Are you Claustrophobic?
While I love Fantasy Flight Games, I do find that many of their games present a rather obscure to downright unclear victory condition. It’s not that I dislike such games, but it’s sometimes just refreshing to play a game that goes back to the basics.
Asmodee Games publishes Claustrophobia – The Board Game. If you’ve played Space Hulk, you’ll be somewhat familiar with the game play. In essence, this is a struggle for survival, the church vs. the endless evil demonic hordes. (Any wonder why I would like this?)
I would highly recommend Claustrophobia to any gaming group that likes a tight solid combat system and simple, clear rules. Humans go into a tile based maze and try to search for the ending tile (in most cases), trying to survive in the process. To build both atmosphere and strategic value, both human and demon player may only fit up to 3 of their figures on any one tile.
To me, one of the best parts of the game is the setting. The fluff speaks of how a priest is invited to go into the tunnels below a church (which pretty much lead straight to hell) and ‘deal with it’. But the church is on a tight budget and can’t give him the proper soldiers. But this guy, he’s a bad ass priest. He doesn’t want soldiers. He goes and finds convicts who are sentenced to death and invites them to come along for the joy ride.
Now I don’t know if the fluff expressly spells it out, but in my mind, I love the idea that the convicts join because of the power of Faith. That they follow this priest because they can sense something truly Holy about him. Thus it’s not just because of the opportunity to become a free man but it’s the opportunity to became part of something bigger than yourself.
I can see a lot of story in the fluff of this excellent board game.
I’ve played Claustrophobia several times and it never fails to give us a great time. We are working out 3 player rules (2 humans and a boat load of troglodytes) which are turning out to be quiet fun.