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Subject: Doom – a great game that I gave 4 out of 10 rss

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Kilgore Trout
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Intro

I've played a couple of board games that were once video games. Age of Empires III and Railroad Tycoon.. Both were Real Time Strategy Games which I didn't play on my PC as it is somewhat shit. I never played Doom either. I never bought a video card for my PC as I was busy having a social life. I did play Silent Hill on the Playstation and I must confess there were a few “touching- cloth” moments when I did that. I was keen to find out how on earth you could convert a First Person Shooter into a boardgame. I jumped at the chance when a friend suggested we play Doom as I was keen to find out.

A brief and inaccurate analysis of the horror genre

I'm not the biggest fan of horror or zombies. I don't mind the idea of a film or game showing people up against a relentless threat but I like a bit more depth. I'd like to know why Zombies are so relentless – I can only assume that brains taste great. Incidentally, the scariest film I've seen is George Sluizer's The Vanishing (The Dutch/French original, not the Hollywood remake with Jeff Bridges – the endings are totally different) and I always think that what humans can do to one another is truly frightening.

My friend had said to me that Doom III should never be played in a poorly-lit room when on one's own as it would cause more touching cloth incidents. Check this fella out:



Stuff

Anyway, the game - cracking open the box you know it's a Fantasy Flight Game – all that super-dense cardboard and those plastic figures. It has quality oozing from its pores. The rulebook is, for a Fantasy Flight Game surprisingly svelte and readable (contrast this with the first edition of Arkham Horror which read and felt like a sociological treatise on constipation).

Set Up

My friend took the role of Invader and I played the lone marine. Just to let those of you who don't know get up to speed – some military company has been doing experiments and has opened some portal to a world full of horrors. Some marines are sent to visit – you know, like Aliens. My friend had taken the liberty of painting the majority of the figures so rather that my guy looking like a muscle-bound vision in red plastic he looked like a muscle-bound vision in camouflage (n.b. the term “muscle-bound vision“ does not imply homosexuality on my part). The Invader controls all the creatures that have breached into our dimension as the result of said dangerous experiments and places down the map section as the marine explores, a bit like a DM.

Getting Started

We played the first scenario (called Knee Deep in Shit, or something). I started off on a room with some guns which I picked up but then the Invader player started to spawn monsters in the room, out of my line of site. Some of the critters move quick and could also take a hit or two before dying so it was not going to be easy. The goal of my mission was to get out of the base, the exit being somewhere in the North East corner of the building. My marine was now looking a lot less muscular seeing as some of the creatures were so muscular that they had split their skins. I guess they don't have Bingo Wings* in Doomworld.

The Play Experience

Holy Cow – what am I going to do? I ran over and picked up some more weaponry but the critters were almost on top of me. Basically in Doom you can do one of four things – move 8 squares, stay put and fire twice, move 4 squares and fire (or the other way round) or Ready, which allows you to move 4 squares or fire then perform a special action, such as aiming or guarding (op fire they call it in Tide of Iron).

So I blast away and initially get lucky. All the weapons have different combinations of dice to roll that indicate both the the damage and also the range of the shot. These dice are fantastic – they added an element of fun and you had to think a little bit about weapon choice in certain circumstances. For about three hours I moved about, fighting where I could or had to, and running when necessary. I snuffed it a couple of times but like any good video game I was allowed to respawn. My opponent would spawn more creatures and throw them at me with alarming regularity.

Yeah, but...

Well, essentially that is the game, Sure, I found more weapons and armour on my trails but after about three hours my opponent suggested we give up and pop out for a takeaway. I was not desperate to finish and so we went and got fried chicken (a right greasy treat). At the chicken shop we discussed the game. My opponent, who is a much bigger horror buff than I, said that he had bought the game because of the miniatures. He had painted some of them in exquisite detail and I did take some photos but the camera on my mobile is shit – just like my PC! We came back and had a game of Arkham Horror, which had the right hit of strategy and dread that I had so missed in Doom.

An observation

Doom is a bit like Car Wars – you play for hours and about 10 minutes has elapsed in game time. That's like really strong LSD. I wish I could play at this speed:



What I liked

The quality of the components is typical Fantasy Flight – magnificent.
The dice were fun.

What I didn't like

The whole game was repetitive and tactically limited.
Tension eventually became frustration.

Existential questions

I was left very curious about this other dimension the creatures come from. I mean, what goes on there on a daily basis? Lots of killing and stuff? Or are they enraged by the humans making contact with their dimension or were they pissed off before we got there? Another question I was left with was how come none of the monsters can open doors? Even the velociraptors in Jurassic Park figured that one out, man.

In conclusion

I really wanted to like this game but there was a real roll-and-move taste left in my mouth. People have said that Descent: Journeys in the Dark is a batter version of this. I'm waiting for someone I know to invite me for a game but I won't drop the cash for it. I did buy Tide of Iron and the whole move and/or fire thing has been incorporated into that game brilliantly. I'm glad I spent my money on that.

I wish that Doom: The Boardgame could have been at least like this:



*Bingo Wings – a slang term referring to the sagging skin under a tricep.
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Giles Pritchard
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Re: Doom – a great game that I gave 4 out of 10
Thanks for the read and a good review!!

I always find negative reviews interesting, even when I don't always agree with them (as in this case).

I find Doom: The Board Game to be a tense and interesting experience, although I have never played with only 1 Marine.

The Marines have plenty of tactical choices to make, and although the game isn't strategic, the tactical nature suits the theme well and makes the player's choices interesting. With more than 1 Marine, how the players work together against the Invader is the key to success. I also found the Difficulty Levels on the FFG website very useful for introducing players to the game.

In short - I really enjoy the game, although would be hesitant to play with only 1 Marine. For me the fun and tension rides on how well the players can work as a team to fight the Invader.

Thanks for your review!!

Cheers.

Giles.
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Jonathan Tang
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Akhnaten wrote:
Another question I was left with was how come none of the monsters can open doors? Even the velociraptors in Jurassic Park figured that one out, man.

They can open doors.
They just can't open Security Doors (the ones with keys).
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Alexander E. Stevens
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Re: Doom – a great game that I gave 4 out of 10
Akhnaten wrote:
Another question I was left with was how come none of the monsters can open doors? Even the velociraptors in Jurassic Park figured that one out, man.



Yes, but those Velociraptors were actually Deinonychuses, and that makes all the difference in the world. Truly.

Also, most monsters never opened doors in the original doom. You know, the one that didn't suck.
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Snowball
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Gender: pot*ato. My opinion is an opinion.
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I only played Doom once (with 4).
I really ought to play some more games before I rate it, but I guess 4 out of 10 would be it.
The game is rumoured to be better with the expansion, and that the game is definitely better with more players (I like cooperative games), but even then it is only so-so.
I would say your review is right on, the game is engaging for those who liked doom, the realisation is top notch, and with the right crowd (ie roleplayers), this could be fun on occasion, but still this is much too long and repetitive for what it is.
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Thomas P. Felder
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Re: Doom – a great game that I gave 4 out of 10
Being addicted to it, I just have to mention Space Hulk, which is very similiar in many ways, but better (it even comes with a mega background called the Warhammer 40k Universe).

I love it.
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Giles Pritchard
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On a side note: I have never played Doom...the Boardgame was my first step into that setting. I enjoyed the game a lot (as you can see from my post )

Cheers.

Giles.

EDIT: spelling
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Roberto Arbelaez
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My only problem with DOOM is that it can take too long. But I've found out that if you keep things moving, and follow a few simple rules, that will make all the difference and it will change the entire game experience... It'll feel like a different game. It did for me. Let me elaborate a bit on the subject.

Most of the time, what makes this game drag in a multiplayer game is that the players spend too much time discussing where to move, planning cooperative moves (you do this and I'll do that), discussing health/armor/ammo/weapons distribution (you take this and I'll take that), or strategizing between themselves. Also, the invader player takes too much time deciding which cards to play, spawning the monsters, moving them, assembling the map sections, placing the tokens and monsters on them...

That will make the game last forever and it will ruin the whole experience. And it gets worse with more players. A game runned like this with 4 players will easily take 6 to 8 hours or more.

So, how can you solve these issues?

Keep the game moving! At all costs!


Control your turn time

A "move in less than a minute or forfeit your turn (or the rest of your actions for that turn)" rule will make sessions dramatically shorter and makes discussions between players short and to the point.

This rule also applies for the invader player (but give him 2 minutes! remember he has to move several monsters!), he'll have to play his cards and spawn/move his monsters in 2 minutes or less.

You'll have to be very rigid with the rule, and enforce it always. Make sure your players know it before hand and agree to it. And also, you'll need to have some time measuring device handy (a sand clock will work great - if you can find one that measures a minute).

There's an important (and obvious) exception: this rule doesn't apply when a turn is interrupted because of map assembly caused by a player accessing a previously undisclosed section of the map (that will usually take a bit longer than a minute). Smart players will use the extra time (while the invader player assembles the map sections) to discuss strategies between them.

You can also give an extra minute but just one minute whenever a new room is disclosed, so players can discuss their overall strategy, and weapons/ammo/health/armor distribution. Also, give them 5 minutes when they disclose the section that contains the level's main monster... They'll need to plan their moves!

Controlling the turn time will somewhat change player dynamics but it won't necessarily reduce them, as players will have less time to discuss details and will be forced to become more organized in how they move all the time (someone takes point, someone the rear, everybody makes sure there's line of sight to every part of occupied rooms to avoid creatures spawning close to the players, someone covers while another opens a door or turns a corner). Players will also have to become more reactive to other players moves (line of fire and grenades area of effect take a whole new meaning when you don't have time to plan every move).

This is exactly what happens when playing multiplayer DOOM on networked PCs/Consoles...You don't have time to quietly discuss the situation. You don't get to plan each and every move, and discuss it with your buddies while the monsters sit idly by, waiting for you to move, do you? You do your best to be an organized unit, move fast and coherently, try to keep out of each other's line of fire, and try to set up a fixed way to open doors, or turning corners minimizing risk and maximizing cover and firepower...

Preassemble map sections

Also, and equally important to keep the game moving, you must try some sort of Level Preassembly. It'll increase game setup time, but it's better to do it before and not during the game.

Pre-assembling the levels (keeping them out of sight) and pre-placing the level's tokens and/or monsters will help reduce on-game assembly time to less than a few minutes.

Some people preassemble the whole level but without placing the tokens and monsters until that section has been discovered (not recommended, as it only slightly reduces assembly time).

Other people preassemble the whole level, place the tokens but not the monsters, and cover the places not yet disclosed with sheets of paper or a cloth (better than the previous technique, but can disclose some information - how big the map is, where it extends to).

And some others preassemble all the sections, placing all the tokens and all the monsters, but keep them hidden away in a different room (this is the recommended method). As each section is disclosed, you just go get it, place it on the table and attach it to the rest of the map. All taking a minute or so, thus keeping the game flowing. (I recommend you assemble each section on individual pieces of cardboard that you can transport back to your gaming table and slide the assembled section off the cardboard and onto the table without disarranging placed tiles nor monsters).

FINAL REMARKS

I'd strongly recommend you add the expansion. It balances the game, fixes some well-known issues with some cards, clarifies some rules and adds lots to the original game.

With DOOM, the trick is to keep the game flowing at all costs. That also helps create an atmosphere of urgency, of immediacy, of stress and anguish...

DOOM is exciting, thrilling, engaging... If you play it right. I understand why you gave it a 4, because I went through the same experience the first time I played it. But after playing it for quite a while, and applying all the rules I described, I don't think it's a 4, not even close. And if you read some other reviews, you'll find that lots of people think is a better game than Descent:Journeys into the Dark.

This is a great game if you play it right! Give it a chance!
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Roberto Arbelaez
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caradoc wrote:

In short - I really enjoy the game, although would be hesitant to play with only 1 Marine. For me the fun and tension rides on how well the players can work as a team to fight the Invader.


You shoud definitely try it with one marine. It's a faster, more stressful game, and you´ll find yourself running more and fighting less... I think I like it better as a 2 player game... But I'm not sure. Depends on the company
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Bojan Benak
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quantumplation wrote:
Akhnaten wrote:
Another question I was left with was how come none of the monsters can open doors? Even the velociraptors in Jurassic Park figured that one out, man.



Yes, but those Velociraptors were actually Deinonychuses, and that makes all the difference in the world. Truly.

Also, most monsters never opened doors in the original doom. You know, the one that didn't suck.

Wish I could give you two thumbs.(I think I just did)
 
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Bertram Trabant
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Re: Doom – a great game that I gave 4 out of 10
Akhnaten wrote:

I was left very curious about this other dimension the creatures come from. I mean, what goes on there on a daily basis? Lots of killing and stuff? Or are they enraged by the humans making contact with their dimension or were they pissed off before we got there?


I'm no expert, and the (new) computer game hasn't thrilled me that much either, but AFAIR from my youth, there is no mentioning of any fancy-shmancy "dimension", but just good ole hell. You know, the sterotypical place where it's hot and people who leave games beore they're finished go.
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Kilgore Trout
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Bertram wrote:
Akhnaten wrote:

I was left very curious about this other dimension the creatures come from. I mean, what goes on there on a daily basis? Lots of killing and stuff? Or are they enraged by the humans making contact with their dimension or were they pissed off before we got there?


I'm no expert, and the (new) computer game hasn't thrilled me that much either, but AFAIR from my youth, there is no mentioning of any fancy-shmancy "dimension", but just good ole hell. You know, the sterotypical place where it's hot and people who leave games beore they're finished go.


I did not meet Judas Iscariot on my travels but had I done so I would have asked him if it was true, or whether he got a bad press.
 
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Bob Locousky
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Well, if you're not sure about the background of Doom, there's always wikipedia!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doom_(video_game)

Basically, the portal is Hell. Which in my opinion is the ultimate horror conflict. I mean, what's worse than Hell? And what's more badass than a marine fighting his way through hell with an arsenal of guns and testosterone?
If you want my opinion, in terms of backstory I find Doom to be much more compelling than a dungeon crawler like Descent. The idea behind a dungeon crawler is the literary theme of 'journeying to the underworld'. This could be anything, a dungeon or a cave; but in Doom's case, it's Hell itself. The deepest darkest hole in existence. If it was me, I would much rather some goblins or ogres come charging at me than the minions of Satan, but that's just me.
Setting gameplay aside, I think the idea of a couple space marines facing off against Hell itself makes this game a little more compelling than you're giving it credit for. Again, this is setting gameplay aside and just looking at the backstory.
 
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Adam Boudreau
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Mukwic wrote:
Well, if you're not sure about the background of Doom, there's always wikipedia!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doom_(video_game)

Basically, the portal is Hell. Which in my opinion is the ultimate horror conflict. I mean, what's worse than Hell? And what's more badass than a marine fighting his way through hell with an arsenal of guns and testosterone?
If you want my opinion, in terms of backstory I find Doom to be much more compelling than a dungeon crawler like Descent. The idea behind a dungeon crawler is the literary theme of 'journeying to the underworld'. This could be anything, a dungeon or a cave; but in Doom's case, it's Hell itself. The deepest darkest hole in existence. If it was me, I would much rather some goblins or ogres come charging at me than the minions of Satan, but that's just me.
Setting gameplay aside, I think the idea of a couple space marines facing off against Hell itself makes this game a little more compelling than you're giving it credit for. Again, this is setting gameplay aside and just looking at the backstory.


Yes the portal goes to hell, but you forgot the major element that this all takes place on Mars! Which is kind of a strange place to find a portal hell if you ask me... thought Doom II WAS hell on Earth. Though I believe the Doom novels explain this by the monsters getting on a space ship. I find it odd that Doom 3 had us back on Mars and sort of acted like Earth was never annihilated in Doom II... go figure.
 
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Brandon
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Doom 3 is basically a remake of the original. Kind of like how Evil Dead 2 is a retelling of Evil Dead 1.
 
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Gosh, Almighty, I thought that was me ! I do have a brother, but that chap on the video looks more like me than my brother does

I used to play Doom on Playstation 1 all the time, but I never screamed ...honest. Reason: played with the lights on blush
 
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Dave Maxx
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I agree with Roberto--

Once you understand the game and if you play with players who know how to make quick decisions the game actually flows quite nicel and quickly.

We've finished a scenario in about an hour (not including set up and pack up time).

If you have slow players - try timing turns a la blood bowl. Start with something reasonable like 5 mins, than reduce it to 4, 3, etc. You'll see it will hone your skills and makes the game very intense.

However IMO - I don't think the Doom b.g. fluff holds a candle to the 40K b.g. fluff, it's just so much richer and more developed - but I think Doom is the better game (check out my comparison for why).

I do think Doom does a better job of bringing it's world into the game.

D
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