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Prepare to embark on a hellish thrill ride with the heart-pounding action of DOOM: The Board Game, hurtling into stores soon. In this preview, we will take a look at your role as a valiant marine, as well as the skills and abilities that guide your every action in the game. Taking on the role of one of the UAC’s most dynamic and disposable marines, you have been tasked with protecting humanity from the corruption of Hell’s most vicious demons. As Imps and Cacodemons flood from the numerous interdimensional portals, you and up to three other marines must storm the UAC facility to keep them at bay. Once the facility has been cleared, you will have to enter the depths of Hell itself in order to eliminate the hostile before they have a chance to cross into your world and destroy everything you’ve ever known.
Prepare for Battle
The asymmetrical gameplay of DOOM pits one Invader player, controlling the masses of demons, against a team of one to four marines, each with unique skills and abilities. The game is optimized to a four-player unit, giving each marine ten points of health, a hand size of three cards, and the special ability to sprint away from dire situations for a mere discard. If there are less than four marines on your team, special rules will be applied to bolster your strength against the snarling demons. A solo operative, for example, will gain double-initiative, activating their marine twice in a given round instead of just once, as well as gaining additional health, expanded hand size, and the ability to perform two Main Actions rather than just one. A pair of combatants benefits from the same increased Action powers and expanded hand size, while a trio of marines gets to double their actions as well as draw extra cards throughout the game.
A distinctive combination of weaponry and special skills will help personalize the marines to each member of your team, further preparing you for battle. At the beginning of each mission, you will choose a class card to represent the specialized training your soldier has undergone. Each of the twenty-four unique class cards provides at least one ability that is unique to your marine, and often more. Many class abilities are ongoing, triggering effects when specific conditions are met; some take place at various, defined moments throughout the game; and still others function as extra actions, but may only be activated once per round.
If you’re looking for some guidance, the Operation Guide will provide you with a selection of pre-made fireteams, carefully designed to optimize the abilities of a four-member squad. These teams each feature four key roles: a frontline combatant, a long-range marksman, a high-mobility scout, and a heavy-weapons specialist. The four class cards shown above come together to make up Fireteam: Halberd, an elite unit that cooperates as a well-oiled machine.
Instruments of Extermination
While your marine’s class will influence your approach to the intense combat ahead, nothing is quite so impactful as the destructive weapons with which you can obliterate each demon. At the beginning of your game, you will prepare your marine for battle, gearing them up with a standard issue loadout. A variety of shotguns and rifles make up the four loadout pairs, each contributing three cards to your action deck. Between three core pistol cards, your UAC Combat Armor, and the six loadout cards, you will have built a ten-card deck which will determine how you attack others, defend yourself, and traverse the mission map throughout the game.
You will begin each activation with a number of cards equal to your hand size, the various values and abilities on each card indicating how you can use them. Each card constitutes a powerful Main Action, a lighter Bonus Action, or an adrenaline-fueled Reaction. Depending on the number of marines on your team, you may be permitted to resolve one or two Main Actions, followed by as many Bonus Actions as are available. You will find your most powerful attacks on Main Action cards, though Bonus Actions and Reactions can lead to epic attack chains, useful special effects, and enraged retaliation against demon attacks. The three pistol cards in your initial deck each constitute a Bonus Action, so with a hand size of four, you could perform one Main Action, shoot your pistol twice, and move away from the enemy, all in the same turn. If you have Bonus Actions that allow you to draw cards or if your squad size allows you to take more than one Main Action, you could potentially make an even larger chain of actions.
Your action deck also comes into play in your attempts to defend yourself against the vicious beasts. When you would take damage, you will defend yourself by revealing the top card of your action deck. Depending on the symbol (or lack thereof) in the upper right-hand corner of the card, you will either take the full amount of damage inflicted, cancel a portion of the damage points, or dodge the attack in its entirety. Some reaction cards, such as your standard issue UAC Armor, can be played to bolster your defenses, as well.
Don’t breathe just yet, because the destructive fun doesn’t stop at your standard issue loadout. Every mission map is dotted with merciless weapons which will allow you to beef up your action deck. When you pick up a new weapon, the weapon’s three cards are added to the top of your deck immediately, expanding your range of available actions going forward. Whether you want to get up close and personal with a brutal chainsaw or cause immeasurable pain from afar with an explosive rocket launcher, you’re in luck. The weapons you find across each map are more savage even than the demons bearing down upon you. For example, adding the Chaingun to your arsenal will give you access to Endless Fire, which allows you to attack three times in just one Main Action. The card also gives you the ability to roll up to two extra attack dice each time by discarding other cards from your hand, making for extremely powerful rapid-fire attacks.
Face to Face
Between the marines’ inherent abilities, the skills designated by each class, and the weapons they wield, each of your soldiers is a force to be reckoned with, though perhaps not fully equipped to take on the more intimidating demons. To face off with the bloodthirsty Mancubus or the commanding Baron of Hell, you’ll need just one more trick up your sleeve. Fortunately, you are uniquely trained to charge and Glory Kill injured enemies, and Glory Kill you will.
Each ferocious beast has a Stagger Value, indicated below their health. Once you have inflicted enough damage to match or exceed that number, you may rush into the demon’s space and slaughter them once and for all, freeing you up to pursue your mission’s objective or continue your elimination of Hell’s corrupt servants.
The Road to Hell
The hulking Cyberdemon has his sights set on the vulnerable UAC facility, and with countless underlings to clear his path to multidimensional dominance, you had better bring the best. Assemble your team of specialized soldiers in preparation for the most brutal fight of your life. The corrupt have been allowed to breach the gates of Hell, thanks to the daring aims of your organization. And that leaves just one question…Was it worth it?