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Subject: Untainted First Impressions rss

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Paul Kellett
United Kingdom
Preston
Lancashire
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I've just picked up a copy of the Kickstarter edition of DDD and after a worrying week or so reading the forum whilst waiting for it to arrive, finally got to try a solo game last night.

Set up was pretty easy, the tiles marked on the obverse with symbols to indicate centre, edge or corner tiles for easy sorting. All the boards and tokens are top quality, thick card. The figures are less impressive, lacking much detail (then again, I'm used to Descent 2e figures which are awesomely detailed) but good enough. At least they don't make me feel I NEED to paint them. A minore annoyance was the size of the boards. The room tiles are fine, but the player, code and turn boards are massive and it was a struggle fitting everything around the table.

I set up a house that was a little tricky - three walled cenre tiles which meant I would need to go in a 3x2 upside down U to get to the bottom right corner (which of course happened to be where the last code was...)

The game played really well (using the revised rule set), my only gripe was not having a complete turn list to reference as it was annoying to have to keep flicking through the pages to remind me what came next and I would either forget to spawn a zombie or check the camera or perform a fire check.

The mechanics all seemed to work fine and there are some great ideas that really give you a sense of urgency that you can't just bimble around leisurely searching and popping off the odd zombie. Nothing like the threat of being trapped in fiery death to focus one's actions.

I'm definitely glad I bought Dark Darker Darkest. Yes, the rule book is a little tricky to work through and is lacking a decent reference section but there are some good files on here that help smooth things out. I'm looking forward to trying this at my game group and hopefully it will go down well, if not, I still have a good solo game to play.

If anyone is thinking of buying this but are worried reading all the bad comments & reviews then I would say if you don't mind dice-baced chaos in your games then DDD does offer a great, tense survival horror experience that requires strategy, quick thinking to adapt to a changing environment and a good dose of luck.
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Paul Kellett
United Kingdom
Preston
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My second game went much better. I had the revised rules and a brilliant reference sheet listing all the turn sequences, actions and dice icons in an easy to read layout.
(http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/96997/dark-darker-dark...)

Better search rolls got more doors unlocked faster and I managed to off enough zombies to level half my team up. That gave me extra attack dice and I managed to keep zombies in check. I had a 6 strong horde in the top centre tile when a fire broke out there (a little bit of comfusion trying to work out what happens when you roll a 6. I eventually found it in the original rules but couldn't see it in the revised rules or the FAQ. I re-rolled and this time it would have spawned in the lab. Again I couldn't find an answer so re-rolled again) which was handy as every turn another zombie burned away

Got all the codes and herded everyone into the ammo room to re-load and disable the security systems.

The rules for the end game took a couple of read throughs and were a bit confusing but I worked it out and faced the daughter (I think - I've packed it away now and can't remember the names). She turned up with 8 hit points (the rules said to add HP equal to the number of characters plus their remaining AP - I had 2 with 3AP and 2 with 1AP. Was that right or should it have been all characters TOTAL AP? If I'd have read those rules sooner I'd have made sure everyone was out of AP first.)

The character in the lab got 2 hits while 2 of the 3 in the next room scored another 4 hits ranged. The monster retaliated and the character in the lab was entrapped but then the monster moved south towards the lower left room. Not sure if I should have continued to attack but the rules read as you attacked once if starting, entering or ending on a tile with characters so I moved.

Another character got entrapped and feared and the monster moved south another square.

Next round saw another successful attack (the character with the free attack is very useful here) and the monster was defeated. It seemed a little easy but I was lucky in rolling a few double hits.

The game took about 2.5 hours and I very much enjoyed it. I reckon with less fumbling with rules I should be able to get it down to under 2 hours. Definitely glad I bought this and any fears have been laid to rest.
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David Ausloos
Belgium
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Glad you are enjoying the game Paul.
DDD is specifically desinged as an extremely modular system, with the randomness used to generate unpredictability as well as an endless range of unique situations. With each play you might see different situations occur in the house, generated by when and where events will occur.
It will form this little tactical puzzle for the team to solve, optimally spending actions as a group.
Performing the same 3 actions in a different order can render a completely different result.
For me the core of the system lies in the metagame of group planning and
discussions about possible routes/actions.
Played with a group of talky players it can really get that we-against-the-rest-of-the-world feeling going. That is I feel the heart of the game.

When you start experimenting with different lay-outs of the house: open routes VS closed up areas...you will discover this will have a significant impact on the difficulty level, as monsters/zombies will move more agressively in an open enviroment.
Part of the fun is building the house to your personal playstyle/liking.

In any case, good luck with your future trips into the darkness.
Alway nice to read people's experiences with the game.
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Paul Kellett
United Kingdom
Preston
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Thanks David. Yes, I can see how much variation there is in this game with room layouts, cameras and zombie/creature choices.

Could you clarify the points I raised above please?

On the first fire roll, you re-roll a 6. Do you also re-roll if you rolled the lab? I'm presuming yes.

Also, when generating the boss, do you use the characters total XP (so in my game 4x3AP+4) or just what they have left? I played the latter (which seems to be what the rules imply) but it seems like it makes a weaker enemy as you would ideally not move into the lab until everyone else had spent their action so the boss could end up with only 4HP. Okay, your actions could be reduced if low on health and bad dice rolls are always a factor but it still feels a little weak compared to the other creatures.
 
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John Bruns
United States
Naperville
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I believe you are misunderstanding the characters plus action points. It is the total action points they have available, not the ones left in the round. Consider the points they would have at the start of the round. Note that this might be less than at the beginning of the game, as they may have suffered injuries. These are the same action points that get pooled now in the final battle.
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Paul Kellett
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Preston
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Ah, thank you, that makes sense. The phrase "Take your remaining AP" was throwing me.

I'd healed most of my damage and forgotten about the drop in AP with low health. Thanks
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Trent Boardgamer
Australia
Perth
Western Australia
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Having played the game a lot, the experience of this game can vary due to the random set up, difficulty chosen and the random game outcomes.

I've had a few games where you are like WTF, we simply couldn't win, BUT... it adds to the times you potentially can and makes you realise for a coop its a brutal game (I'm not even talking the hardest difficulty here, as I'm of the opinion that if you play any mini/zombie expansions that would be akin to sticking your head in the oven and not expecting to get cooked).

The instructions did take a little more effort than the usual game, but some of that is due to the unusual (and great) new concepts introduced (Such as the group mechanic).

I think once people comprehend the turn and team structure most of it flows well (I'm still playing from the original rule set as well).

Oddly enough, my biggest gripe is that the expansions make the game too hard and I normally exclude them (Well apart from the various zombie types, as they are just too cool to ignore, not too mention I want to get value from my investment of getting all those minis), because I suck and can't beat the game with them apart from once or twice due to great fortune (Victims and Heli exps.)

This is one of those games, where it's because you normally lose, that when a win is pulled off you feel as though you earned it.
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