Thursday, 19 July 2012

First Look: Claustrophobia

From the moment I saw this game I knew I wanted it. Nay, had to have it. Quite why I was so drawn to it initially has long since been lost to the mists of time but, it's a firm possibility that the combination of dark and brooding box art combined with a setting literally bursting with demons had a lot to do with it.

With all my personal hype though, was I left disappointed? Honestly, slightly. Not in any way that can't be easily rectified however.

All of the components are of good quality, the rulebook is well laid out and easy to follow but, where it falls short for me is with the scenarios that are included. Although they link together to form a nice campaign, there is little replay value and the demons come across as two-dimensional mooks to be smashed around the tunnels without mercy by the heroes.

The game does go a long way to try and address this though, through the use of the "Destiny Board". Allowing the demon player to customize their horde from turn-to-turn. This can only help so far however, as using the same board from game-to-game will still leave you with very similar feeling match-ups.

A simple solution to this would be to have a chart per scenario instead of using the same board over and over again, which brings me nicely onto my other bone of contention. The big bad demon.

This is again another area that I feel that Asmodee has left wanting, with the big bads being only slightly less card stock than their minions. Being more accustomed to games like Space Hulk I expect big nasty monsters to pack more punch and, come with more bells and whistles than they do in Claustrophobia.

Being such a rules light game however it's easy to look past this and the Destiny Board issue because if you don't like it, you can easily change it. This for me has to be the crowning achievement of Claustrophobia.

Much like my favorite roleplaying game, Tunnels and Trolls, Claustrophobia takes customization well. In fact, it almost begs for it. If you have other miniatures lying around (personally I will be looting my copy of Doom) integrating them should be a cinch. Big bads can also be tweaked and, writing your own scenarios and campaigns really allows you to make the game your own.

In conclusion this is certainly a game that I expect to be playing a lot of in the future and, one that I would highly recommend to anyone who wants a game that they can tweak. It's not big and, it's not deep but, there is almost infinite potential for expansion.


Claustrophobia Board Game Geek Entry

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