I remember when I was little, going over to my aunt and uncle’s house and playing the very first version of DOOM on their computer with my cousins. We thought it was the coolest and scariest thing ever in all its pixelated glory. Monsters, and evil plots and screens so dark you can barely see what’s coming at you around the corner. It was a blast. Then when it came out on Super Nintendo, you better believe my brother and I were all over that. I’m pretty sure we ended up using the Game Genie to get through most of it (look it up, kiddos). Fast forward a few decades and my husband is buying the latest version for our Playstation and completely geeking out over the Easter Eggs that lead you into areas of the original game. Whaaaaaaat?!
Needless to say, Doom holds a special place in my game-loving heart, so when our friend said he had the new board game version of Doom, I was super excited to try it out.
Now I’m not a professional board game reviewer (yes, such a thing does exist) by any means so these are more just my thoughts as an old school Doom fan and civilian board game player.
Lots of Fun Little Pieces
This is one of those games that has a million pieces but in this instance, instead of those pieces being markers for a million different rules you have to learn, they are all player pieces. The “bad guys” to be exact. There are dozens of them. We only played through the game once and didn’t use them all because you can select which ones you want to use each time you play. The instructions, of course, provide suggestions for those who don’t want to make those decisions themselves but I love games that have this sort of flexibility. The Legendary deck building game Big Trouble in Little China that we started playing recently is similar (more on that in another post). Each time you play, you select which characters you want to use so the game is different every time you play. SUCH A GOOD IDEA! This may be old news to long time gamers but it’s only been about a year since we’ve been really getting into a wider variety of board games so the concept was new to us and we love it.
When you get the game, good guys are all grey and bad guys are all beige but our friend actually took the time to paint each and every one of them with a teenie little tiny little paint brush according to what colors they are in the video game. This is actually a thing…that people do…for fun…painting miniatures. Our friend actually said it was miserable because there were so many of them and he’d never do it again. They did look amazing though and I know there are people out there who do love this sort of thing so if you’re one of them, that’s another point to put in the pros column for this game. For everyone else, there are still a ton of characters to choose from and they still look pretty cool and super detailed even unpainted.
Not only can the characters change out each time you play, but the actual board can change too. There are a bunch of interlocking squares and several layouts to choose from. You choose a layout and find the coordinating squares to put together and create your board. It does take a bit of time to hunt and find the right square to put in the right spot. All of the pieces are two sided and it’s not like they’re brightly color coded so you have to notice the subtle differences in the layout picture and then find that specific square.
Yes, they even figured out a way to incorporate glory kills into the board game version. Granted, they’re not nearly as graphic and therefore not as gratifying as the video game version, but it’s still great that they worked that mechanic into it. Just use your imagination, people!
Overall, I did enjoy the game quite a bit (despite the huge amount of yelling and arguing that ensued during the game…mainly from me) but I do wonder if it was more because of nostalgia than because of the game actually being great because there are several pretty big cons to this game as well.
Sooo Much Yelling!
Maybe this wouldn’t happen with another group of people, but when I’m involved, there’s a lot of yelling involved. The DOOM video games are first person shooter, meaning you don’t really have to work with others much, if at all, to get the job done. You go around on your own, kill stuff, complete your missions and all is well. The board game, however, is cooperative, meaning you have to work with the other good guys (up to 4 total) to win the game. Now, it’s only because the board game did such a good job of creating the same intense, keep you on your toes, you never know whats coming next feeling that the video games have, that this can become a problem. Once you get through the first round and realize “Crap, we need to move a lot faster to accomplish the missions but everyone has a different idea of how to win and why the heck did eight new monsters just spawn on the board!”, things can get a little loud.
Ultimately, the good guys lost in our game, but I maintain it was because we didn’t follow my plan. ;P In some ways, this just added to the excitement of the game but for people who prefer a more peaceful sort of cooperative game, this probably isn’t the game for you. Then again, if you were looking for a peaceful game, you probably wouldn’t be playing anything called “DOOM” to begin with. 🙂
Wait, it’s STILL not my turn?
This was probably the biggest problem of the game for me. Good guys get the short end of the stick when it comes to play time. This is because multiple bad guys spawn each round and each of those bad guys gets their own turn. One player is in charge of playing all of the bad guys’ turns and each good guy player just has their one good guy’s turn to play. Unless you spend the entire game doing nothing but attacking the demons, which is useless until you acquire better weapons later in the game anyway, there are always going to be a ton of demons everywhere, and therefore, a ton of demons taking turns.
I think the first round started out with 4 and then another 3-4 spawned each round. So basically, for the bulk of the game, you’re taking your turn, then waiting through the other 3 good guy turns and anywhere from 4-7+ bad guy turns. That’s a minimum of 7 turns that you’re waiting through! And that’s just for the first round! Sooooo annoying! You spend most of the time watching these demons attack your marine but then when you FINALLY do get a turn, you don’t have the time to fight back because you have to focus on completing your missions. Ugh! It’s torture.
I’m curious to play the game as the bad guy to see if it’s any better. Maybe it’s one of those things where it’s so amazingly fun being the bad guy that it makes it worthwhile to tough it out through the times you have to play the game as one of the marines. If I ever find out I’ll post an update.
So you’re saying I can’t play this card now?
Maybe I’m just not skilled enough but I found the rules for what types of cards you can play when a little annoying. With most deck building games, if it’s in your hand right now, you can play it. In DOOM, the little symbols in the black circles on the left determine whether you can play that card or not. Certain symbols you can only play one of per turn. Others you can only use when you’re being attacked but you can’t actually use them during your turn. All of these rules really limit what you can get done damage wise at the beginning of the game. You’re pretty much useless until the last few rounds when you’ve built up your deck, but at that point, you’re scrambling to complete your mission before all of your comrades are dead so there’s no time to truly enjoy the awesomeness you may have in your hand.
And it’s pretty pricey
As of right now, it’s kind of pricey. I’m sure that will come down in the next few months though. It’s understandable that this isn’t a cheap game simply because it’s such a big brand name and also because of the dozens of intricate and detailed figures that come with it. Even so, I think I’d rather buy a used copy for cheaper than buy a brand new one. I’m sure we’ll end up playing this again but not enough to buy a new copy. If you’re a die hard DOOM fan, love to paint miniatures or plan on playing this a million times until you’ve gone through every feasible variation of the game possible, then a brand spankin’ new copy makes perfect sense.
Overall, I did enjoy the game but found the unbalanced play time really irritating. Maybe if we had spent the time between our turns planning our attack instead of killing the time with small talk, the marines would have won. Has anyone else played DOOM the board game before? What did you think? What other video games from your childhood do you have fond memories of? Comment below!