Irish Man
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So I have long struggled with the escaping "darkness" mechanic. What is the darkness? Is it the Cthulhu forces? Other world energy? And why is it trying to "escape" the mine. That seems almost like the darkness is intelligent. It was hard to explain to new players. The timing rules seemed way too arbitrary. So for the last few games i told new players "Darkstone is highly volatile, and all that fighting and shooting and exploration will eventually cause it to go off. We have to roll on the Darkstone track, and get out before the mine explodes. New players seem to understand the reasoning behind that better.

Anyone else have trouble with the concept of "the darkness"?
 
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Death Jester
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Watch Evil Dead... any of them. When the camera zooms through the forest. That's the darkness. It is the manifestation of evil.
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Eric Harman
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I like this explanation, right up until the mine exploding. That would kill all the heroes. Er, KO them.
Now, and energy surge from the darkness exploding which causes bad things to happen, I'm totally down with that.
 
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Nick Hughes
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I've always assumed that the darkness was a manifestation of evil made physical by the concentration of darkstone. it seeks out the dark corners of the mines and other worlds gathering strength from the violence around it until it has the power to break free, temporarily and wreak havoc around it's lair).

The game ending when the Darkness escapes is the Darkness overwhelming and disorientating both posse and foe alike as it rushes past them both, feeding off the violence and heading out of the mine.

Or something like that anyway
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David Griffin
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There is no fluff in game that explains it. Really it's just an artificial mechanic to make the players hurry to lower their chance of winning the game.

I'd prefer it to be something "in-game" like all of you are suggesting, but the rationalization seems thin to me. Because the game is "timed" pretty well, often when the "darkness escapes" whatever that means, the players are on their last fight and on their way to killing all the monsters -- it's just going to take an extra turn or two. If there was any darkness to do damage, it would surely do the damage to the characters first.

Now if the player characters are KO'd then maybe something escapes, but come on, really it's just a way to make you lose at the last moment (usually because the game drops more threats on you at the last minute).

What they SHOULD do (IMHO) is just deny you the rewards of "winning" the mission, but unless you're KO'd, you don't lose it either. Call it a draw.

I watched a demo of Dungeon Saga, I think by the makers, where the players played well and would have won at the end, but the "overlord" pulled out his last card which delayed them 1 turn. Since they had no turns to wait before THEIR artificial timer expired, they lost. Was there any in-game reason why taking 1 more turn to "win" was a failure? NO, there was no reason why winning 30 seconds later would be worse than winning before the timer expired. But like our game here, they don't think their game is hard enough so they put in artificial timers to raise the challenge level. Would it have been so wrong for the DS makers to take the effort to make the timer make sense within the game?
 
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R.P. Kraul
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Darkness escaping--this timing mechanism is similar to the doom track in Arkham Horror. But it works better in AH, where each game is a standalone adventure in which the investigators are trying to save the town from destruction. SOB, on the other hand, is a campaign game where the characters have multiple adventures, so this mechanism serves itself up for scrutiny. For instance, why doesn't the darkness escape from a mine where the characters are not present? After, say, the fifth adventure, why hasn't the darkness escaped from all mines?Apparently the darkness--excuse me for quantifying it for a moment--can't find something more clever to do than destroy town buildings.

The darkness escaping--it's abstract timing mechanism in game that probably doesn't need one, and further, it's not carried through to the other aspects of the game, unless you accept that "darkness" flaunts its power by demolishing buildings. Too bad darkness doesn't flaunt its power by stalking the heroes back to town, threatening the heroes and the entire town (a curse of sorts).

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Eric Harman
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This makes me consider a house rule: if the darkness escapes, after a certain number of days in town (d6) you have to play the mission from frontier town where town is overrun by monsters.

Potentially, you may have to play that mission before leaving town if you want to leave before the random # comes up.
 
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Bernie Roessler
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I like talking about the SoB world and rationalizing the mechanics to a point but the line from the Mystery Science Theatre Theme song is coming to me a bit in this thread.
 
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Irish Man
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carbon_dragon wrote:
There is no fluff in game that explains it. Really it's just an artificial mechanic to make the players hurry to lower their chance of winning the game.


This

This is what I have always felt, and thus the Darkstone explosion. I imagine mines are blowing up all over the west. Plus it was in the intro video.
 
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Caleb Lampen
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We've add a bit of fluff for our games, regarding the Old Lantern:

The Old Lantern is a powerful rare artifact from the forces of light, which holds back a malevolent force of very limited intelligence which seeps out from the darkstone: The Darkness. The lantern allows the posse to explore the mines without the bad effects (insanity, etc) usually inflicted upon those who are directly exposed to The Darkness.

The Darkness gradually corrupts the land surrounding a mine, turning it into a hellscape. Its usually a slow process. The lantern entering the mine, however, reacts with the Darkness like oil and water, and "agitates" the darkness. Its akin to poking a bee hive. If the lantern is down in the mine too long, the darkness is churned up, and escapes all at once, having a variety of unpredictable negative effects.

The darkness settles down if the lantern is removed before the darkness escapes. Thus, the posse always takes a risk when they enter the mine, but there is no other way to safely enter the mines and accomplish their important quests.
 
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