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Author Topic: Claustrophobia (a sort of review)  (Read 641 times)
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WorkingMike
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« on: November 02, 2012, 01:30:14 AM »

In a nutshell, buy this game.

This is the most well balanced, fun boardgame I've yet played. It's two player tactical, in the vein of Space Hulk. The premise is that a paladin (called a Redeemer) is leading a band of convicts into the caverns of hell, where the demons wait to destroy the warband. It's scenario based, with quite a few included scenarios, plus an expansion is available that offers even more. The mini's are pre-painted and really quite nicely done. The tiles are heavy and stay in place quite well. This is a good looking, well crafted game.

One of the most novel game mechanics is how the humans assign their stats. The human player rolls 4 dice and then assigns them to the warrior of their choice (barring an event card the demon player could possess which allows that player to assign them). The Redeemers powers are linked to particular numbers. If you place that dice on the warriors "line of action" then you are able to use that power (healing, holy smite, etc...). When the warrior takes damage then you must choose a line of action to cancel, thereby leading to exhaustion and ultimately death. Meanwhile, the demons roll dice and assign troops to the field and use certain powers. There are never-ending waves of troglodytes to place (although each side is restricted to 3 units per tile, 1 in narrow passages) and demon bosses (which may be fielded only 1 at a time, but are vastly more powerful).

One game we played had me venturing down a passage. I had split my forces into 3 groups, with two heavies entering the main corridor and my faster, more nimble units exploring the side passages. The demon player kept using an event card called "lost" which allowed him to view the next three tiles, placing one and putting the other two back down in any order. The end result was my main force becoming trapped at a dead end in the main passage, while my scout stumbled across a lair of trogs. The resolution of swift and brutal, my friend cackling as he cut me down.

Another scenario had us being forced one at a time through a narrow passage. My Redeemer was cut off, troglodytes placed between my main force and he and with our objective simply one room away. Do I press on or go back for my most powerful unit? I decided he was an acceptable loss and moved forward, and eventually whittled the main demon down to but one mere point of health. My opponent used a "terror" card which forced me back into the hall becoming trapped by his lesser units where he whittled me down. It was tense and could have gone either way, with me cursing my poor dice rolls and him cursing what luck I did have.

The play is quick and amazingly even, with an average game lasting an hour or so. It truly conveys the desperation of the humans, as each step leads them closer to victory or death. Traps, flooded tunnels, lairs of troglodytes and narrow passages are always just around the corner, and victory can be just a good roll of the dice and a single advantage card away.
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hepcat
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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2012, 03:08:47 PM »

Cool write up, thanks!
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WorkingMike
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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2013, 05:24:03 AM »

So I got the expansion for Xmas and just this week we finally got some play time in. The new units are hellhounds and assassins. Additionally it brings new cards, tiles and scenarios into play and changes a couple of rules (demon players are limited to 3 event cards in hand, etc...)

The scenarios have been excellent thus far, with us playing the 1st two repeatedly in order to get feel for the changes. The expansion is a must have if you own the base game.
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Bullwinkle
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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2013, 12:05:32 PM »

The expansion has a female character, too, right?  This was one of the reasons I was going to get it (it would make my daughter happy).

I picked up the game a while ago, but haven't played it.  Have a few too many of those dungeon crawlers, plus we're focused on Mice and Mystics (of course, this didn't stop me from picking up Super Dungeon Explore when I saw it on sale).

I read the rules, though, and the game really does seem pretty great.  I hope to get some time with it at some point.
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WorkingMike
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« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2013, 03:32:28 PM »

yup, those are the assassins (I think they are called Sicaria?). We haven't fielded them yet, maybe tonight we'll get further along in the scenarios.

Of the dungeon crawlers I've played (Descent, Space Hulk, etc...) this is the stand out. The only other one that has come close is Incursion.
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