Shadows of Brimstone

Shadows of Brimstone. Flying Frog Productions, 2014. $100. Designed by Jason C. Hill, art by Jack Scott Hill, and music by Mary Beth Magallanes. Fully cooperative, dungeon-crawl game set in a Weird Wild West. Over 200 cards, dice, counters, Rule and Adventure books, and a CD soundtrack. 1-4 players (1-6 with two core sets).

Players form a posse, working fully cooperatively, and assume the roles of archetypical western heroes to go on adventures down in the mines of the Weird Wild West setting of Brimstone. Each core set comes with 4 hero classes that develop using experience points, gold, and items over the course of many games. And each core set also includes an “Other World” full of Lovecraftian horrors that are seeping out through the mines. The game is heavily deck driven with the game’s opposition being provided by random card draws and dice rolls. There is a “going to town” mini-game that occurs between missions down in the mines that allows characters to rearm and prepare for the next game.

The Weird Wild West theme is everywhere in this game, from the artwork and components to the soundtrack and story. It is truly an RPG-like board game experience from the start, when you create your hero from an initial class but choose a single starting upgrade ability and draw a personal item that will make your character unique. The card and dice driven board mechanics create a different mine layout and otherworld trails, including encounters and fights that is different every time.

If you’re not into hobby miniature games, you may bemoan (as I did) having to assemble the more than two dozen miniatures, the brittle plastic of which has already seen one break. And if you do not like heavily random games, then you may not appreciate the mechanics which make this game highly replayable because it is so different each time. Being heavily card driven, there are a lot of decks to manage and late in the game there will be a lot of card effects in play that impact each other. While the rules are straightforward the highly variable situations can create instances with questions.

Shadows of Brimstone does an amazing job of producing many hours of cooperative gaming in a western horror setting with Darkness creeping forward while you and your fellow posse members delve into the mines, seeking treasure and glory.

This review was written based on a privately purchased copy. No previous relationship with the game publisher nor compensation was involved.

c2014 by Richard A. Edwards

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