Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Claustrophobia.


Review 2: Claustrophobia


First impressions are that the box is nicely decorated with thematically dark artwork and sturdy, the vinyl effect to the box is a nice touch and gives the box a good, solid feel. The second impression is the weight! It seems rather weighty for the size and that is a good thing! Just make sure you don’t drop it as you’ll either lose a toe or two or cause a little structural damage!!!

On opening the impression of quality continues starting with the rulebook. This is clearly written and well spaced with plenty of breakdowns and easy reference sections for some of the rules, of which there are not too many! Along with some easily read examples and demos. Then there is the Troglodyte reference chart which is also very easily understood and clearly written, this is too made of a good thick card and treated to the same vinyl effect, which lends to the sturdiness of the whole package. Under these are the tokens (pre punching). Again these are thick and beefy and really well printed. A problem I’ve had before is that some tokens are printed a little off-kilter and being a little OCD about things being even and level this irks me. This is not the case with Claustrophobia, all of the tokens are neat and centrally punched and came away from the frame with no mess or ripping (another problem that sometimes occurs, and that means I’m looking at you Fantasy Flight!)



Under these still we get to the true gribblies of the box (a made up word, feel free to steal and spread it!) The movement tiles are where the weight comes in. They are BEEFY. The art on them is nice and straight forward, no confusing lines or iconography and where icons are used they are clear and easily referenced on the back of the rulebook. The various event/equipment cards are well printed and the art is of a similar quality, leaning slightly more to a comic book style which I like to see every now and then and the character reference boards are well done even if the plastic stands they rest in do come across a little flimsy! The wound tokens are BRILLIANT! Where most companies would go with plain pegs or even card tokens for wound marking Asmodee have made them small nut+bolt shaped pegs that slot into the player stat cards. This doesn’t sound that impressive but its the small things that sometimes please people and make them come back for more.

One small criticism is the dice. They feel frickin’ awful! There is no weight to them at all and they feel as though they would crumble to dust if you squeezed them.

Finally we get to the miniatures. These are well sculpted and not too delicate which can be a turn off sometimes. The paint job isn’t astounding by any means but not that bad as to warrant a repaint unless I run out of other minis to paint and have a hankerin’ for a brush o’ thon!
Out of the box (before play though) I’d give this an 8/10 just for component quality.

The Redeemer Vs. The Demon
The Troglodyte horde
The Redeemers Blades for hire (left) and Brutes (right)
Gameplay

The first couple of games played do nothing to harm the first impression of the game, the rules are that easy to grasp and reference from the boards provided that even the first game plays quickly and effortlessly. The balance between the enemies and the adventurers/warriors is good, even if it seems a tad one sided as the enemies usually end up outnumbering the heroes three to one. It can all hinge on one decision by either party as to the outcome of an encounter, and from experience being killed completely one tile from the exit and a comfortable win is a brutal experience! But one that made me want to immediately try again and try a different tactic. The abilities of the warriors and the equipment loadouts each scenario provide make for many interesting choices too and more are available online for more options.
Example of a game in progress (the heroes are as good as lunch!!!)
After playing I stand by my 8/10 score and would recommend this game to most board gamers as a brilliant change, the similarities to GW’s Space Hulk are evident but with a greatly lower price tag (and the gap keeps rising boys n gals! GW’s limited release guaranteed that! Muppets) and pre painted miniatures for those without the inclination for brushy nonsense make this a more affordable tactical corridor combat board game. Just don’t buy if you don’t like losing, this game can deal defeat in crushing fashion but that is more than half the charm! Forget Resident Evil, Silent Hill or Siren, THIS is survival horror

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