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Subject: Our first successful Assault on the Doomrock rss

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Russell Lee
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*** Some spoilers below! If you want to figure all of this out for yourself, don't read! ***


Yesterday morning I started a frustrated thread called “Has anyone ever actually beat this game?” Yesterday evening we played an epic five-hour Assault on Doomrock… and won our first game ever!

Scott and Russell have played many times before and always lost. This time we added first-timer Eric, an experienced RPGer, DM and boardgamer who has an excellent sense of strategy. We figured if we were ever going to win this game, Eric would be the one to make it happen.

Eric insisted that we use no nerfs, house rules or cheats. We played everything by the rules.

Scott was an Erratic Mage. Russell was an Unstable Ranger. Eric was a Ridiculously Armored Paladin.

First Adventuring

Our setting was Mountain Treasure, which gave us +1 to any Mountain Loot Roll. We decided to do as many Loot Rolls as possible throughout the entire game, even if it meant earning Perils.

We had a very lucky map. Cursed Swamp gave us Shields+1 and Loot+2 (actually +3, because it was a Mountain). Mage’s Tower let us recycle the Cursed Swamp and visit it all over again. And The Witch’s Hut gave us a whopping four Common Consumables for only 2S. We got:
- Stink Bomb
- Grenade of Doom
- Stone Skin Potion
- Potion of Might

The Mage leveled up and gained Ghostly Strike (3 Damage, ignore 1 Armor for every 2 Expose). The Ranger leveled up and gained Black Poison (+1 Damage to exposed targets).

Mage’s Tower also revealed our first Encounter ahead of time. We knew we would be facing…

First Battle

Beasts of Doom!

We entered with full HP and some Heroism. The challenge of the Beasts is that they can do two Damage per encounter, and they keep shedding their Expose Markers.

We just kept hammering away at them, using the Initiative abilities of the Mage and Ranger to take out Beasts before they could act. The Paladin focused on healing.

The Mage was reduced to 0 HP because his high Threat gave him the worst of the engagements. Fortunately this only happened at the end of the fight, and the Paladin and Ranger were enough to finish off the last Beast.

Second Adventuring

Our setting was the Oriental Merchant.

This time around, we had a lucky event, Elven Massagist, which enabled us to restore Health for 1S instead of spending an Hourglass.

We used our Hourglasses to keep Venturing Forth. By the time we finished this phase, there were only two Map cards left in the Area Deck.

The Paladin leveled up and gained Battle Shout. More important, he also picked up an Axe of Doom so he could give himself a higher Threat than the Mage.

We used the Oriental Merchant to once again reveal our next Encounter ahead of time. This time we would confront…

Second Battle

The Wraith of Doom! This boss has an intimidating 18 HP and 5 armor. And an army of Whisps [sic] who keep flocking to it.

Once again, we each began the battle with full HP. Our strategy here was to keep using Initiative Attacks to destroy the Whisps before they ever did anything. The Axe of Doom allowed the Paladin to attract a greater amount of enemy attention and make better use of his Shut the Helmet ability. However the fight was still very close. The Whisps kept spawning and stealing our dice.

We had several spirited arguments about where and when to place or reroll our dice. At one point newbie/strategist Eric teased, “I can see why you keep losing this game.”

The Wraith finally built up enough Enrage to completely cancel its Armor. By the time we defeated the Boss, all three Heroes were down to 1 HP each. But we were still alive.

Third Adventuring

Our final setting was Agents of Doom. We never did use its ability to reveal our final Encounter.

The best map card this time was Abandoned Mine. We debated about “Blowing the Entrance” to get rid of all of the Secret Markers. But with only two Map Cards left and lots of time, we used “Dark Tunnels” and explored three times instead.

We got two terrific Event Cards. Mysterious Character gave us 2S for selling two common items. Fountain of Life once again let us Camp for 1S instead of burning an Hourglass.

Our Hourglasses gave us Explores, which gave us Events, which gave us Loot Rolls, which gave us a ridiculous amount of money. As a result, all three of us were able to Level Up a second time before the final battle.

The Mage gained Party Charge. He used a Sinister Book of Cheating to equip Quicksword. His other equipment included a Forewand of Exploding Heads.

The Ranger gained Ice Armor, which he never ended up using. But his equipment included Rogue’s Armor (which prevented him from being surrounded) and Bow of Doom (which provided +1 Damage).

The Paladin gained Quickness. His equipment included Leather Armor of Doom (ignore +1 Damage Expose Marker).

Once again, we would enter battle with full HP, this time augmented by 1 Heroism and 2 Shields each. And we each had six dice.

Third Battle

Our main Boss was the Evilmancer Hycorax. We commented that we might do okay as long as we didn’t draw Zombie Horde as the associated Minion. Naturally, we drew Zombie Horde.

Zombies are weak, but there are a ton of them. The Hycorax teases you to reduce his Health, but only if you can accomplish impossible tasks.

The Paladin again used his terrific combo to buff up to the highest Threat level and attract enemies, then keep healing. The Ranger had a strong Initiative attack that could kill two Zombies every round before they acted. The Mage had both Initiative and regular attacks that killed zombies both before and after, as well as a Panic Attack that kept giving him extra dice.

But what finally crippled the Hycorax Boss was a lucky combination of AI cards. Thorns reduced the Boss’ Armor to zero, but also gave it a counterattack equal to any Attack against it. Then, Exploding Parasite gave a random hero (the Ranger) a bunch of Shields. If all heroes could lose their Shields by the end of the round, the Boss would take three Damage.

We calculated that we had seven Shields between us. We attacked the Boss for exactly seven Damage, and absorbed the counterattack with Shields. With no Shields left at the end of the round, the Boss took another three Damage.

The next round, the Hycorax was dead.

Lessons Learned

It was a game to remember. We may never win another assault, but at least we proved to ourselves that it can be done.

Luck is a huge factor. You have to draw the correct set of heroes and traits, map cards, items and abilities against the correct enemies. Other than abilities, you don’t have any control over this.

That said, there are still a lot of strategic decisions to make. How do you use your limited Hourglasses? Which Ability card should you take when you Level Up? Which dice should you keep and which should you re-roll?

Do not underestimate the value of Explore. Don’t automatically use the Area Card locations to eliminate Secret Markers. If you have the time to Explore, the resulting Events are almost always positive.

Initiative abilities are invaluable. Not only can you kill enemies before they act, but there are fewer that you have to activate. Quickness was a terrific card for us, whether it gave Initiative to an Attack, or gave Initiative to Maneuver.

We would not have won without major Healing abilities. You can equip the best weapons and attacks in the world, but they will not help you if you are dead.

Assault on Doomrock is epic, thematic, immersive and a ton of fun. We can’t wait for the expansion.
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Stephen Martin
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Wonderful session report. Thank you. It says a lot for this game that I get excited just reading about session reports, as my experience with it informs how nail-biting I'm sure every fight was.

I'd add to your thoughts something I've come to realize as well, which you seem to highlight: The Witch's Hut is awesome. Consumables are powerful game-changers and worth the silver.

And, good lord! I've been forgetting to trigger events when I use an explore action for the last three games I played. How did this rule just fall out of my brain?

I blame the zombie horde...
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Scott Yost
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You mentioned a few times that initiative abilities were preventing minion activations. It seems like that should be relatively uncommon - after your initiative phase you have to activate two minions (or one if there's only one available). The only way that an initiative attack could save you an activation is in the case where there were two minions available before your attack but only one after, but that should only happen near the end of the battle (and only once). Could you elaborate on how initiative activations were preventing enemy activations?
 
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Russell Lee
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Yostage wrote:
You mentioned a few times that initiative abilities were preventing minion activations. It seems like that should be relatively uncommon - after your initiative phase you have to activate two minions (or one if there's only one available). The only way that an initiative attack could save you an activation is in the case where there were two minions available before your attack but only one after, but that should only happen near the end of the battle (and only once). Could you elaborate on how initiative activations were preventing enemy activations?


Yostage,

You are absolutely correct that each player must still activate at least one minion. In my session report, I did not want to go into exhaustive detail about *how many rounds* each battle was. (They go on a *long* time!)

By constantly hitting the enemies with both Initiative and normal Attacks, we were able to whittle down their hit points over time.

The point I was making is that a regular kill will eliminate the enemy *after* he has already acted. An Initiative kill will eliminate the enemy *before* he acts.

Also, when the number of minions falls to four (in a three-player game), the last player (me! the low-threat ranger!) only has to activate one. That can be a life-saver when you are low on health.

There is no more satisfying feeling than watching the number of enemy minions keep diminishing!
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