Patrick Reynolds
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***This review assumes the reader has a basic knowledge of the Doom Board Game. If you're unfamiliar with the game, here's a link to a super awesome review of the game right here on the 'Geek

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/32741

And if you've read my review of Doom and are now wondering if the game did indeed fall into my top five favorite games of 2005... it did not. Mainly because another game from FFG and designer Kevin Wilson, Descent, came along. With similar gameplay and rules but greater depth and balance, Descent pushed Doom off the table for me. This is important to this review, as the Doom expansion brings many elements from Descent into Doom, and all for the better of the core game.

When Doom was released a year ago, some players complained that there were some fairly serious balance issues - the marines didn't get enough ammo in some scenarios, the Invader player was too powerful, or the marines were too weak. Happily, the expansion has a fix for all of the complaints and loads of rules tweaks and changes to make things run more smoothly for all involved.

First things first - the expansion cleans up two mistakes from the original game. The berserk tokens, which were meant to have a colored side and a shaded side to denote when marines could use them were misprinted in the original game and had the same printing on both sides. The expansion includes replacement tokens. Second, the Invader deck 'Dud' cards get replaced with new versions that help with game balance. The original 'Dud' cards allowed the Invader to steal an ammo token from a marine regardless of whether the marine was making an attack. This card was especially hurtful if the marine made an attack that expended ammo already, by causing him to lose two tokens instead of one. The new cards require an attack that does not already expend ammo to be made, at which time the Invader can cause the marine to lose an ammo token.

In addition to those fixes, the game also borrows Descent's method of map setup and Invader deck management. Instead of stopping the game to lay out new areas of map tiles when the marines open a door, the entire map is now set up beforehand. Only monsters, obstacles and items are placed in newly revealed areas. This greatly reduces downtime during the game. On his turn, the Invader player now draws two cards from his deck regardless of the number of marines playing, just as in Descent. There are now two Invader decks, each with the same assortment of spawn cards but with different event cards. The Invader player chooses one deck to use at the start of the game. Also, there's an optional rules that allows the marines to take their turns in any order they choose, and the expansion includes tokens to keep track of which marines have taken their turn.

All of these changes make the core gameplay of Doom better. A more egotistical game designer might not have used the opportunity presented by an expansion to actually take into account some of the more serious complaints that players have had and address them. There are lots of othr optional tweaks in this set, such as difficulty settings that can make the game easier (or harder) for the marines. Other 'mods' include changes to weapons (unending pistols that never run out of ammo or shotguns that knock targets around). Taken as a whole, the mods and game fixes give Doom some added depth and replay value, which is always welcome in any game.

Now, with the changes and gameplay additions out of the way, it's time to talk about the good stuff - the new monsters, weapon, items and gameplay types.

You also get a slew of new monster types, all but one of which can be seamlessly integrated into the base game through a clever system of equivalency. Save for the Vagary, an enormous 'endgame boss' creature, each monster included in the expansion is equivalent to one of the original monsters. During setup, the Invader player can swap in any number of new monsters by taking their equivalent beasties out of the game. Then, during gameplay, any time the scenario or an Invader card calls for a monster, the Invader chooses whether to place the original creature or its equivalent. The new monsters come with some nasty new special abilities and give the Invader new options for dealing with those pesky marines.

The expansion set includes a new weapon, the Soul Cube, which collects soul tokens that are expended when fired. This ultimate weapon goes one better than even the mighty BFG by instantly killing its target on a hit! New airless terrain, airlocks, sentry bots, mega-health pickups and invisibility round out the pickups and items added to the game. New scenarios are also included, which continue where the five original ones left off and let the marines explore the realm of the Invaders.

Two new gameplay types are possibly my favorite expansion additions. Deathmatch and Capture the Flag allow for up to six players to go head-to-head in a marines-only battle. To facilitate this, the expanion includes three new chainsaw-wielding marine figures and additional equipment bins and order tokens. Deathmatch games are free-for-all battles that end when a player reaches the agreed-upon frag limit. Capture the Flag matches have each team attempting to infiltrate the others base, grab their flag and run it back to their home base to score. There are maps included for each of these game types, and rule changes for weapons and ammo to make them play fast and furious. Most importantly, these modes let an additional two players get their Doom on, which can help when you've got more than four gamers who want to play.

Overall, the Doom expansion is a solid offering that rounds out the core gameplay and adds plenty of new game types, items, scenarios, monsters and options to the game. I'd recommend this to both fans of the original game as well as those who had issues with it. I believe that both groups will find many things to like here.
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Dane Peacock
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Very nice review, and I agree with you on everything. Doom now falls into the category of expansion required. The improvements are tremendous.

I also like that you gave credit to the designers for releasing an expansion that not only addresses player's issues, but does so much more to improve gameplay.

It is really starting to annoy me that some people are claiming to be playtesters for the expansion, because they complained loudly about the original. Give me a break. There are complaints about nearly every game out there, and most go unaddressed. With this expansion, the designers have shown their dedication to the game and made it great. That should be complimented, not disparaged.
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Steve Bernhardt
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Agreed, the improvements in Descent have circled back to Doom. My girlfriend and I were drooling over the expansion the other night and are looking forward to playing!

The expansion was not mandatory, but more monsters, cards, deathmatches, etc HAVE to help keeping the game fresh for people who play a lot. I think an expansion for this game is very appropriate, considering its nature. Time will tell if FFG should be releasing an expansion to Arkham Horror.
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Michael Fitch
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Re: Those who disliked Doom TBG might want to take a second
Nice review. I have Doom, but I haven't had a chance to play it yet. I've been concerned about it's playability after reading some of the stuff people have been saying about it. But after reading the rules for the Expansion Set I'm definitely going to pick it up as it seems to address some gameplay issues as you've mentioned in your review above. Plus it adds additional game play elements (more invaders, invader cards, oxygen tank/airless spaces, CtF, Deathmatch...) I'm with Dane, this is the kind of expansion that should be commended. I also think that dungeon crawl and exploration type games (Descent, Doom, Arkham Horror, Runebound, etc) are particularly well suited for expansions because it adds more variety to the game play by adding different encounters, events, etc.

As an aside, I had a chance to play Descent for the first time last week, and it was a blast! Now I'm looking forward to giving Doom w/ Expansion a whirl.

 
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Re: Those who disliked Doom TBG might want to take a second
franklincobb wrote:
I'm getting a little "expansion-weary", truth be told. I left the world of CCGs because I tired of endless expansion sets. Now it seems every popular board game gets one.

Yes, but with CCG's you mostly HAVE to but new cards to keep up with the other gamers. Not with boardgames, since everyone's using the same set, not their own.

I agree that the base Doom is good enough, but this looks nice, especially the DM and CTF mods, I'm gonna get this!
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Well, I think the one poster is correct...you don't have to have this expansion to incorporate most of the items in it. But, as a fan of the game, it was an expansion that I WANTED. It's nice to have dedicated pieces for airless terrain (and the couple extra regular map board pieces too). It gives alot more flexibility. The extra invaders add something different that their "brothers" didn't have. The new cards for the marines and the new deck (with fixed Dud cards) add alot, as well. I, personally, would rather have the bits that matched the game already.

Do you need it? No. But from the amount that was added, I feel that any worries about replayability have been addressed.
 
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I love Doom, have the expansion and Descent but haven't played them yet...but I have to wonder about the benefit of "laying the map out beforehand." That seems to take away from the whole exploration/unknown factor, which really adds to the atmosphere for the marines/adventurers...
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Ken B.
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Re: Those who disliked Doom TBG might want to take a second
Well, sure...the first time. Or even the first few times. After that, though, you're just going through the motions.

I would recommend first time marines "explore the unknown", but after that, I'd leave what they explored for their next go-round. Once they've seen the entire level, it's just a hassle to form the board as you go.


And for gamers on a time budget, there's no question--the tremendous time savings from laying out everything from the get-go can cut down play time DRAMATICALLY.
 
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Patrick Reynolds
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I'm sorry, but comparing something like this expansion, which released a year after the original Doom game, to the 'new expansion every couple of months' schedule that CCGs like Magic follow seems kind of out of whack.

Sure, this expansion isn't necessary - if you're not interested in new monsters, new cards, new scenarios, and new gameplay types.
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Ken B.
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Re: Those who disliked Doom TBG might want to take a second
pkreynolds wrote:
I'm sorry, but comparing something like this expansion, which released a year after the original Doom game, to the 'new expansion every couple of months' schedule that CCGs like Magic follow seems kind of out of whack.

Sure, this expansion isn't necessary - if you're not interested in new monsters, new cards, new scenarios, and new gameplay types.



Well, to be fair it's not just Doom, it's the summation of lots of board game expansions. If, like me, you are a fan of lots of different board games, it begins to feel like a crushing wave of expansions.

That's a good point about them being optional--if you don't own it, then both players are in the same boat. However, I don't want the board game market to get into the same rut that the video game market is mired in--when something is a "hit", you get yearly updates to the same game...tired sequels...ad naseum.


I do suppose that if someone played Doom very heavily, they would welcome the new scenarios. I haven't exhausted the base game's possibilities nor the countless free scenarios available online, so I may not be the target market for this. That's cool. As I said, I'm a fan of the game, so don't take my criticisms the wrong way.
 
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Per Holmström
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Re: Those who disliked Doom TBG might want to take a second
franklincobb wrote:
Well, to be fair it's not just Doom, it's the summation of lots of board game expansions. If, like me, you are a fan of lots of different board games, it begins to feel like a crushing wave of expansions.


That is true. Have a look at Runebound! It's got 8 expansions already. OK 7 of them are just new decks with events and stuff to buy in the game. But still. It's alot.

BUT! I love DOOM! And I think this expansion will be superb!
 
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Anders Pedersen
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pkreynolds wrote:
In addition to those fixes, the game also borrows Descent's method of map setup and Invader deck management. Instead of stopping the game to lay out new areas of map tiles when the marines open a door, the entire map is now set up beforehand. Only monsters, obstacles and items are placed in newly revealed areas.


I cannot find this anywhere in the rules. As far as I can tell, it is only in "Deathmatch" and "Capture the Flag" that the map is laid out beforehand.
Am I missing something?
 
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Ryan Abrams
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dbc- wrote:
pkreynolds wrote:
In addition to those fixes, the game also borrows Descent's method of map setup and Invader deck management. Instead of stopping the game to lay out new areas of map tiles when the marines open a door, the entire map is now set up beforehand. Only monsters, obstacles and items are placed in newly revealed areas.


I cannot find this anywhere in the rules. As far as I can tell, it is only in "Deathmatch" and "Capture the Flag" that the map is laid out beforehand.
Am I missing something?


Don't think you are actually. I purchased the expansion based on this review, and that was one of the first things I looked for in the rules. It doesn't seem to be there.

I'm wondering how much just setting up like that anyway would hurt the game. I think if you were to keep the doors off of the board, you could eliminate a bunch of the planning ahead, while gaining the benefits of the advance setup.
 
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Re: Those who disliked Doom TBG might want to take a second
ryanabrams wrote:
dbc- wrote:
pkreynolds wrote:
In addition to those fixes, the game also borrows Descent's method of map setup and Invader deck management. Instead of stopping the game to lay out new areas of map tiles when the marines open a door, the entire map is now set up beforehand. Only monsters, obstacles and items are placed in newly revealed areas.


I cannot find this anywhere in the rules. As far as I can tell, it is only in "Deathmatch" and "Capture the Flag" that the map is laid out beforehand.
Am I missing something?


Don't think you are actually. I purchased the expansion based on this review, and that was one of the first things I looked for in the rules. It doesn't seem to be there.

I'm wondering how much just setting up like that anyway would hurt the game. I think if you were to keep the doors off of the board, you could eliminate a bunch of the planning ahead, while gaining the benefits of the advance setup.




I think a few runs through a scenario "blind" would be preferrable. After that, laying out everything in advance would hurt nothing. All you'd do is mark the explored tiles with a token, penny, or bead to show that they can be spawned on.

I wouldn't want to lose the "oh, wow!" factor at first, but after that you're just going through the motions when they know what's up ahead. A cool thing to do might be to lay out just what they've explored before so they would "know" the level to that point, sort of like the video game.


It's certainly an alternate way to play that's worth exploring, particluarly to the time-compressed.
 
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Jay Moore
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Re: Those who disliked Doom TBG might want to take a second
Thanks for this great review - I know it's been here a while, but I finally decided to buy the expansion, and your review is why. It's nice to see all the changes made to the base game - I think it'll be a much more fun game to play now.

Here's a for your effort.
 
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