highly accurate but might not penetrate the armor? And then finally, do I have enough Ammo to use said weapon.

That being said: it did take my group 5-10 minutes of discussion to determine what each colour die actually represented; ie: Red is huge damage with low range and a miss (close combat/melee die) Yellow appears to be the sniper type shots (damage and range) Green is pure Range Amplification and Blue appears to be a little mixture. So the reference cards that show die colors will raise the questions of, “Well what does that actually mean to me?” quite a few times until someone starts to figure it out.

DOOM gives players a lot in this field and doesn’t run into the “Super Powered Hero” towards the end of each mission like Decent has a habit of doing. I briefly touched on Marine Special Orders previously.

demon_marine[1]Each marine has several options of attack/move, attack/attack, move/move available to him as well as a “READY” (Attack & Place Order or Move & Place Order) these orders are Guard, Aim and Dodge, which each give the Marine more of an impact over the Luck factor of rolling dice. The Guard ability adds the most in my opinion, it enables the Marine to interrupt the Invader Players turn, at any point, and attack. I like to call this, “An attack of Opportunity” meaning, if the Invader wants to start to rush in and attack, the Marine has an ability that says, “Settle down, cause I can make an attack against someone when im ready, so use caution!” If someone does happen to pull the medic ability for your marine (At the start of the game Each Marine player draws some abilities from the Marine Deck) that marine can ready a Heal Order and heal himself or a friend.

The Weapons as stated above give some serious choice options and tactics, and it doesn’t stop there, the Invader player has a huge array of options for Ambushes, Traps such as “Whenever a Marine picks up equipment, play: Trites lower themselves from the ceiling and close in from all sides” its things like this, that are further expanded on in the expansion that keeps everyone guessing and on edge! Combos between Invaders are very apparent as well, as each monster comes with special powers, such as a Hell Knight hitting with Knockback and Knocking a Marine into a Demon with Watchful (Whenever a Marine moves to an adjacent space, make a free attack immediately). All this leads to awesome and epic battles.

This is the spot I must mention that DOOM has a campaign story line, Marines can continue the game between missions by “Levelling Up” and adding more Health, Armour, buying ammunitions, or at the greatest; Getting an additional Marine Ability from the Marine Deck. Monsters give Experience and it makes for some extra excitement to know that your character IS YOUR character.

DOOM plays in a Crushing 2 hours, so if you have only a small amount of time to play, you will have to play in instalments and leave the board set up somewhere. But like its related games, Decent plays in way more then that at times. So DOOM offers a fair game length, lengthened by the amount of depth the Marines dive into for collecting experience and exploring. Games like Castle Ravenloft offer a more quick dungeon crawl/This is what happens then, pack up, sort of scheme.

DOOM vs. Decent : You have a lot of similarities here, some variations of combat, DOOM has no Spells or magic but in the same respect Decent has no guns or grenades, but its just semantics as far as that’s concerned. DOOM plays in a shorter time frame then Descent does, and I feel the theme for DOOM fits this genre very nicely. Close pick between the two games, Decent goes for a more expensive price tag, Dooms a cheaper grab with less expansions then Descent. This is a close one, I lean towards DOOM.

DOOM vs Castle Ravenloft: I have seen this conversation come up a lot, especially since Castle Ravenloft is getting a lot of attention. I feel that their is honestly no comparison. Castle Ravenloft plays totally different, its a nice game if no one wants to play the monsters ( I guess) or if you want the feel of Dungeons and Dragons in a quick fix, with some shallow game components it really doesn’t compare to the depth that DOOM is dishing out. A turn in Castle Ravenloft consists of moving and attacking -> Explore -> Monster Phase and this never goes in reverse. For Example Moving, Exploring, finding a Monster and then Attacking with remaining action points never can happen in this game. It plays phase to phase to phase, in comparison to DOOM that gives users realistic freedom to choose what happens or effect the outcome other then luck.

DOOM is an excellent game, it is very tactical yet not to deep that casual gamers cant get into it. This is not something for a younger crowd in my opinion, as to get the full effect out of the game it requires some serious thought and tactics. As far as depth, this game is great. I love the ability to affect the Luck factor with some planned moves, as well as the campaign continuation factor. The monsters are VERY varied and this is compounded when the expansion is added to the game as several monsters become available by choice in the expansion. For example if a card says spawn IMP you have the choice between an IMP or a Revenant. Both with unique stats. In conclusion, I am a huge fan of DOOM and the Expansion, I would HIGHLY recommend this game to anyone looking for a nice co-op tactic based dice roller with a touch of luck and some nice creepy atmosphere.

Thanks for reading all
– Mord

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