My d4 DICE reviews are a quick and easy to digest review of a board or card game. Along with a brief introduction to the game I use DICE as an acronym for Duration, Interaction, Complexity and Engagement to quickly explore a game. Enjoy!
You awaken from a restless slumber, you can’t remember what happened the previous day. You have no memory of where you are or who you are. In front of you is a castle, it’s Dracula’s Castle. Dark, foreboding and filled with untold horrors.
You enter the castle, it is dark, it is dangerous and you are not alone. Hunt or be hunted. Explore the rooms, pick up weapons and artefacts but watch out for the traps that are around every corner and lurking in the shadows of every room.
You hear a noise coming from the round corner. Do you run and hide or do you take the fight to your enemies in attempt to become the lone survivor.
Dark, deadly and very dangerous, welcome to Dracula’s Castle, welcome to Damnation: The Gothic Game.
Damnation: The Gothic Game is the second edition of the 1992 classic, The Gothic Game, originally designed by Nigel Andrews and Robert Wynne-Simmons. Damnation is being designed by Kriss Rees and published by Blackletter Games. It is a competitive, dark, gothic horror game for three to six players. Explore Dracula’s Castle, collect cards, weapons, protection, actions and reveal and fall foul of random events. Each player will take on a role with two generic abilities and two special abilities.
In Damnation players will take move around the castle by rolling a d6 and a castle die. The castle die will potentially cause players to draw from the castle deck or acticvate traps as well as giving players extra movement.
In the resolution phase players can declare “power of adjaceny” if they are next to another character. This allows you to move the other player on their turn and make them go in to a room they didnt want to, activate a trap, move closer to Dracula or juust generally cause them harm and hassle. Players can also attack other players using weapon cards if they are in range, with the player being attacked losing health.
After the resoution phase players might be able to perform additional actions from cards or abilities that their character has.
At the end of a player’s turn they discard down to their hand limit and play passes to the next player.
Depending on what rooms a player ends up various rules will change. For the most part players will draw a card from the respective room deck. However, specaial rules, events and actions happen if you eneter the vault, courtyard, the Dark Tower, the Moat and the Spiral Staircase.
The game ends when all but one player has been eliminated (yes there is player elimination). The second edition comes with variants for team player, classic play and the option to remove the player elimination. Players can also become a Vampire.
d4 D.I.C.E. Review
Around the 60 minute mark. This might be a bit shorter for some players if they are eliminated earlier however. A 60 minute game with player elimination might seem like a long time (especially if you are eliminated early on) but once someone has been eliminated the game quickly reaches a natural end due to the Deathkneel cards. There is a card in the torture chamber that can kill someone out right if drawn, however players are warned to go there with caution
Interaction is huge. It is a “last man standing” battle royale game. The whole purpose of the game, the cards and the events is to encourage player interaction. You can claim “power of adjacency” allowing you to move an opponent on their turn, sending them in to a room they didn’t want to go, towards the vampire or a trap. You can attack people and kill them if you do enough damage. The game is packed full of interaction and it makes for some brilliant gameplay moments. If player interaction is not your thing then stay away from Damnation.
Ruleset and turn order is fairly simple. There where some edge case rules (specifically around the vampire) that we were unclear on a few times but bear in mind I was playing prototype rules which I am sure will be clarified in the finished product. But for the most part the rules were easy to understand and learn and didn’t need much referring to.
As this is such an interactive game, the game state can change rapidly. You might find yourself suddenly floating in the moat and trying to escape. Or the Vampire is suddenly on the hunt. Players are constantly watching what other people are doing and planning their moves accordingly. Even the players that were eliminated were engaged in the game and were interested in seeing the outcome of various events and card draws.