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Darkness Comes: The Board Game» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Cooperative survival horror. rss

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Michael Holst-Olesen
Denmark
Viborg
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It's an "R". What did you expect?
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(This review is based on a single play on the prototype version availble at Spiel'14 in Essen)

Darkness Comes: The Board Game (from now on DC) is a cooperative survival horror game. You and your fellow players are a family who are trying to escape a haunted house. In order to do so, all family members must find a needed item somewhere in the house. Only when everyone has their item is it possible to leave the house. A further complication is that you don't know which of the houses three door is the one you can get out of.

Setup: Each player gets three setup cards of which they choose one. This card gives a number of quests (go to this specific room), a number of monsters, gloom tokens, blood tokens etc. to place and how far you have to advance the darkness track. The darkness track spawns new monsters and gives you items during setup. It also determines when the game ends. If you choose fewer quests, you will advance further on the darkness track.

You family member has the following stats: Love, Courage, Life and Inner light and Stresslevel. To enter dark rooms you need courage. If you meet hauntings or manifestations you draw a housecard or a manifestation card. These cards spawn new monsters, gives you damage to your life or inner light and/or advance the darkness track. Your inner light is your sanity. As you take damage to your inner light you draw a madness card from your madenss deck. In the base game, this will give you disadvantages like "you can't enter bloody rooms". In the advanced game you may get things like "If you kill another family member you win", turning the game from a friendly coop to a nasty PvP affair.

How does it play? Well, if you know Flash Point: Fire Rescue, you know most of the core mechanics. Each round you have five actionpoints. Actions include: moving, picking up items, openings doors etc. Each family member starts with a quest. When you face a haunting or a manifestation
Hauntings/manifestations work like smoke/fire in Flash Point. Your hunt for the needed item works like trying to rescue people i Flash Point.
The longer you stay in the house, the more monsters show up/rooms go dark/blood appears making the game harder.
You have the ability to give love to other family members in the same room as you. They can convert this love to courage and inner light. Each family member has a special ability they can use once per turn. My character "The Couch Potato" could reduce the stress level of any other family member in the same room. If you get too stressed you will take a lot of damage every time you get hit by a house card or manifestation card.

In the game i played, we chose few quests and started quite high on the darkness track. There were a few gloomy places and a few hauntings on the board. Things went smoothly during the first half of the game but halfway through, we ran into a lot of closed doors and hauntings. The house doesn't like when you kick in locked doors and spawn more monsters. From about the halvway point in the game, the difficulty ramped up massively. When the last family member got his needed item, the house was crawling with monsters. We fought our way to the garage where the first door was. Unfortunately this was the wrong door, and lights started to go out in the adjacent rooms. The kitchen door was next, and we could see that it would be our last chance. Fortunately, this door was the right one, and we won the game with not much time left on the darkness track.

This game was a prototype, and there were a few problems with the cards in the game. Some cards from earlier versions of the game were still present and they didn't make much sense. These problems will be fixed when the games kickstarter launches.

During the first few turns, everbody thought that this game is much too easy. This changed drastically in the course of the game, and at the end it was a struggle to get from one room to another. It came down to which door we wanted to try in the end.

I had a lot of fun with this. We played the base game and as such a straight up co-op game. I can imagine the paranoia in the advanced version, when your family members start to go insane around you. Is one of them out to kill you?

I will be backing this on kickstarter when it launches.
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Silver Bowen
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This is a preview of an unpublished game that is planning to seek funding on Kickstarter, not a critical review. I do appreciate you posting your impressions of the prototype, but this doesn't belong in the review section.

You are much less gushing (and slightly critical) than most of these sorts of previews (which are generally blatant advertisements), so thanks for that.

However - "These problems will be fixed when the games kickstarter launches." Regardless of the strength of your conviction, this is a prediction about the future, not a fact. Until—at bare minimum—a production sample copy is available, nobody has a clue whether or not there will be any component, design, or rules (wording or mechanisms) issues w/ the final product.
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Adam D.
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My .02 is that it was a fairly good review. I may be backing this myself.
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MoonSylver
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Appreciate the heads up. I'm always on the look out for this type of thing. Would be interested in backing, pending a look at artwork, rules, components, & solo compatibility.

As an aside, Silver raises some good points though.
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Silver Bowen
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M00NSYLVER wrote:
Appreciate the heads up. I'm always on the look out for this type of thing. Would be interested in backing, pending a look at artwork, rules, components, & solo compatibility.


Ditto. I love horror and coops, and I've backed plenty on KS. It's entirely possible I'll back this, depending on how it looks.

My objections aren't a critique of this game or of Kickstarter
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Nick Bolton
England
Devizes
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The title sounds similar to When Darkness Comes
 
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