Monday, 3 August 2015

Review: Doom Board Game

Best PC game ever? Got to be Doom, right? Running round corridors and blowing apart everything in sight. Both 1 & 2 were gaming classics and 3, well, 3 was a bit different. 3 was more slow and careful rather than running in all guns blazing. I remember the instruction manual for 3 (yes, I actually read it) said to turn off the lights and turn up the sound. So I did. And had a few monster-fighting dreams for weeks afterwards.

It doesn't seem like the most likely subject to turn into a board game. That didn't stop someone from trying.

I've always thought that the Doom demons would make amazing action figures. I'm still surprised that no company has ever released any. We do, however, have all the miniatures that come with this game (except, despite the protests from the ebay seller I bought this from, I have none of the marines, hence some of the more unusual replacements in the photos). They come in 3 different colours, the colours doing nothing other than to ensure the number of monsters taking part in the game relates to the number of marines (/players) taking part in the game. At some point I'll likely paint them all, leaving the bottom of the bases their original plastic colour.

The game is based on Doom 3, using the basic plot, graphics and monsters from that version. On paper, it seems really good. The rules are relatively simple and teachable to 6 year olds in the space of the space of a few minutes. Cue lots of excitement all round.

But then you actually start playing and you'll quickly notice a fatal flaw: the game is just so darn slow.

Not for everyone, however. The marines' turn is quite quick, essentially move and shoot. The player in control of the demons, however, is able to move all his demons on every turn. Think about that for a minute: there are usually quite a few demons on the board at one time, and one player can move and attack with all of them. Meanwhile the marine players sit around and have a cup of tea, go to the toilet, go bed and have their turn the following day... It's not like the marines even get to roll dice to defend themselves when they're attacked - the defense is simply calculated based on their level of armour.

Things slow down even more when a marine enters a new room. You see each room is only set up when a marine enters it, thus maintaining some of the mystery, but setting it up takes several minutes as the demon player finds the right board pieces amongst the big pile and then all the tokens and demons etc. Cue the marine players having another nap.

I guess all this isn't too bad if you've got a few friends round playing, complete with a bunch of beers, but my only opponents are some children. Their initial excitement very quickly turned into boredom.

We've played a few games but I think in future we're going to have to implement a heap of house rules to speed things up. It's not a bad game, it just needs a bunch of tweaks to make it more Doom 1 & 2 'all guns blazing' rather than 'slow and cautious' Doom 3.

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