16 November 2016 | DOOM

In a Hail of Bullets

A Closer Look at the Gameplay of DOOM


The UAC's marines have trained endlessly in all manner of combat, with expertise ranging from offensive action to invaluable support. Each member of the team has unique strengths and skills, a string of commands to follow, and specialized equipment. On the battlefield, they know their orders, and they know their place. As multitudes of terrifying monstrosities pour out of the portals to Hell, however, there's no time for cautious tactical strategy. The marine team's only chance at survival is to force their way into the fray, guns blazing, and hope for the best. Throw everything you thought you knew about order and efficiency out the window—chaos has arrived, and it's coming straight from Hell. 

As the release of DOOM: The Board Game draws ever nearer, we continue to dig into the roles you can take on and how they function in the grand scheme of the game. In our previews so far, we've explored both the collaborative efforts of the marine team and the vicious onslaught the invader player can bring about. This time around, we'll take a look at how these players interact with one another over the course of the game and the opportunities and obstacles each mission affords both teams. 

Hold Them Off

Once you're familiar with the rules, your first point of reference when preparing for a game of DOOM is the Operation Guide. The guide will walk you through the setup for twelve different missions, each with its own unique map and set of objectives—one for the invader player and one for the marines. The missions also come with recommendations for the invader's event deck and invasion card for an optimized play experience. More experienced players should feel free to mix things up, however, trying new combinations in their attempt to slaughter the marine team. 

Throughout the mission, the actions of both sides will be driven by their ultimate goal, indicated on the mission’s Objective card. The card shown alongside the map below, Asset Extraction, requires the marines to gain four progress tokens, representing UAC employees who have survived the fight so far. These orange tokens are scattered across the map, some easier to reach than others. In order for the invader player to stop the marines and claim victory for themselves, they must gain six frag tokens, which are obtained whenever a marine is killed. 

The starting positions of the demons will be determined by the mission’s specific threat card. The mission shown here uses the Horde threat. During each status phase, the invader must flip more portals faceup, allowing him to summon more demons. With every faceup portal, more demons will spill onto the board and into the game. 

In the upper right corner of the diagram, you can see a lit teleporter, with unlit teleporters scattered across the rest of the map. Marines will begin the game at the lit teleporter, though as they reach and activate the others, they can respawn at other spaces across the board, like a video game checkpoint. Deciding where to spawn may be the difference between reaching your objectives or becoming overwhelmed by vicious creatures, so choose wisely.

The Summoning

While the marines can grow and change throughout the game, picking up new weapons and abilities, demon life spans are considerably shorter, and their deaths more permanent. The invader player, however, has far more bodies to call upon, and the portals revealed will become progressively more dangerous as the game moves along. 

Not only can new portals be revealed with time, but each portal also has two sets of demons that the invader can choose to summon. On the Deadly Force Invasion card, the invader may call either a Pinky with an Argent Power or two Possessed Soldiers from blue portals. The invader will need to decide whether it's more beneficial to have more dangerous demons in play or to have intimidating numbers.

The First Strike

If the unpredictability of spawning demons wasn't enough to shake up each round, the initiative system of DOOM is sure to do it. Initiative is first determined randomly by shuffling the appropriate marine cards in with a number of invader cards. When an invader card is drawn, the invader player may select which of their demon types to activate. Because of this, the invader has the unique ability to activate whichever invader is most beneficial in the moment.

Not only are the invader cards quite flexible, but there are also other ways to influence progression through the turns. On the marine side, both your fighter's class and the number of players in your game can impact the deck. The Tactician, for example, may view the top two cards of the initiative deck before the round begins, with the option to replace them unchanged, or place one of the two cards at the bottom of the deck. The Shocktrooper, on the other hand, may remove their card from the deck before it is shuffled and then place it on top each and every time, ensuring they go first every round. 

The invader player also has an opportunity to influence the initiative deck with the Ambush event card. While most event cards influence the actions and abilities of the demons under the invader’s command, Ambush allows the invader player to take the top three cards of the initiative deck at the start of the activation phase and reorder them any way you please. Initiative can make or break your strategy on either side. If a marine or demon on the edge of death doesn’t go first, they may not be able to save themselves.

Incoming Invaders Detected

You can almost feel the anxiety… the tension… and the possibilities as you walk the line between victory and annihilation on either side of DOOM’s brutal gameplay. Whichever side you're on, though, you'll have to charge past your nerves to claim victory before your opponents can sweep you off the map completely.

DOOM: The Board Game will be available at your local game store next month. 

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