Sunday, 21 December 2014

Necromantic Bumpercars

Play Cave Evil at a big group event. Someone is going to be eliminated in the first half an hour, and it's a ninety minute game, they need somewhere else to go. This is good game design.

Page six of the rulebook: "You are now an evil wizard!" Yes! You are an evil wizard. You absolutely are. You are a necromancer. You dwell in a crushed complex of ancient necropolises, a geologically-compacted strata of aeon-dead hell cities, a seeping place of hellfire and gore floods and liquid madness slime. Your servants are demonspawn and necromonks. Your nemeses are other necromancers.

Relatively this means you're an ethical everyman. If a gorebeast eviscerates an undead mammoth in a cave and no-one is around, does it make an ethical difference? (This fits in with the brutal metal aesthetic - an ethically quarantined zone of mindless violence perpetrated on the mindless and the violent, a reflexive self-punishment of the brutal by the cruel, the kind of self-contained atrocity that makes moral opprobrium infantile and claims of rebellion laughable.)

Production values are just high enough that you won't chunder. Once you pop the pieces they won't fit back in the box. If you want a board printed on board, not paper, that's sold separately. The money's gone on the art. Every card has a unique monochrome illustration of bones and gore and pseudopods and tusks, and there are about 666 cards.

It plays as you expect it to play. The really good news - you can dig tunnels. Thank Christ. This shouldn't need explaining. Spells are equippable items, and the ability to carry items, use them, and cast spells are all separated out. This creates monsters who can cast spells but need a friend to hold them, and also allows for items like carts (bone carts, gore carts), which carry other items and are obviously brilliant. Also some items are statted up as monsters so they can affect the movement speed of the unit they're in or take up space in an army or wander around on their own. The random event cards can stack as deep as chaos permits. In the last game everyone had to pass a minion to the player on the right - then a traitorous monk murdered its master and Neil was eliminated from the game.

The game uses d12s because fuck the system. I have been misusing the timer for the game and failing to summon the Great Old One early enough. My favourite is obviously the Black Old Goat - once summoned he runs around the table auto-tunnelling new sections of the board and obliterating anything he touches.

One of the necromancers you can choose to play as has the ability to split into two smaller wizards. It is a constant dilemma.

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