Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Stuff I like 03: Doom!

Board games. I luvs t3h board games. I'm not a proper board game geek, mind you, that is, I'm not one of those connoiseurs who have sampled all the standard Eurogames named after some city or other (e.g. Panama, Peurto Rico, Carcassonne) and frankly, I'm not interested. I'm a total sucker for a boardgame with bling. As such, Doom (the boardgame) easily ranks among my favourites, largely because playing the Bad Guy appeals to my inner homicidal maniac.

Here's a short review of Doom:

- It's based on Doom 3. For the uncultured philistines out there who know nothing of the Doom series, Doom 1 and 2 were the games that pretty much defined FPS as a genre. Doom 3 was one of the most awaited sequels of all time, placing you in the role of a ruff and ready marine on a research station on Mars fighting hordes of bloodthirsty demons. Computer graphics had advanced a hell of a lot in the 10 years between Doom 2 and 3, so Doom 3's violence was very, very graphic indeed. Strongly recommend trying Doom 3 withs lights off and volume up. And a friend nearby who knows CPR.

- Quality of the pieces is top notch. LOTS of plastic figures, excellent moulding, very receptive to a little love with paint. If you've ever done a little table top wargaming, the kind of techniques used by Games Workshop will do very nicely indeed. Because everybody knows nicely painted minis equate to better luck on the dice, 'onest, guv.

- LOTS of little counters and bits. I bunged 'em all in a cheap plastic desk caddy with lotsa wee compartments. Saves hell of a lot of time sorting a health counter from an armour token from an ammo token from a weapon token from the keys...

- Average-ish complexity. It takes about half an hour for someone with reasonable math skills to get familiar with the rules. I mean REAL maths skills, not accounting. I played this with a bunch of accountants once and to be honest, all that bean counting seemed to have crippled their cognitive abilities.

- Each player takes it in turns to make their moves, with up to three marines against the Bad Guy. Each marine player controls one marine, together with his ludicrous arsenal of weapons and some randomly drawn skills and abilities. The Bad Guy controls teeming hordes of demons, has a handful of cards allowing him to play dirty tricks, spawn more demons and sometimes manipulate the board itself. Combat is resolved by rolling an assortment of prettily coloured dice. Yes, there's a BFG. Yes, the Cyberdemon is there, too.

- The cheat sheet summarising the creature and weapons stats is a completely bloody useless mess of meaningless glyphs. Understandable, I suppose, since it lets the game be printed in multiple languages, with only the rule book and scenario book needing changing. Doesn't change the fact that the cheat sheet is crap. So I made my own. Bug me if you want one. It's colourful.

- The game plays best with:
1) An appropriate soundtrack. Something techno-industrial-ish should do fine.
2) A very experienced player as the Bad Guy who remembers that the object is NOT to win, but to have fun.
3) Teamwork and fast thinking on the part of the marines. Mostly coz the lack of it makes for a very, very short game.
4) Painted minis! Coz they're just awesome!

- Long story short, this game's a damn good way to spend 2-3 hours with a friend or two or three. Fans of the computer game should be warned that it's a very, very different experience indeed. Mindless violence will not bring victory to the marine. And as a friend commented, it's got a really low refresh rate.

Of course, just one board game is far from enough to feed the diabolical urges of my inner nutter, so at some point I do hope to expand my collection, starting with Mwahahaha! No, really, I'm serious. The game's called Mwahahaha! and you play a mad scientist bent on world domination. Check it out.

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