The Hell Game Board Game feature
Introduction by Thomas Cap, Review by Domink Rumler
Some of you may remember that we had a Christmas special about board games last year. We covered a few board games based on pc games and a few board games on which pc games are based. Not long afterwards my trusty co-author Domink "Cookie Monster" Rumler and I were approached if we maybe want to write another small feature based on "this" game. And hence "this" game had a title I simply couldn't resist... Ladies and gentlemen - the battle for (Gamers)Hell is about to start.
The Hell Game © Living Dead Entertainment
by Dominik Rumler
Design: Udo Grebe Gamedesign
Playing Time: 2-4 hours
A review of "The Hell Game" at GamersHell.com – what a coincidence...
But let’s get "in medias res". In medias res? Not just me being a smartass (You? A smartass? Never! – TC) - if you’re interested in "The Hell Game", you’ll better be prepared to get confronted with some latin terms, as the game tries to build up the right atmosphere and ease the time you’re going to spend studying the rules by giving background information on its subject. The "little" booklet entitled "legis ludi" indeed takes some time to get familiar with, but the rules are presented in an entertaining way. My advice is to get through them before you and your friends are gathered around the table looking at a mess of little components and a 31 pages rulebook.
First, lets take a look a the components. Most of the game’s equipment is well designed, but very cheap in production. For about 70$ you get a (nice looking) folded piece of paper as gameboard, cards, 6 nice-dice and a lot of little card-tiles. As the game looks fine anyway, this won’t be much of an optical matter, but a problem of handling.
"The Hell Game" is a mixture of strategy and chaos factor. For gamers like me, who need some time make their peace even with the uncertainty factor of dice, the Hell Game is going to provide a good portion of frustration. Random events, triggered by some of the cards, turn the whole situation upside down. Anyway it can be fun trying to get along or even be prepared for those special events. Another positive aspect of this randomness is that no one will ever be without a chance to win the game.
As mentioned before, the rules are quite extensive. But in a very simplified way – this is the way the game basically works:
By the help of daemon leaders with different capabilities you try to gather an army and conquer sections of hell. As we all know, hell is divided into 9 concentric circles (marketing, public relations, financial control, ... - TC), each of which is separated into 5 sections. If you manage to take control of one whole circle, you win, simple as that. (and may call yourself editor-in-chief – TC)
The game is played in rounds, in which each daemon may choose 1 out of 6 actions.
The "currency" to pay your legions and lieutenants is souls which are collected by your daemons walking the earth. Lots of cards representing daemon leaders, special events, etc provide entertainment.
A diplomatic element allows diabolic cheating which can be very fun some time.
Although the game doesn’t take itself too serious it's probably not suitable to everyone’s taste. Some of the card art is simply disgusting, my favourite one was "unnatural desires", showing a dead, plucked, drawn chicken with a very attractive *censored* (edit: sorry but we are not a R rated magazine -TC)
The game is "different", complex, very chaotic and takes a lot of time. The combination of the last two factors can be pretty frustrating. But if I’d try to make a pro and contra list, they’d look pretty much alike, as it’s all just a matter of taste.
Thanks go to Dominik Rumler for reviewing this board game and voluntarily taking last place in our last game of Mario Kart. Also thanks to Damage Unlimited and their PR Agency who yet again made this feature possible by means of lending us this game.