Which brings us to the board game translation. Kevin Wilson is no stranger to converting PC titles to board game form, having already had a crack at it with the popular Warcraft: The Board Game. Warcraft featured modular boards and different scenarios, which is quite a neat way of bringing the feel of numerous 'levels' from the computer to the table. Doom does exactly the same thing - one full five mission campaign is included with the game, and players are encouraged to create their own. Fantasy Flight are also starting to post new scenarios free of charge on their website, further adding to the replay value of the game. Each mission of the campaign included in the box can be played alone, or played in turn as part of the campaign - with marines keeping certain skills and equipment between missions, as well as 'levelling up' using points accrued for killing enemies during the game. This is also a smart way of introducing a video game style sense of progression into the board game.
The game can be played by two to four players, with one player playing as the 'Invaders' (the bad guys) and one to three players playing as the marines (no prizes for guessing that they are the good guys). The Invader player has the scenario hidden from the marines, and has the responsibility of setting up each area of the modular board (according to the setup diagram in the scenario guide) as the marines explore the facility as well as reading out any 'flavour text' from the scenario guide. The 'flavour text' isn't always necessary but does add to the dark atmosphere of the game. Objectives for each side vary depending on the scenario, but the first scenario in the game sees the invader player attempting to get 6 kills (or 'frags' as they are known in Doom), and the marines attempting to escape the facility. It's incredibly challenging to play as the marine player, but in addition to extra scenarios, Fantasy Flight have also posted difficulty 'mods' on their site so that players can tailor the experience as they see fit.
One aspect of the game that I was worried about was the different types of custom dice - i'm not totally against dice rolling but after another PC-to-board game translation was nearly derailed due to the battle system using lots and lots of dice (yes, i'm talking about you Age of Mythology!), I was mildly sceptical about Doom. It turns out that my fears were unfounded - the dice in Doom are an excellent way of determining damage and calculating range, with different coloured dice, and therefore different weapons have different combinations of them - so each weapon has different proficiency at range, damage, ammo consumption etc. It's very well done and unlike the combat system in Age of Mythology (which, admittedly, it is incredibly different to) it never slows proceedings down.
No review of Doom would be complete without mentioning the miniatures - there are lots of them, and some of them are huge! They're detailed, weighty and they add a lot to the experience - it's great to set up a room as the invader, putting all of the weapons, power ups and doors out and then watch the look on the faces of the marine players as a huge creature is placed in the room they have just opened! They certainly add a sense of danger, and can be very intimidating indeed. Just wait until you see the size of the Cyberdemon in comparison to the little humans - the marine player learns to dread seeing certain monsters, and the Cyberdemon is the biggest of big bads!
One big complaint that I have is a bit of a nitpick to be honest - there's so much stuff in the incredibly heavy package that once everything has been punched out for use, there doesn't seem to be a lot of room in the box for it. It does take some serious lateral thinking to get everything back in there and close the box properly - which is almost a game in itself (so what am I complaining about eh? Two games for the price of one!).
Doom usually plays in a couple of hours (depending on the scenario, but two and a half hours is usually an average length of time to play), and doesn't ever feel like it's going on too long. There's generally always something to do for everyone, with the invader planning his next ambush or the marines co-ordinating their attack/escape plan. It's a very satisfying game to play, especially long term - nothing beats finally getting through a long, hard campaign with just a frag or two left before the invader wins. It's recommended to any fan of the video game - despite not being as fast paced or frantic as a video game (something that is hard to translate to board game form), it does hit all of the right atmospheric beats, not to mention the aesthetic feel of the game. It's reasonably simple to play and learn, which may put off hardened strategy gamers - it isn't exactly the deepest game in the world, by any stretch of the imagination. Then again, gamers familiar with Doom the video game aren't going to be expecting a deep, strategic experience - so consider yourself warned: hardened strategy gamers need not apply.
Top marks to Fantasy Flight for attempting something a little different with Doom - it's a nicely customisable experience which provides quite a tense, visceral game that is aesthetically very close to the source material. Incredibly high production values mean a seriously heavy box filled with great miniatures and very well produced boards and bits, which further increases the sense of value for money that Doom provides. A brilliantly tense experience that is not for the squeamish...
Presentation: Top notch production values, as can always be expected from Fantasy Flight Games. Nothing to sort the components into once they have been punched is a bit of a nightmare though. 9.0/10
Clarity of Rules: Easy enough to learn despite the Cyberdemon-sized rulebook. Nicely laid out with plenty of illustrated examples. 9.2/10
Game Length: Slightly too long and drawn out for the type of game it is - but this can be adjusted by playing shorter scenarios. Laying out each room as it is entered adds considerably to the downtime. 6.8/10
Value: An incredible amount of components included, with brilliantly sculpted plastic miniatures - some of which are positively gargantuan. The ability to create scenarios or use ones found on the web adds much to the value of the game. 9.6/10
Overall: A great, scary hellbeast of a game, let down slightly by the time it takes to prepare each room on the map. 8.2/10 (not an average)
Review by Jason M. Brown