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Subject: First CMON game: Massive Darkness vs Black Blague? rss

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Jonathan Hersey
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I missed out on the Black Plague campaign but after looking over it a few weeks ago I decided it would be my next purchase. Then I saw this game . . .

I was wondering if those of you familiar with Black Plague could help me decide which game to go with. As tempting as all the extra goodies from Massive Darkness are, for me it comes down to gameplay. I've seen some comments saying the gameplay looks lackluster or sub-par to the dungeon crawl experience they were hoping for but I'm not sure I understand why. So what are your thoughts on these questions:

1. Does the quality of play look sub-par to black plague or just too similar to it? For those that say this appears to be a lack luster dungeon crawl do you feel the same way about Black Plague?
2. Does it appear they have improved the Black Plague System or made it worse.
3. The core box for Massive Darkness alone has a greater variety of enemies than the core box of Black Plague do you think this will improve on or degrade from Black Darkness
4. Do you think either game will have a stronger narrative than the other?

I appreciate any help you can provide
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dafrca
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I think it is a mistake to continue to discuss the two games as if they are the same game. Massive Darkness may use some elements the same but based on the game play video and answers given in the comments, MD is not the same and has a very different feel to the flow of the game.
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Hermes Padilla
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Besides gameplay, at least in this particular case, I think you should also consider what theme attracts YOU the most.
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dafrca wrote:
I think it is a mistake to continue to discuss the two games as if they are the same game. Massive Darkness may use some elements the same but based on the game play video and answers given in the comments, MD is not the same and has a very different feel to the flow of the game.


I view both games as light fully cooperative dice chuckers where your decisions are usually somewhat obvious but you have fun beating on dozens and dozens of mindless creatures. There really isn't THAT much different to make it feel like some radically different game. I say this as someone who enjoys Zombicide from time to time.
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Do you want to play this year or next year?
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Steve Sikati
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excuse me, but am i wrong to feel like this game (MS) is very similar to Mage Knight? (i have ever play zombicide)

The game has a solo value, it's a cooperative one and it doesn't seems to have so much interaction between palyers.

thank you for answering me.
 
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Brandon Held
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masterpad wrote:
excuse me, but am i wrong to feel like this game (MS) is very similar to Mage Knight? (i have ever play zombicide)

The game has a solo value, it's a cooperative one and it doesn't seems to have so much interaction between palyers.

thank you for answering me.


This game is NOT similar to Mage Knight in any way outside of theme. Something closer would be Dungeons & Dragons: Temple of Elemental Evil Board Game.
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Well, there *are* other games out there. With CMON games, you're paying for the miniatures and a light game. IMO, there's not going to be *that* much differentiating them, compared to, say, the difference between Z:BP and Dominion or something. Sword and Sorcery keep getting mentioned, and you can always wait for Z:BP for sale retail. MD has the components advantage that if you don't like the game, you should be able to find a rules-only game that uses the components (eg. Song of Gold and Darkness, D&D, etc.).
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Jonathan Hersey
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I think I like the theme of Massive Darkness better but it's not a tipping point. Also I'm ok with not getting either game right away. If it weren't for all the negativity I think I would just back Massive Darkness and never think twice about it. But then I saw how many people were all in a tizzy about how this was below their expectations or how this was a bad campaign etc. What I couldn't tell was whether people were upset because the game intrinsically looked bad or because it differed from their expectations.
 
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cormor321 wrote:
Do you want to play this year or next year?
This.
You aren't laying your hands on MD until probably this time next year, so you might want to hunker down with Z:BP until then. And if the MD crossover stuff works out, you will have plenty to look forward to.
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Brian Busha
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Jonathan68 wrote:
I think I like the theme of Massive Darkness better but it's not a tipping point. Also I'm ok with not getting either game right away. If it weren't for all the negativity I think I would just back Massive Darkness and never think twice about it. But then I saw how many people were all in a tizzy about how this was below their expectations or how this was a bad campaign etc. What I couldn't tell was whether people were upset because the game intrinsically looked bad or because it differed from their expectations.


I think you have to take all the complaints with a big ol' grain of salt. There are people (like myself) who are not satisfied with how the campaign is being run, but the models look good and the rules aren't out yet.

Come back in a couple weeks and you may see that attitudes have changed substantially.
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Ramon Rodriguez
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Agree with Brian re the rules. Hard to compare the two until they release these. I backed ZBP, and am considering massive darkness as well, but I wanna see the ruleset, more gameplay examples, etc. Before jumping in.
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Andi Kasper
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If you dig the setting and the gameplay shown in the video at all, get on board. You have the chance to grab it now with all the bonus content. Once the pladge deadline is over you will have to pay the crazy eBay prizes or stick with the retail version witch is perfectly fine.
For black plague this ship has sailed anyway.

If you want something you can play now just go with 1$ pledge and save the money over the next few months and get BP now.
So you have at least rhe option to get KSEs at a fair pricepoint.

 
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Jack Swan
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For me, right now, it would be ZBP. But that's based on two facts only: ZBP already exists, and the rules are known. I have not backed MD (yet), because the gameplay video alone does not convince me that this really is a different game instead of a re-skin. There seems to be very little added depth to the gameplay, and I don't need yet another dice fest. ZBP is a lot of fun, though, and I'm pretty sure MD will be as well.
 
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masterpad wrote:
excuse me, but am i wrong to feel like this game (MS) is very similar to Mage Knight? (i have ever play zombicide)

The game has a solo value, it's a cooperative one and it doesn't seems to have so much interaction between palyers.

thank you for answering me.


OMG yes, you would be wrong

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David Russell
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Mage Knight and Massive Darkness both have a solo option. I would say they are on the opposite ends of the scale in terms of complex gameplay.

Mage Knight - card based not dice, lots of thinking and puzzling out how to optimise your turn with what cards you draw. Lots of rules to remember. Each enemy has different abilities and ways to damage them but are just round tokens, this is the part i find most tricky to remember especially fire and water damage. Almost impossible to co-op play unless you have all day.

Massive Darkness - dice based, optimal moves would be seemingly obvious, less thought involved. Enemies are models (hooray) and their differences may not be overly tricky to work out. Easy to play co-op and much quicker to play one scenario i would say.

One is a complex card based puzzle game with loads of rules and the other is dice based quicker and easy play game.

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Jonathan68 wrote:
I think I like the theme of Massive Darkness better but it's not a tipping point. Also I'm ok with not getting either game right away. If it weren't for all the negativity I think I would just back Massive Darkness and never think twice about it. But then I saw how many people were all in a tizzy about how this was below their expectations or how this was a bad campaign etc. What I couldn't tell was whether people were upset because the game intrinsically looked bad or because it differed from their expectations.
I think it's because it differ from their expectations. A lot a people hoped that it would be a very deep dungeon crawler with a lot of character developpement over a campaign with lot and lot of scenarios. And they are pissed off because it is not.

It's a light dungeons crawler with an hack and slash feel, and characters go from level 1 to level 5 in each scenario, which means you can experience all the content in whatever scenario you play instead of having to play X times until you can face this or that monster.
I don't get to play boardgames often so I appreciate that a lot.
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Jack Swan
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masterpad wrote:
excuse me, but am i wrong to feel like this game (MS) is very similar to Mage Knight? (i have ever play zombicide)

The game has a solo value, it's a cooperative one and it doesn't seems to have so much interaction between palyers.

thank you for answering me.

Theme and solo possibilities: true. But further than that, no. MK is way way WAY more complex.
 
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Daniel Mckay
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Just my two cents; I don't know about the Massive Darkness game, but I would highly recommend Z:BP. My full kickstarter arrived, and so we cracked it out at the table for the first time.

The group loved it.

It is now our go-to game; we have mapped out a legacy style campaign, and we've committed to completing it before we move on.

It is awesome; yes it's a light game, but that means even with all the components it's quick to pick up. It's fun, it's tense, and with some modified rules we've also managed to create a PVP situation that means we can switch from main game to arena mode. Even if you want Massive Darkness, I would recommend Z:BP
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Shelby Babb
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Jonathan68 wrote:
1. Does the quality of play look sub-par to black plague or just too similar to it? For those that say this appears to be a lack luster dungeon crawl do you feel the same way about Black Plague?


I think you hit the nail on the head in that MD is very similar -mechanically- to BP, but this is by design.

What's interesting are those points where the two diverge: monsters using (and dropping) loot, different system for player advancement, a different combat system, the impact of light, different monster mobs, etc.

Now some have complained that this makes MD too complicated, but I think it's that MD makes a bunch of small changes to BP, rather than that it has any hugely complex system. Individually, the additional complexity isn't anything to worry about, but collectively some people can honestly find it too complex, especially if they want a comparatively super light game (like BP is).

Jonathan68 wrote:
2. Does it appear they have improved the Black Plague System or made it worse.


Honestly, I think it's both and subjective at that.

There are some genuinely fun looking changes in MD, but there's also a -lot- of them.

Jonathan68 wrote:
3. The core box for Massive Darkness alone has a greater variety of enemies than the core box of Black Plague do you think this will improve on or degrade from Black Darkness


Both.

If you want fantasy minis (and don't intend to customize or kitbash them), the selection is a great starter set for the price (if you appreciate the style). Unfortunately, it also looks like the selection has no unifying theme at all. I know MD is trying to capture the feel of 70's/'80s fantasy (and D&D of that era), but even then there was often some sense of story as to why certain monsters were in a certain area. Here all I'm seeing is "go into a tunnel and you meet... a flesh golem! Why is he here? It's random!" All that said, this randomness does give MD a stronger sense of replayability I suppose; you might never run into the same monsters twice.

BP meanwhile is unified around one thing: zombies. Even the wolves and werewolves and giant monsters are all zombified. Of course, then it goes into lots of weird video game tropes to make its scenarios work ("find the green key to open the green door" type stuff).

Jonathan68 wrote:
4. Do you think either game will have a stronger narrative than the other?


Tying in to #3 above, I think BP has to have the stronger narrative because its "random" monsters are still tied thematically to the game. Hopefully though, a weaker narrative makes for stronger replay.

......

I got BP and enjoyed it, and I'm on the fence pulling my MD pledge. Not that I think MD looks bad (I think it looks pretty fun actually), but because I think it looks largely redundant to me and I'd rather put $120 to something else than a rehash of what I've already got (I say, as I wait for Petersen Games' Gods War Kickstarter, to put next to my Cthulhu Wars).

If you don't already have BP, I'd say the things you need to consider for yourself with a MD pledge are:

*) For $120 (plus shipping) I get a MD pledge delivered to me next year, with stretch goals and exclusives. -But- For a bit more I can get ZBP and Wolfsburg as CoolstuffInc (and free shipping) by the middle of next week, but without the exclusives or stretch goals.
*) MD has lots of different fantasy monsters. -But- ZBP has lots of different fantasy zombies.
*) Do you want something mechanically light (MD) or super light (BP)?
*) Does the -style- of minis for one or the other appeal to you more?
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Jonathan Hersey
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Thanks for the replies. I've had the chance to do more research and I'm really torn about this game. I think the one thing that is holding me back from backing this is the class sheets. They are incredibly similar. I haven't seen all of them but I have seen 3 or 4. The wizard can get plus one die when attacking with magic or plus one sword, the barbarian can get plus one die for melee or plus one sword. The shadow abilities are identical, the heal abilities appear identical, there is very little to distinguish them. Mind you this is still seems like a step up from what Black Plague had but I still feel like the class sheets are lacking.
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D. Lund
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I would go for Black Plague, and for a crawler get Descent instead. Far better game, and the free app lets you play without a DM and solo.

Massive Darkness seems like a very shallow crawler, and nothing but a cash cow for CMON.
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Shelby Babb
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Jonathan68 wrote:
Mind you this is still seems like a step up from what Black Plague had but I still feel like the class sheets are lacking.


It seems like a good step up to me overall. I like that it feels as if each class has more options than a ZBP character, and there's the option to overlap ("so we all want to be wizards!"), and there's -less- sense of "you missed the exclusive, so you'll never get to play X" (I think there -might- be a power tied to the one exclusive hero).

I mean, all your complaints about the classes are valid from what we know, but if that sort of stuff bothers you ZBP would be even worse I suspect.

Since you still can't decide....

If you don't already have ZBP and money -is- an issue and you don't mind waiting a year or so (CMoN has been good on delivery, so I'd call it a low-risk waiting), I'd tell you to back MD. It's a -little- bit better mechanically, and you can probably tailor the decks towards custom scenarios (ZBP did that too!). The exclusives and stretch goals may not be much on their own, but the total package you get for $120 is -huge- (and retail prices and availability can be a bit of crap shoot). Just keep in mind, if you want something "meaty" this probably isn't the game for you (but neither is ZBP).
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Mr Suitcase
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Just a note on the title: "Blague" means "Joke" in French.
 
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Jonathan Hersey
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BasenjiMaster wrote:
I would go for Black Plague, and for a crawler get Descent instead. Far better game, and the free app lets you play without a DM and solo.

Massive Darkness seems like a very shallow crawler, and nothing but a cash cow for CMON.


Thanks for the info Basen. I had thought the the only way to play descent coop was to use an user variant. That app combined with Descent looks amazing. You've managed to shake me out of my game lust. For several days there I was thinking I would inevitably end up backing MD. Now you have given my wallet some hope
 
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