Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Massive Darkness - an OK dungeon crawl board game.

Link to BGG is HERE for those who want to know more about the game.

This week my old rebellious retainer appeared for some games (he said something about being on holidays).  He brought along with him Massive Darkness, and massive is an apt word for the game and its contents.

The game play is fairly standard for dungeon delving games.  What marked it as different was the player board - a hard plastic tray to show what your characters are equipped with and their experience points tracker.  I liked this purely for the fact that the options were all there for all to see, the experience tracker certainly beats having tokens by the dozen to spend when needed.

The dice are the game breakers in this game, you can never have more that 3 die regardless of how many extras may be generated by equipment cards.  Level 2 and 4 treasure cards were from what I could see the only ones where there were set collection equipment, level 2 had the Kings set (armour, weapon and item) where the level 4 had the Knights set (again I think it was armour, weapon and item or it may have been another piece of armour).  I obtained the Kings set and never really found another combination of items that changed my game play.  This was with my sorcerer who essentially acted as a warrior-mage, never used any magic!

The light and dark zone mechanic was an interesting concept with some abilities only working in either zone tile.

In a nutshell players would activate their characters in clockwise order.  This proved to be a pain, especially when you wanted a particular character to activate first to obtain an advantage in a certain situation.  Players could move, open doors, obtain chests, initiate combat and then spend experience. (Not in that order.)

What frustrated me until I started to see the mechanics of the game was that while you may finish a particular scenario with high level treasure items equipped, you had to have items that could be equipped at the level of the highest character in the group.  For example you may have worked your way through and obtained level 4 items, but the highest level character is 2 - when you start the next scenario you could not equip straight off the highest level items, you were restricted to level 2 only.  While during play you could hold as many items as possible, at the end and before the next game, you could only have the three pieces equipped on your player board plus up to 6.  We found that in our games we had to have and keep items of a lower level for when the circumstances required it.

The ability to use/equip items came from the board section that had activated.  Certainly racing to a board section to active your level 5 items might seem like a good idea, but it also means that the monsters activated are then level 5 and great roaming monsters than if you were still only on level 2 activation to start with.

All up the game had some game mechanics I liked and would incorporate into other home made rules, playing the scenarios as a story is by far the most rewarding way to play the game.  As this was the only way we played I couldn't comment on the other play mode.  What sold me on the game was the miniatures, I believe the set I was playing against was a Kickstarter set, so the monsters were plentiful.  The difficulty I had with the figures were that they literally could not fit onto the board sections when in play, especially if you had 8 of them!

If I were to get this game it honestly would only be for the miniatures.  The games replay-ability is limited in my opinion, there are cheaper dungeon crawl games out their.  The colour green and blue were poor choices when it came to printing on the cards, very hard to differentiate what colour was to be used.

Starting out, not even equipped yet with starting items.

The four adventures just manage to fit into a tile section
of the board, just don't add monsters!

Throw in some monsters and chests and the room tile becomes
very cluttered, and that's just one hero in there.

The EXIT, the most important place to get to to win the scenario.

Someone did not react well to the large monster, it was
I believe the largest game piece in the game

Fighting very large spider.

Another large monster.

Ajax the warrior-mage, he's supposed to me a mage but with the
equipment he was just better equipped to close combat.

Malleus the warrior-priest, favourite weapon a javelin.

Till next time.

The Hon. John

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