Well, this Christmas I got the Doom boardgame, and took it along to play with friends at new year. I was a fan of the original doom games, and thought the game looked like the sort of game I love, a MB Space Crusade style game with elements of Space Hulk.
I wasn't wrong. In fact, if you took the Space Crusade game concept, used the tiles from Space Hulk, and then built the game around the Doom background, there you have it. Having said that, it's been done so well, I'd rather play this any day, as it's a much smoother, sleeker and well thought out game.
I played the Invader, having played the Alien many times in Space Crusade, and as it was my game, really wanted to know all the ins and outs of the game.
Our first game was a bit unusual in that I got lots of big monsters at the start, and the players despaired even before they got out of the first couple of sections.
Second game it went the other way, I had lots of orders and few creatures. Even after lots of card shuffling! This was more beneficial for the players I felt, but even still it was all fairly easy for me.
Third game and it played well, but we felt like we were in a hellish deja-vu. Even despite saying they thought they were doing really well compared to previous games, things just got on top of them very quickly.
Fourth game, it was going really well till a slight tactical mistake cost the marines the game. It wasn't the sort of thing that should have punished them so hard, but it's a very unforgiving game! We decided to carry on past the six frags to see if the game could be done, and some 20-odd frags later, and out of ammo, they gave up.
They'd have been better just saying after every sixty minutes that if things weren't going really well, it was time to restart the game. We did joke about using my digital camera to 'save' the game, and this would make a good feature I feel if the players were alllowed a save (time freeze, chrono-stasis or wotever!).
The componants are superb, heavy duty full colour card stock, and a small sackload of impressive figures. In the UK I paid £35 for it, and I think it was a real bargain.
I enjoyed the game, I thought the mechanics were simple to use but had a lot to them. i.e. the dice which fulfilled three functions at once without seeming complicated Range/Damage/Ammo Loss.
The players didn't enjoy playing the game, because it was so damned hard. They never once in four games got close to completeing the first scenario. The first scenario of any game should be a quick tutorial on how to play the game, have some fun, and then get stuck into something more challenging. As experienced players of games they felt that despite knowing how to play the game, and knowing the map layout from playing the game before there was something seriously wrong if they couldn't complete it, and I found it hard to disagree.
Playing time was typically 4 hours, although we got this down to 2 and a half in one game. The Sixty - Ninety Minutes on the box seemed like a cruel joke.
I only wish I'd seen the website and the difficulty card mod first. Or even better, if the scenarios had been adequately playtested.
In addition, the players felt that if they had event cards, then it might have given them some feeling of control back over the game. I agreed, the marine cards were good, and perhaps the marines should feel a bit powerless beyond what they can do with their guns, but even still, it being so hard it unbalanced it. Players need to feel that good playing and decent luck is all they need to win, if they have that and still lose, it's crushing.
There's no problem I have with the game itself beyond the difficulty of scenarios, which is hopefully fixed by the two card rule and difficulty mods, and we all agree we thought it was excellantly done.
As a Doom boardgame, I was impressed. I hadn't played doom 3, so it took a while to remember what aliens were which, but I really felt it was a good boardgame version of the game, very faithful, and it worked! I previously hadn't been sure why the game had been made or if it would work, but it did.
A great game, can't wait to play again.