The Darkness is Massive…and Quite Random


“Massive Darkness”

designed by Raphael Guiton, Jean-Baptiste Lullien, & Nicolas Raoult, published by Cool Mini or Not

The Quick Summary:  A classic dungeon crawler game with a predetermined map where 1 to 6 heroes try to achieve their objectives while fighting monsters. You play as heroes with specific abilities complemented by a class that brings another set of abilities. You will rely on three actions per turn to move, to open doors, to fight and to pick up loot. As you progress from tile to tile, the level of difficulty and quality of loot increases and you gain experience points to purchase better skills.

The Awesome:

  • Great looking miniatures.
  • A lot of variety when it comes to characters because you can pick different classes for your hero.
  • Character development allows you to personalize your hero.

The Good:

  • A lot of variety when it comes to loot and monster types (mobs of weaker monsters, powerful roaming monsters and agents that summon mobs).
  • Can be played solo. – Difficulty can vary a lot so it brings a little thrill.
  • Many quests have objectives or special rules that depart from the usual « Kill the Big Monster » missions.
  • Comes with a Story mode (but see The Bad).
  • Event cards at the end of each turn can change the momentum of the game.

The Bad:

  • A bit long (2.5 – 3h per game).
  • Can feel repetitive sometimes (move, open a door, kill monsters, repeat).
  • Story mode (campaign mode) was not play tested enough. Works well in the beginning but your group quickly becomes overpowered.
  • Too much loot, way too much loot unless you play 6 heroes.

The Ugly:

  • Highly random, which often makes the game too easy or too hard (mostly too easy).
  • Once your group has looted many level 2 chests (out of 5 levels) they usually become powerful enough to finish most quests easily.

Keep It or Leave It?  I will keep this game because I’m a big fan of dungeon crawlers. When I don’t have my brain and just want to kill monsters this would compete with “Zombicide: Black Plague” or “Descent” (when I want to use my brain a little).

Review by Sébastien



Survival of the Meanest

30-Second Boardgames Reviews Survive! Escape from Atlantis!

“Survive!  Escape from Atlantis!” – 30th Anniversary Edition

designed by Julian Courtland Smith, published by Stronghold Games

Escape from the sinking island of Atlantis by putting your 10 survivors on boats while sending sharks, whales, and the dreaded sea serpent to your enemies. Each turn you move your hapless survivors off of the sinking island of Atlantis and closer to safe isles, either on a boat, or through an achingly slow swim. Then you draw a tile as the island “sinks.” Maybe a shark or whale or appear, or even a boat, or you can get a tile you can use later to speed your progress or impede your opponents by moving the whales or sharks out of your path and into theirs. Finally, roll the dice to move the shark to eat unfortunate swimmers, the whale to wreck their boats, or the dreaded sea serpent to devour both boats and swimmers. The game ends when the volcano tile is turned over and everything on the board is destroyed. Add up the points of the survivors on the safe isles, highest total points wins.

All kinds of fun as you try to maneuver your survivors onto boats while trying to avoid the beasties the other players are sending towards you. Special tiles give you special powers and adds a fine strategic element to the game. Lots of “take that” as you sink boats, eat swimmers, and watch people get sucked into whirlpools. And laugh at your own feeble attempts at sabotage that ends helping the other players: as in, “ha, fall into the water, and, oh, here’s a boat.”

One Line Verdict: Pay a visit to this particular tropical paradise. Just make sure you catch the first boat leaving.

Stick-It-To-’em Dungeon


“Order of the Stick Adventure Game: The Dungeon of Dorukan”

designed by Kevin Brusky & Rich Burlew, published by APE Games

A game based on the popular stick-figure web comic about fantasy adventurers. Move into a dungeon, place a room down which may result in some special rules, meet a monster, but your opponent chooses the monster from their hand, add up bonuses, solicit help from other players, avoid “Screw This” cards from other players, roll the dice, defeat the monster (hopefully), and collect loot. Wash, rinse, and repeat until you defeat the dreaded lich Xykon! Plays a lot like Munchkin but with a build-it-yourself-board, but which lasts a little too long. Plus, because the other players choose a monster from their hand, they could totally mess you up.  Which happened to me.  A lot.

If you like Munchkin and the snarky humour of the “Order of the Stick” web-comic, this would be great. If you like neither, then not so good.

One Line Verdict: For a small slice of fans, indeed. All others keep moving past this particular dungeon.