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Subject: Doom: 4 players, no finish, great fun! rss

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Bob Wilson
United States
Northampton
Massachusetts
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DOOM

- Game: "Doom: The Boardgame" (without expansions)

- Variant: Official FFG Mod, "Difficulty Settings", which are (named exactly as in the original Doom video game):

* Nightmare (Most Difficult for the Marines)
* Ultra-Violence
* Hurt Me Plenty (Standard, game as orginally written before mods)
* Hey, Not Too Rough (Our choice for this session)
* I’m Too Young to Die! (Easiest for the Marines)


Our choice being Hey, Not Too Rough meant that Marines receive 2 extra
wounds and 2 extra shells/bullets ammo. In addition, the invader player's
maximum hand size is reduced to 7 (from 8). Since we were playing with three Marines, this meant each Marine started with 10 wound markers, 4 gun ammo, and 2 armor each.

I had read all the reviews mentioning the lack of sufficient ammo, and had a good gaming friend mention the same problem, so the group took my suggestion to go with the "official" mod, one step towards the Marines' favor on the nastiness scale.

- Scenario: Online Scenario I, Blood in the Shadows (This is Fantasy Flight Games' first posted scenario beyond those included with the base game. It is described as being shorter than the standard scenarios... and still it took us a looooong time with four players and the need to learn the game, too. And we didn't finish!)

- Level of "Doom: The Boardgame" Player Experience: None of us had every played it before, and only the Red Marine (me) had read-through the Official Rules when we began. Very little teaching of the game occurred (and I'm not a great rule instructor, anyway). We did make A LOT of use of quick-reference sheets ("Doom.pdf") thumbsup (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/fileinfo.php?fileid=8231) posted by BGG user UniversalHead (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/user/UniversalHead). Two thumbs up, way up on these!! thumbsup

Additionally, the Invading Player (Owen) had played a lot of "Space Hulk" back-in-the-day, so the similarities to Doom were helpful. Each of us was an experienced gamer overall, and each had played the Doom video game at least once.

- Marine Cards (Individual Extra Abilities):
* Blue [Dan): Ground Assault, Tactician
* Green (Kiri): Killer Instinct, Special Ops
* Red (Bob): Recon, Special Ops
More about the Marines abilities below...

- Playing Time: 4+ hours, left unfinished with approximately 65% of the scenario completed (we had to quit early, as the store, and thus our gaming space, was already closed co-owner Michael was gracious enough to a.) bow-out to allow four of us to play, and b.) let us stay 15 minutes over). Definitely, Doom takes a long time to play.

- How We Learned to Love the Bomb (well, Shotgun / "It's a Trap!", actually):
Player-by-player...

... I... ... P... ... Freely? "IP" or Invading Player:
The Invading Player got right into the evil-spirit of things. He seemed to relish the dramatic hallway reveals, "flavor text" reads, and springing traps on us. Since he had never played before, at first it seemed to him he would have a regular supply of Spawn cards. That was true, for a while, and then he hit a dry-spell in the deck. Near the end of our session, that reversed, and there wasn't an event card to be found. At one point, he had 7 Spawn cards and zero Event cards!! (This deck was shuffled twice, once each by two different players.)

We were all in agreement, that the Mod's reduction of his hand limit from 8 to 7 had little or no effect on the game.

When the session finished due to time constraints, the IP had collected 2 Wound markers from out-and-out Frags, and was nearing the time for a reshuffle (perhaps a dozen cards left in the deck). The scenario called for him to collect 5 total, so he was 2/5ths of the way there, with another one soon coming. This, with maybe another 35% of the scenario map left for us to explore.

BBB Blue Marine:
Blue was first in the turn-order, and had an intersting combination of Marine Cards:

Quote:
Tactician: When you choose to Ready, you may both move and attack. You may then place your order on another marine instead of yourself. You may not place an order on a marine that already has one.


This gave him "extra actions" so-to-speak, and in combination with his other card, a lot of choices to make in terms of action selection:

Quote:
Ground Assault: When you choose to Unload, you may move 2 spaces and attack three times instead of twice.


He was the first to be Fragged (only once by session-end), but after re-spawning, soon collected more armor than the rest of us (at end-of-session he was at "4")... we nicknamed him "the tank" and let him lead our charges. Dan (Blue) was the right man for the job with his well-thought-out decisions.

GGG Green Marine:
Green was second in the turn-order, and had a very deadly, offensively-oriented combination of Marine Cards:

Quote:
Killer Instinct: Immediately after you kill an invader during your turn, you may move an extra 4 spaces and make one extra attack. You may only use this ability once per turn.


His other card:

Quote:
Special Ops: When you use a weapon that rolls a red die (including your fist), it gains --- zombiezombie --- (ed: where each BGG zombie emoticon equals a skull symbol on the card in Doom, equalling +2 for damage)


Red die-using weapons include the Fist and the Shotgun... we got a Shotgun early-on (in fact we shared it by passing it back and forth for a little while), then Green took to using it exclusively.

The two cards in combination were very impressively used by Kiri (Green). He would go after a target in great blood-lust, just to gain the extra actions afforded by Killer Instinct. Since "fisting" was a viable option due to Special Ops, this often involved walking right-up to large monsters and smashing them in the face, then having killed them, advancing to the next target and unleashing "a shotgun-blast to the dome"! Yes, terms like "fisting" and "unload into..." added a bit of snickering... which was all part of the fun.

Green had not yet been Fragged when the session ended.


RRR Red Marine:
Of the three Marines, Red's Marine Cards had the least potential from their combination. The stronger card by far was:

Quote:
Special Ops: When you use a weapon that rolls a red die (including your fist), it gains --- zombiezombie --- (ed: where each BGG zombie emoticon equals a skull symbol on the card in Doom, equalling +2 for damage)


The much weaker card, at least as we thought at the time:

Quote:
Recon: When moving, you may move through enemy figures and blocking obstacles (but not closed doors). You must still end your movement in an empty space.


Since I was playing the Red Marine, only I had read the card. Only now, as I'm writing this session report, do I notice that it would have allowed me to pass some Obstacles (non-damaging type) that were crucial to the Invading Player's strategy in one of the main corridors. Doh!!! Next time...

Red was the second to be Fragged (only once by session-end).

- Our Doom Session in Summary:
None of us were sure of what to expect, but man-o-man, did we have fun!

The game does take a long time. I think we would have shaved an hour off if we were as familiar with the rules at the start of the game as we are now. Even though we ended our session early, we couldn't stop the "post game talk", and I think would each gladly play it again. All this is quite a lot to say, since we didn't even finish! No resolution for anyone involved... can you say "Unload"???? shake

The rules were not very comlicated comapared to many games this group plays. Luckily, Green (Kiri) had a lot of experience with line-of-sight rules... even the FFG F.A.Q. for Doom do little to help with line-of-sight... what we would have needed without Kiri's help is a bunch more example diagrams.

The playing aids we used help very much. FFG would do well to create a player aide, especially one that is a "graphics look-up"... to see what icon is what piece of equipment/special monster power/etc.

A lot of tactical and even strategic decisions to be made, and the components are A++++. The cards are a little flimsy, but not critically so. MORE than made-up for in the quality of the tokens, figures and map pieces.

I highly recommend this game.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
(Especially if you can buy it for $12.99 after-taxes in the Barnes & Noble clearance-orgy like I did!!)


 
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