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Subject: The most memorable game ending I have ever experienced. rss

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Paul DeStefano
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Knee Deep In The Dead
Debriefing. Fast forward to the ending. Daddy and Spencer(6).

Easiest Mod. 12 wounds. All weapons come with ammo. Infinite Pistol Ammo. Single Marine (this startled him, as he's used to Nin-Gonost or Space Crusade, where you control a small squad. He thought this would be boring.)

Spencer’s Marine was dealt 4 skills and he chose 3. Killer Instinct. Prepared. Scout. A highly mobile marine, traversing huge spans of board easily.

Frag one: Hell Knight and Mancubus spawned right after each other. Mancubus killed. Hell Knight survives, tears marine to small morsels.
Frag two: Respawned with less armor, the very same Hell Knight makes paste of the marine as several zombies shamble in to create problems.
Frag three: A trite, of all things, after fighting an archvile and his imp cronies.
Frag four: Over powered by a crowd of zombies and another archvile.

Four frags down. Two to go. Nearing the end of the level, and he knows it. Enters the final hall. Takes some damage. Does more damage.

Final room.

There’s the door. The exit. There’s two Hell knights in the way and a few minor cronies. Weapons blaze. Dark energies heal the creatures. Exit blocked. A plasma gun is grabbed. Several creatures are blown away. Several more spawn. Ammo burned.

One wound left. Two frags to go. Two hell knights and an imp right there. Run for the healing? No. Take the death like a man. The extra 3 wounds healed won’t last more than a turn.

Frag by a Hell Knight. 1 remains.

Respawn. On board: Two hell knighs. Unwounded. Ammo: ONE box of shells, ONE energy cell.

Spencer shakes his head. For four days we have been pounding through this scenario. “I’m not gonna make it.” His voice begins to quaver.

A door slams shut, blocking the Marine’s easy escape route as two imps spawn. The Hell knights lumber towards the fresh meat.

The Marine runs in and shotguns the two imps. They’re toast. Machine gun blazes and he retreats, wounding the slow Hell knight.

No more shells remain. A single energy cell is all.

Zombies spawn. The way to the exit is blocked.

The marine retreats. There’s a door behind him to a room he’s never been to. He doesn’t dare open it. Fire the plasma at the hell knight.

Miss. Out of ammo. Totally.

Spencer’s lip begins to tremble. He can SEE the winning exit. One frag remains. A chainsaw and a pistol.

“I can’t make it,” he whispers, looking as 2 zombies and a Hell knight bear down on him, a second wounded hell knight right behind.

“Think it through,” I urge carefully.

He looks at his weapons chart and runs into the midst of the horde, chainsaw swinging wildly, with many sound effects.

Zombies and Hell knight all take wounds. They attack. The hellknight and one zombie miss. The other scores some damage. A low long “nooooo-oooo” issues from Spencer as his eyes tear up. He looks to leave the game table, but knows I will not allow quitting.

“Attack twice. Chainsaw again,” he declares.

Red X. Nothing.

Next swing is solid. Two zombies cleaved in two, hell knight wounded. Killer Instinct card is in play. He swings the chainsaw again.

Hell knight killed.

One wounded Hell Knight on the table. Trites spawn, attack and score hits.

“I can’t do it,” he whines.

Chainsaw. Pistol. Run. Chainsaw. Two trites killed. Hell knight has one wound remaining. Marine has 8. No ammo.

“Spencer, do you remember the other way I score frags?”

“No?” he asks in fear.

“When I run out of cards. You have three turns before I win.”

The look of pitiful horror on his face is heart wrenching.
Hell knight scores three damage to Spencer’s anguished screams as he pounds the table. I will not cheat to let him win and already I am trying to figure how to make him feel better if he is beaten after all of this.

Chainsaw destroys the hell knight.

A demon spawns between him and the exit.

2 turns remain until I win.

He runs into the final room, grabs a healing, bringing him to 8 wounds. A Mancubus appears in the hall behind and Spencer begins to tremble.

“I have no ammo! I can’t do this!” At six years old, it doesn’t occur to him that the mancubus is so far away that it is all but an empty threat.

He fires his puny pistol and misses the demon.

Last Turn. Another mancubus spawns.

Eight wounds remain. Last turn to the last frag point. A demon and two mancubi bearing down on the bloody and beaten marine as he lurches towards the exit, ammoless, with only a chainsaw and pistol.

The demon snaps at him as he swipes the keycard and escapes to win.

Spencer could take no more. Tears run down his face and he’s shaking. He runs to lie down on the couch and tears of fear and joy and pressure overcome him in relief.

I tell him, in all honest truth, that that may have been the most amazing ending to any game I have ever played in my life.

After a few minutes to regain his composure and the ability to stand again, he comes to hear the kill point totals.

60. Exactly.

He weighs the options: go in fully healed with 2 pieces of ammo, or gain that third permanent armor point. He asks my opinion. Truthfully, I tell him ammo and wounds come and go, but armor is extremely powerful in this game.

He chooses the armor.

Mommy gets a full detailed report from him as soon as she gets home.

That was last night. This morning, as soon as he was awake, he asked if I set up the start room for the next scenario.

Not yet. Tonight, after dinner. Scenario 2. 8 wounds remain, no ammo, 3 points of armor.
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Wot!
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I want this game!!!! cry

... excuse me, I must leave now, my nurse has come to give me my medication... gulp
 
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Dane Peacock
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This reminds me once again why I feel sorry for those poor individuals who are overly concerned with imbalance and other perceived negatives that they miss out on some of the really special, intangible experiences in gaming.
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Paul DeStefano
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Sky Knight X wrote:
This reminds me once again why I feel sorry for those poor individuals who are overly concerned with imbalance and other perceived negatives that they miss out on some of the really special, intangible experiences in gaming.


Imbalance? OK, we played on the wimpiest level, but THE KID IS 6!

Balanced down to the last ammo and last card draw. He's got a fair deal of gaming below his belt, but HE'S 6. I have to believe that older players out there can play on tougher skill levels and not be slaughtered.
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Bobb Beauchamp
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Yow. On the one hand, I have to wonder if that wasn't too intense for a 6 year old. But he sounds like a trooper...has he lost before, and how did you deal with his reaction? Partly why I ask is because I'm going to be facing when to start introducing my own son to some of the games we play....not Doom (not yet, anyway) but Descent and Runebound, among others...and one of my concerns is how well he'll handle defeat. I know his mother doesn't do well with it, and I'm a little concerned that he'll pick up from her that winning is more important than playing. That, and I don't know if I'd be able to keep myself from helping him win if he were to tear up like that.

On the other hand, I think it's fantastic that you can share in this with your son. I grew up playing my dad's and brother's games...I think my first Rail Baron game was probably around the age of 6...and I know how much they helped me with reading, math, social interaction, strategy and planning. I remember losing a lot, which probably helped me develop my love for just playing the game, win or lose.

And I love how he was asking to play again so soon. Fantastic. I hope that I can enjoy that kind of a bond with my own kids soon. arrrh
 
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Jon Y.
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I must say that this was quite the heartwrenching read. I mean I could feel the anguish in both you and Spencer as the game went along even though I knew (based on the title) that the ending was most likely a good one. Not only a good tale to have told, but told very well. I was hanging on every word - well done. =)

 
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Paul DeStefano
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kingbobb wrote:
has he lost before, and how did you deal with his reaction?


Sometimes he loses. Sometimes he doesn't want to play that game again because he loses. Sometimes he asks for a rematch. He has to learn to lose.

Once he began to get teary, I made sure every die roll was on the table and totalled by him, so I could not fudge it. It was my only way to keep from cheating for him.
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Barry Figgins
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That really is awesome. The kid's going to be a great gamer. My niece is 9 now, and the most advanced games she'll play are Scene It and Jumanji. And there she cheats, and doesn't read the rules, and doesn't listen when I explain.
 
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Travis Hall
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Geosphere wrote:
Balanced down to the last ammo and last card draw. He's got a fair deal of gaming below his belt, but HE'S 6. I have to believe that older players out there can play on tougher skill levels and not be slaughtered.

He was a single marine. The game seems, to me, pretty well balanced with a single marine.

With more marines, I do think there is an imbalance. It's just that there isn't enough ammo around to kill the extra monsters. (You said "Balanced down to the last ammo" - well, imagine the game with double the monsters and no extra ammo.) But it isn't a big deal, and it is a scenario design problem, not a rules problem. You just put some extra ammo on the board, and it seems pretty well balanced again. I am in the process of revising the standard scenarios to re-balance the ammo.
 
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Ava Jarvis
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Very nice session report! I think the kid is going to turn out well (learn how to lose... if only more kids learned that).

MrSkeletor wrote:

I think the 'imbalance' problem really arose from the shock that this was a competetive game - people are use to the dungeon master holding your hand through the level.


Wow. They had very nice dungeon masters then....
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Seth Lustig
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Geosphere wrote:
Sky Knight X wrote:
This reminds me once again why I feel sorry for those poor individuals who are overly concerned with imbalance and other perceived negatives that they miss out on some of the really special, intangible experiences in gaming.


Imbalance? OK, we played on the wimpiest level, but THE KID IS 6!

Balanced down to the last ammo and last card draw. He's got a fair deal of gaming below his belt, but HE'S 6. I have to believe that older players out there can play on tougher skill levels and not be slaughtered.


I think Sky Knight X was stating that balance issues were not important here. That there was a real great time that didn't have anything to do with fairness and number crunching the rules. That you were having the best game ever regardless of all that yammering.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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Seth, I was agreeing with Dane, just expounding on his points.
 
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Mike Hill
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this is great.
 
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Cole Rak-Banville
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I think the ammo is fine for a 3 player game. IF you have ammo issues its because you dont know how to manage. The marines have a HUGE advantage with the special trait cards. I recall when my gf had the "special Ops" card (do +2 damage on red dice). She was 1 shooting zombies with fists and no ammo used. You lack strategy if you are running out of ammo in a 3 player game.
 
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