A month since last update. Sigh [Please insert generic excuses about real life here, blah blah, whine whine. OK; that's enough].
I had the chance to play the Hellboy board game. My pal got it from the Kickstarter campaign and invited me over to give it a try. Besides, first time he paints a full game set, so kudos to him on the achievement!
You can easily find the rules online and the game isn't particularly difficult to grasp, so I'll just try to give a general overview of my impressions.
We played the introductory scenario, so I'll use it for the basic explanations. The game allows you to play coop against the AI, which is becoming more usual nowadays. In this case there were three of us: Hellboy himself, Johann Kraus and Abe Sapien (played by myself).
|The board is set by individual tiles
If you are into the Hellboy comics world, you'll get a lot of references at once. The aesthetics of the game, the way the scenario is presented, that kind of stuff. It's all pretty narrative, which also helps with the whole experience.
You have to explore the tiles and solve the Encounter Cards you will find on them, as well as get clues on your current investigation (the yellow tokens in the pic below).
|Of course you will have to face some enemies
The enemy minions are all different kinds of Frog Monsters (Rampaging Frog Monsters, Venomous Frog Monsters, Armed Frog Monsters and Transforming Frog Monsters). There are also Frog Swarms, which act not exactly as enemies to face, but more like tokens downgrading the heroes skills.
Another quite a common thing nowadays is the use of different dice (you know, colours and stuff). The novelty here is the use of another special die, which will act as a modifier of the roll):
|In this case the skull meant that I had to discard the highest scoring die from the roll. Besides, I run out of ammo
While my character is best used in range attack with firearms, Johann Kraus has quite interesting psychic abilities and Hellboy prevails by the use of sheer brute force.
|Which was clear since the beginning
Each character has a number of activation points each turn, so it's up to you how you use them -and how you interact with your team.
|Hellboy could re-roll any dice here, which obviously was not necessary
You discover new places and clues as you move forward.
There is a Rest Phase each turn, during which the characters can recover from wounds, exchange items and so. A good use of that phase can be critical.
|That piece of card represents a table
|Which Hellboy uses to smash the Frog Monster
|The fight goes on and new monsters arrive
|Johann Kraus is severely injured
|But the situation is soon under control
|So OK, let's move forward
|Quite a punch
|There's a clue over there, but Hellboy and Abe have run out of actions
|Johann uses his abilities to leave his body, appear close to the clue and inspect it
|Oooops! Now you get back to your body? Now? Seriously?
|We tried to get rid of the minions first
|An event card got us stunned
|Fortunately we killed the minion...
|...and the giant frog monster after some hard struggle!
The game itself is easy to learn, the core rules bear no difficulty. The scenario is atmospherical and delivers some fun, but it was just the introductory tutorial. As it had taken us less than an hour, we decided to run a second game.
BEWARE. If you plan to play this game, you may want to skip the following pics, there are spoilers about the scenario.
Ye be warned.
|Same players and characters, new challenge
|We got some action pretty soon
|Fire! Those are Inferno Markers
|This scenario is clearly more challenging than the previous one
|However, we managed to keep moving forward
|Abe was the quickest of the three, so he was the explorer
|Kind of crowded place to be an abandoned mansion!
|A secret room!
|Hellboy explored it...
|...while the others kept the enemies at bay
|Which wasn't that easy!
|We even got some backup!
Whatever the case, we made some progress on the investigation and we found the agent that was missing (the reason for the whole scenario!). But suddenly...
|That's Rasputin as a ghost! Glubs
|Things get wild in a minute
|...but can be temporarily stopped
|We could only run towards the exit
|Looks easy, but we all were severely injured
|Oooops, he got up again
|We were not leaving that easily
|Uhh, guys, we better move fast
|We 'knocked' Rasputin out again, just to bauy us some time
|But certainly not enough!
|Finally, after some struggle...
|...we reached the exit with our injured agent. The rescue was a success! Hooray!
The game is easy to learn, making it accessible to all the comic fans that are not so used to this kind of board games; yet it provides fun to those more veteran players. I regret the lack of variety of the enemy minions, but those in the game give some good moments. The way they are activated or the frog swarms being more an impediment than a real enemy is also a good point.
On the whole it was really fun, we had a nice evening and managed to play a couple of games in maybe about three hours. Cannot ask for more!