Well, we made it through the two operations in the base game and have decided to finish up with Doom the Board Game, likely permanently. I have mixed feelings about this game, and thought I’d work through a few thoughts about this game in this post.
I think the first thing to call out is something I initially loved about the game that has come to annoy me greatly – it is way to swingy. When we first started playing the fast and furious combat system that could see an overwhelmed team of marines suddenly reverse play seemed good and fit in with the feel of the video game. After playing through most of the missions, though, the ability of a fight, and the outcome of the mission in some cases, to turn on a single card flip or die roll just feels bad.
Beyond the luck element, there are severe balance issues mission-to-mission. Of the 14 or so missions we played (the UAC Marines wrapped me up early in Operation Two, so we didn’t play every mission), there were only two or three that felt genuinely close. Most of the others had a fairly (to abundantly) clear winner early on in the game. It was frustrating at times sitting in the Invader chair watching the UAC Marines wander into a room and one shot a bunch of my big, bad nasties then have several turns to recover and position whilst I rebuilt my resources. Further to this, the teleporter rules give the UAC Marines such dominance of the board from a positioning perspective that in some cases I couldn’t touch them as they would teleport in, shoot, then teleport out. Having telefrags so my minions couldn’t block teleporters and no way to switch them off compounded this problem.
Which leads me to mission timing, or the lack thereof. There is never any time pressure on the UAC Marines in any mission, which at times allowed them freedom to camp areas and run down my resources, time to recover from fights and the ability to wait for opportunities to sneak in and grab weapon upgrades. There were missions where their victory became inevitable well before the mission was done, just because I would be clearly running out of portals.
These frustrations are not offset by what is a very straight forward ruleset, with cool models and theme pervading the game. These things are great, but the luck and balance issues mean this isn’t a game I’m going to revisit, as I prefer something with a little more reward for good play (not too much, mind you). It’s also clear at this point that we won’t be getting any expansions or new content for the game, so from that perspective the replayability is going to be limited. It is disappointing to write this, as I really wanted to love this game, but that’s how it goes sometimes.