|A CLAUSTROPHOBIA Game review by Aaron Greene (Picala)
I've come to fully accept myself as a board gamer. Before I got into board games though, I liked to role play from time to time. My games of choice tend to be pretty heavy Euros. (Check my ratings. El Grande and Princes are my 2 favorites) However I still get the itch to roleplay and still do sometimes. But I've seen that Descent box, seen people digging through the camper sized bins of stored tiles and tokens and minis that come with each new Descent expansion. That and the time involved have been a bit of a turn off for me.
But while walking around Origins, a buddy of mine pointed out Claustrophobia so we gave it a shot. After demoing, and despite some heavy rules errors in the demo, I wanted it... and left the show with a copy.
Whats in the Box:
The insert is fantastic and holds all the bits perfectly. And there is a lot to hold. There are 36 large, great quality tiles. 5 fully painted human minis, 11 troglodyte minis and a big demon. Also you'll find a pile of cards with various purposes, a pile of dice and character role cards. There is also a little plastic holder for each role card for the human player that makes tracking stats and health very easy, as well as a player board for the Demon player. The rules for the most part are very well done.
I'll keep this quick and just stick to the basics. Its a 2-player game and one player takes the humans, the other the demons. Depending on the scenario the humans will either be going into, or out of a dungeon that will (more or less) be randomly selected from the 36 tiles as they explore them. The Demon player will then do his best to slow down or preferably kill each of the humans to win. The human players stats are determined by dice rolls, which are assigned at the beginning of each round from 6 potential choices for each character. Each human will then move and fight (not necessarily in that order) in turn until all their moves are used up, then its the Demon player's turn.
The Demon player then rolls some dice and allocates them in an attempt to gather power and kill the humans.
A dungeon delve game of this type has, in my opinion, been plagued by 2 big potential problems:
1. Its just too long with too much down time
2. Its too campy and lightweight to feel like a dungeon delve. I like dark and gritty and a nail biter of a crawl. The best adventures are always those where you narrowly escape or are slaughtered within spitting distance of freedom.
Claustrophobia fixes these problems. It is TENSE. It is dark and full of tough decisions by both players, AND does it all in about an hour. Its modular. With just what comes in this box, you will be hard pressed to not find a lot of re playability. But it also has some great potential for expansions. The game comes with 6 scenarios in the manual, and there are several free ones posted on the claustrophobia website. The game can also go above it's 2-player limitation with some fairly easy scenario building.
-A great Tense dungeon crawl.
-Relatively quick play time (1 hour)
-Modular. Each game will be different
-Great quality parts
-Accessible for just about anyone
-Generally just a 2-player game. I have no problems with this, but know lots of people that won't even consider buying a game that only plays 2.
-Not the cheapest game, but very comparable for what you get.
-Thats about it... Unless you don't like the dark theme. But come on, you're traveling through hell... would it be more appealing if it were on a train?
If you want that dungeon crawl feeling, like you're running a gauntlet, with no down time, then pick it up. Its great and I see this getting lots of play, at least from my non-Euro only friends.Play Claustrophobia Game