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Dicemaster: Wilds of Doom» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Expansion review. rss

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Joe J.
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Wilds of Doom can't really be considered a game in and of itself, since it is more of an expansion to Dicemaster's Cities of Doom and requires the core set to use. Yet since it adds quite a bit to the core game, it kind of deserves its own review.

WoD adds 26 dice to the game, and unlike the core set, only one set of Wilds is needed for 2 players. The entire set is placed in a common reserve for both players to use. The dice come packaged with a vacu-formed tray to supposedly hold the dice during play, but it's really much too small to serve that purpose. No matter how hard you try, you can't fit all the dice into it without them spilling out. It's better to just put them on the table and off to one side for easier access. No instructions were packaged with the dice since the core set contained the only book necessary to play Cities, Wilds, and the use of the collectible dice in Doom Cubes. This review is written from the viewpoint that the reader already has knowledge of the core game.

The dice are several different sizes, some quite large, and all very well made, with bright colors, and for the most part, icons that are quite clear and easy to make out. I'll give kudos to I.C.E. for making some really nice dice. What you get are:
Ten 16mm, eleven 18mm, and five 22mm (thee d6, one d10, one d12) dice. They are separated by color so after few plays you can get what you need without having to look through a sea of similar icons. The ones that really stand out are the larger 22mm dice. Individually, they are -

Healing Potion: Bright blue d6 that heals 1-3 damage points. Players use a magic result from their preparation roll to roll this die and heal their character. This can reduce the amount of time spent recovering from a particularly bad combat.

The Special Encounter die (gray d6, black icons), determines which of the encounter dice will be rolled. It has 2 of each icon allowing either the Major or Special encounter dice, or allows your opponent to choose which will be rolled.

Major Combat: Large gray d12 with red icons. This is a really unpleasant die to have to face. The icons can cause the loss of a certain weapon, give monsters the ability to block your weapon hits during combat, reduce a character from experienced to beginner, or reduce a weapon from upgraded to normal.

Special Combat: Large gray d10 with light blue icons. This one is more annoying than dangerous, but can lead to your character taking a few knocks. This die has one icon to reduce characters or weapons, but the remaining icons either make the player face a massed creature attack or a great troll. Players first resolve the normal creature encounter before facing either of these.

Massed Creature attacks (seven gray/black d6), while not seeming like much when you read about it, can be a nasty surprise in combat. There are seven creature dice. Players add the values of the 2 site dice and the current landscape die to determine how many are used in combat, to a maximum of 7. These are fought one by one. They are valued from 1-3, not really that powerful, eh? The twist is that if you roll an identical result, it's added to the previous, so a 3 point goblin can become a 6 point baddie with a second rolled result, or a 9 with a third. Get where this is going? Suddenly the pipsqueaks get stronger. Players roll their combat dice one at a time to fight, removing any flaming skull dice until either all the monsters are beaten or they run out of combat dice. This is where most players take some damage. It's not an easy combat to get through if more than 4 massed creature dice are used.

The Great Troll (gray d6 with black icons, seven black/white d6 combat dice), attack isn't as bad, but could end up with the same result. This monster gets anywhere from 5-7 combat dice to beat you with, based on what was rolled on the d12. Your opponent then rolls the great troll die which is valued from 1-3. Each side also has a weapon icon in the lower left corner. The combat dice are rolled, and any icons that match that symbol are added to the troll's strength. Example: The troll is a value 3 with a sword. Your opponent rolls all of the combat dice (5-7), removes any flaming skulls, and adds any sword results. So the troll could have an added strength of 0 (if no sword results were rolled), or as much as 8-10 (if all combat dice rolled sword or other weapon results, which isn't likely). Players roll all of their combat dice against the great troll until the troll runs out of combat dice and is beaten, or they lose their combat dice and take damage.

Also included are 3 Eagle dice. These are rolled by your opponent (or you, on your turn), when a player moves. These are small d6 with eagle icons on only two sides. Each time a player moves their opponent rolls all three dice and keeps any eagle results. If only one or two are rolled they are placed into the player’s active area until their opponent’s turn ends or they manage to get all three results. When this happens, you force your opponent to retreat one landscape die and steal their turn, automatically moving to the landscape die they now occupy without having to use a provisions result. Sounds good in theory, but it doesn’t happen often.

Remaining are the Special Combat dice. These are three red/gold d6 that an experienced character may roll at the beginning of any combat. Results matching their weapons increase that weapon’s effectiveness by +1 (or more if more than one result is rolled). They also have the standard burning die icon which returns the die to the common reserve. There is also a slightly larger red/black d6 that is rolled whenever a white tree icon is rolled on the player’s combat dice. For each white tree a player may attempt to get an upgraded weapon, which allows for +1 to their combat total. Unfortunately, this die has 2 of the burning die icons, so it doesn’t always work the way you want it to.

So what do all these dice really do? Cities of Doom was already a pretty decent game, if a tad repetitive to play. Even using the standard rules it could get stale. Adding Wilds most certainly adds depth, complexity, and tension to the game, and also does quite a bit more to make it feel like the RPG it’s supposed to emulate, which is a big plus. There are two major drawbacks though. The first is that it adds a lot of play time as well. Not just a little, a lot. Players just adding these dice can plan on the game slowing to a crawl while they get everything figured out, adding a good 90 minutes or more to what was a fairly short game. After that, players can count on this game easily passing the two hour mark. Secondly is that it’s not an easy expansion to learn. Not that it’s impossible, but it will take some time to finally get the hang of what does what and when which die is rolled and how many times. It’s complicated in a way that surprised me. Characters will get wounded much more often, and you can count on the frustration level going up a few notches even for experienced players.

Even with its faults I can’t say that Wilds of Doom is a bad expansion. It does what it’s supposed to do, which no one can fault, and the dice are well made and aesthetically pleasing. So overall it would have to be a recommended addition to the game. Maybe not one you use every time you play, but something you add to break the monotony when Cities gets stale.

Keep rolling!
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