Tombed review

Score : 8

Completely customisable Dungeon Crawler

Huge replayability

Lovely components (custom dice, miniatures etc)

Lack of structured campaign may put some off

Takes some management and admin

Sometimes feels like too much choice

The relic collector, Nathar had made his way into the final room and had nearly completed his contract. However, there was a portal in the room, and judging by previous portal encounters, there was a high liklihood that some hideous creature would emerge from it, summoned by the Pharoah. At least Nathar had his faithful companion, Indy the Dog with him. He would certainly need it, being blind and relying on his cane as a weapon...

Tombed is a dungeon crawler where one to four players will control four characters between them, trying to achieve contracts by gaining fame and gold. They face off against another player who controls a Pharoah trying to stop them.

The players on their turn will have four actions per turn chosen from a variety of actions they can perform. Some can be performed multiple times per turn, including moving through the tomb, searching for items and looking for and disarming traps. Others, such as attacking or resting are one-time actions. In this way, players move through the tomb, killing monsters and gaining more powerful items or treasures, trying to achieve their contract and then escape through one of the four exits in the tomb. They can also use spells to help them, and can gain the help of companions, such as a nurse, to further assist.

The Pharoah will be trying to accumulate enough power (through blood of the invaders) to win the game before the players can escape. He does this through placing traps, playing curse cards or using his creatures (who can be summoned through portals) to hurt the invaders and gain blood. At points in the game, they can become strong enough to manifest into the temple themselves.

Battles are carried out in the usual way, with custom dice being rolled depending on the weapons and/or creatures involved, with attack dice compared against defence dice. Reading this so far, you might think that this is just another re-themed dungeon crawler, and in terms of the gameplay aspects you would be right.

However, this game offers a level of customisation that we have not seen before in this genre. The Pharoah before the game will construct the tomb themselves. Choosing ten tiles from a wide selection, they can build it long and narrow, or wide and square. They can choose the tiles with traps on them, or that are in darkness, or go for standard rooms but start with more traps to play for example. There are rooms with altars, floods and even a mirror puzzle! 

The players in turn can visit the market before the game, and rather than having a standard amount of items or gold to spend, can buy as much as they want. However, the amount spent is treated as a game end penalty, making that victory target more elusive.

These choices make the game hugely replayable, and mean it truly is one player against the rest, whereas in other games and pre-set scenarios, these can favour one side or the other.

The drawback of all this choice is that these choices can lead to quite a lot of admin during the game. The Pharoah has to keep track of various things, including what the traps are throughout the tomb (which he can do by looking at the underside of them, so not an impossible task). The players are more straightforward, but if in a three player game, two players would have two characters each to track, plus companions for example. It also lengthens set-up considerably while the Pharoah decides who to play and how to build the tomb while the players discuss whether to buy most of the market, none of it or somewhere in between.

This variability and customisation replaces a written campaign, which you would get in some other games of this type, so it really comes down to which style you prefer.

The other factor to bear is mind is this is a prototype Kickstarter version. There were limited characters and monsters in this review copy, something I have been assured will be rectified in the finished game but you will need to take a view on that for yourselves.

However, if you are looking for a dungeon crawler which truly tests the skills of one player against the others, with huge replayability and customisation, this could well be for you.

Note: This review copy was provided free by 4Dados for review purposes and will be on Kickstarter in the near future.

Publisher: 4Dados & Deep Pit Games

By: Alberto Puertas

 

Number of players: 2-5

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