The chair creaks as you settle onto it. The candlelight flickers. All around you the ravenous faces of your so-called friends twist in delight as you slowly open the box laid out on the table. Welcome to Dangerous Games! Each week, we'll feature a horror/thriller/monster tabletop game you should be playing. Don't be scared… roll the dice… what's the worst that could happen?
Doom: The Board Game (2004)
The hiss of pressurized air fills the silent halls of the Union Aerospace Corporations base on Mars. You'r body welcomes the half-shift of sleep you've got scheduled next. When the klaxon alarms begin to pierce the compound, you figure it's just a test, or a malfunction with the alarms. But then the corporal's voice, so seldom heard, rings out over the PA system. "This is not a drill. All marines and security personal suit up. There's been a breach in the dimensional gateway facility! Red alert!"
In Doom: The Board Game, one to three players face off against another player playing as the Game Master. Through various scenarios, the Marines will attempt to survive, stop the menace pouring out of the dimensional gates, and outwit the Game Master. The Game Master's job, quite simply and in every scenario, is to kill all the players.
The board to Doom: The Board Game is modular in an effort to emulate the famous PC first person shooter in which this game is based. As Marines explore the area, they flip tiles or cards to decide which room they walk into next. The fear of the unknown, so crucial in the video game, is present here through the machinations of the Game Master. He or she decides what jumps out of the darkness by drawing cards from a deck of monsters and then placing those plastic miniatures down on the board.
Each scenario (of which the base game has nine) offers different rules for set-up, as well as special rules, an end goal, and lots of flavor. The Marines roll dice to try and shoot the monsters, and each gun has its own special die. When rolling, you either hit, miss, or jam your gun (not cool). As mentioned above, if all Marines are killed by monsters, the Game Master wins. If they complete their objective, the Marines win!
Because of the vast support this game has had after its print run there are tons of different scenarios and campaigns to play through. The game itself comes with enough scenarios to keep you and your friends busy for a while. But it's very easily customizable, and you and your friends will soon be thinking of all kinds of different game modes to play with.
This isn't the type of game I normally gravitate toward. Maybe it's a bias against franchised games (especially video game franchises), but something always rubbed me the wrong way about games like this. But that was before I tried this game. A member of my gaming group suggested it for this article, and she was dead right. It's a perfect horror game. It's gory, creepy, menacing, and full of flavor. Even if you've never played the groundbreaking video game, you need to seek this out. Just… you know, save up for it. The asking price on eBay right now is around $150!