Claustrophobia. Asomdee, 2009. $70. Designed by Croc. Rulebook, 17 pre-painted miniatures, 36 dungeon tiles, assorted tokens and cards, and 13 dice. 2 players. 45-90 minutes.
In this thematic dungeon delving game, one player takes the role of the Redeemer with his band of Condemned henchmen while the other player assumes the guise of a demon with his horde of troglodytes. Players select a scenario that provides goals for both sides and setup instructions. Each round starts with the Human player rolling dice and assigning one to each warrior. The die chosen determines that figure’s movement, combat and defense for the round. Then each warrior moves and attacks (or attacks then moves). The Demon player then rolls his dice (usually 3) and assigns them to the Board of Destiny which provides various effects including gaining Threat Points which are spent to bring troglodytes and even demons onto the board. Finally, the Demon player can move and attack (or attack then move) with each of his figures.
The game rules are deceptively easy, though it takes a few rounds to understand how to assign dice to each human warrior’s stand or the demon’s destiny board for best effect. Before long players are immersed in the action of moving through the beautiful dungeon tiles of rooms and corridors while the heroes are slowly whittled at by the troglodyte nuisances until suddenly the demon menace appears for the coup de grace. Each scenario builds to a climactic point where the humans, having been wounded, are in peril of their lives while the demonic hordes, having steadily been growing stronger, suddenly cause the quest to be in peril!
Claustrophobia does not have any mechanism for developing characters for either side between games. Each scenario starts afresh, though each does offer certain gifts or items (cards) at the start and objects may be found during the scenario. The combat and movement are simplistic but thematic. The game is reminiscent of Space Hulk, with its opposing sides, hordes of monsters versus a small band of heroic warriors and differing scenarios.
The ease and speed of play with the beauty of the artwork and differing scenarios (even more of which are available on their website (http://www.claustrophobia-theboardgame.com), and cards providing different demons and gifts for the Redeemer make this a highly enjoyable dungeon romp and will leave you wanting more. Highly recommended.
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