Originally posted (with photos!) at Board Game Reviews by Josh
Assault on Doomrock, designed by Tom Stasiak, is a game currently seeking funding on IndieGoGo. It is a fantasy themed cooperative game that combines a ton of great features and mechanisms. It has players assuming the roles of heroes (that have some rather interesting and comedic traits) who are traveling to the titular Doomrock to fight and defeat the big bad. It does a lot of neat things and really aggressively trims the "fat" from what has become the prevailing model for these types of "dungeon crawl-y" games.
Gameplay in Assault on Doomrock is split up into two distinct parts. First, heroes will have to make choices about how best to spend their time exploring and encountering the randomly generated locations of adventure mode in order to visit shops, gather gear, and level up. There will always be three areas available for the players to travel to.
Each area card will have several locations the players can encounter for a variety of effects, some positive and some negative. Most actions players take during this phase of the game will cost a certain number of time units, which the players need to spend wisely - because once these are depleted, the heroes will have to enter combat with enemies.
Combat in Doomrock is done with dice, but not in the traditional way. Each hero will have ability cards which can be activated with specific dice. Before each combat round begins, each player will roll their dice and assign them to corresponding ability cards. Once combat proper begins, each hero will be able to activate each ability once for every die she had previously placed on her hero's ability cards.
Combat in Doomrock is different from what one might expect from a fantasy game in another way - tactical positioning and movement is very abstracted. Heroes and monsters are represented on the field of battle by cardboard discs. These discs are either adjacent to each other or they aren't (distant). Heroes and monsters can use melee attacks on enemies adjacent to them, and ranged attacks on enemies who are distant from them.
I had a lot of fun playing Assault on Doomrock. The art is fantastic and beautiful, and I really like how it is set in a fantasy world with the familiar structure that provides, but Tom has put a very funny twist on everything in his take on traditional fantasy that I find delightful.
I also really like how Tom has separated the two parts of the game, the adventure phase and the battle phase. The adventure phase feels much more like a traditional "euro" co-op game, where players are working against the clock to try to find all the benefits they can while avoiding the unavoidable negative events.
Combat in Doomrock is much more simplified than in similar games, but no less interesting. The fun part in pretty much any tactical combat game of this kind is gaining new abilities, and then getting to use those abilities in unique ways. Rarely is the "OK I have 5 movement, and I can go here, or here...or here..." part where very much of the fun lies. Doomrock cuts all of that out, and lets players focus on collaborating to assign and use their dice most effectively.
One thing I didn't mention about the game is that there is no board. In fact, everything that isn't a token in this game is a card, so while set-up does take a little bit of time, the game has plenty of randomized elements involved in set-up, so there are likely millions of possible variations this game could take each time it is played.
Doomrock is a really fun game, and while I mentioned it does abstract out a lot, it remains a very solid, very engaging and involved cooperative game that will take a lot of teamwork and careful planning in order to succeed.
If you think Assault on Doomrock sounds like a game you would like to play, head on over to the IndieGoGo page now to pledge your support to receive a copy when it releases this fall. The campaign is currently funded at nearly 200%, so now we're just looking towards stretch goals!
nice review - you convinced me to order a copy