What is it? Action. Guns vs. Demons.
The deets: 2-5 players, 120-180min
Designer: Jonathan Ying
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Fantasy Flight Games surprised us with a week-long series of new game announcements right before Gen Con, one of which happened to be a new version of Doom: The Board Game. Makes sense, what with a brand new video game release just recently. I’d never played the original board game, but hey, space marines versus giant demonic creatures? Sounds like fun.
Doom is a tactical combat game. It’s not a desperate survival game. Sure, you want your marines to survive, but this is all about running and gunning and taking down your opponents before they can take you down. No hiding, no sneaking.
One player controls the demons, the rest control marines. Initiative is determined by a random card draw, so you can never be too sure when you get to move.
On your turn, you can play one primary card, which determines your movement and combat abilities. You can supplement that with secondary cards that may grant additional movement or attacks. You’ll use these to run around and fire awesome guns at nasty baddies. If you manage to get an opponent down to three HP or less, you can just charge right into them and destroy them, earning a glory card.
Combat is dice-based, with your dice pool determined by the cards you played. The defender flips over a card from their deck to determine their defense (a number of shields may be printed on the top right) and can also play certain cards in response.
There’s a small deck-building element. When you pick up weapons you add new cards to your deck to give you more possible options. I think you could also pick up items to get more cards, but we didn’t see everything the game had to offer.
The game includes scenarios with different goals, but death is a completely viable way to lose. In the scenario we tried, we had to activate teleporters and then collect certain items and toss them into those teleporters. The map is filled with doors and walls and other obstacles that you can try to use to your tactical advantage.
Oh, and the minis. The minis are beautifully detailed and there are some big, scary monsters.
There are a lot of tactical minis games out there these days. Doom may not be a game-changer, but if you enjoy the IP or you love these types of games, it’s certainly worth a look. It felt very action-packed and the rules didn’t seem to complicated, even if it’s not the most unique offering of the year. Sometime you just want to gun down some evil demons, you know?
I do wonder, given Fantasy Flight’s new app-based game development, if we’ll eventually see a Doom app that lets you play the game fully cooperatively. Even if it is technically a “team” game of 1 vs many, it’s hard to escape that feel that it should be cooperative except that one player has to manage the Dungeon Master role.
Doom should be available by the end of the year, which probably means early 2017.