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Massive Darkness vs Heroquest

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Massive Darkness vs Heroquest

Postby Anderas » Sunday August 20th, 2017 12:56pm

So Massive Darkness is out in the wild now.

Announced as RPG like dungeon crawl, they tried to get the Heroquest-liker-faction interested. So they want to compare themselves with us? They have to live up to the standard.


TL, DR:

Massive Darkness has great gaming material. I like and i will use the models and i like the tiles.
I also like the new concept with the shadow zones.
And there are some nice quest concepts inside that i will steal.

But. Few Tactics, fewer story.
The Monsters are too many and too same-ish, the great majority of them are just life point counters :shock:
Same goes for the equipment and the xp system: it's too much, equipment comes too often in too great numbers, feels like mass production.
Playing a game shouldn't feel like mass production.

So it fails to live up to the expectations.

Get a point by point complaint comparison here, if you really want to read my rant. :)



What makes Heroquest stand out?
* A selection of monsters that keeps the game interesting for the 13 Base Game Quests at least
* Each monster counts, but no monster is worth killing just for the kill (with the exception of the Bastion of Chaos)
* RPG like Level up, rarely in the quest, mostly between the quests, based on gold
* New equipment is exciting, because you get a new item only sometimes
* A treasure chest here and there, almost always with something very interesting inside
* A story unfolding in most of the quests, and connected one evolving over the entire quest book
* Quest notes and layout supporting the storyline
* Connected to the story, you have names everywhere - Sir Ragnar, Ulag and Grak, Mentor, Morcar... They are characters. How much did Sir Ragnar inspire the fantasy of the players?
* Bosses often have special rules, and they nearly always have their theatre scene with an overlay, or furniture, or both.
* Traps are placed on the board, either tactic-driven for the quest layout or story-driven like the indiana stone
* Quests are prepared by somebody, and other than the base game quests, this somebody will actually play them against the Heroes. So everything there is has a meaning – sometimes it is just tactical to remove a BP, but in the best quests the quest itself continues to tell the story, too.
* Something new each quest
* Labyrinth-like quests sometimes, with exploration factor. You just don’t know what’s behind the next corner!
* At least a little bit of tactic, even if it is not a lot
* Beautiful 3D gaming material
* Super-fast to set up: 5 minutes - Open the game board, put a door and the starting tile on it, give every player his hero sheet that he already used last time, read Morcar’s text and go.


Fan-added are those:
* More items and heroes with new abilities
* Some have more tactics through the new items and new hero abilities
* More quests, some of them oh so great
* Some have new experience systems to enhance the RPG style a bit
* Some have enhanced balancing mechanisms to adjust the difficulty as you like it

What does Massive Darkness in have in comparison?
* A huge base of monster models. Many small and some huge. HUGE. But other than a special rule on the card, they are all standard. There is a standard Mob, standard Agent, standard Monster. That’s it. Suddenly they are all same-ish.
* Not each monster counts. The opposite. Most Models are just ablative live point counters for their Boss!
* Level up in the middle of a quest in two ways: in a Nintendo console like way during a single game, alternatively during several games, with an XP system.
* You get to see loads and loads of equipment cards. So many that you stop reading them after a while. Additionally, equipments have “levels” like the heroes. So you start trading three low level equipments for one higher level equipment just because otherwise you are flooded.
* Each door you open will show you two or three treasure chests per field that the room has. So you get to see five, seven, nine treasure chests behind each door. Each one will drop an equipment card. Yes you get flooded.
* There is a story for a quest. But it does not read “Grak wants revenge for his daddy Ulag”. Instead it reads: “A Boss sent a goblin courier to call for reinforcements”. Yes. ‘A Boss’. And your enemy is: “Choose a random roaming Monster”. Yes. Story. No. Maybe not. Definitely, there is no story unfolding during the base rule book. The additional tile set “Crystal and Lava” actually has a story, so here they had been better.
* There are indeed Quest notes changing some behavior of the Map or some Monsters. Those are actually quite good! Some of the ideas might be stolen by some random german living in france for his own Heroquest game.
* No Characters here. Remember the quest note? Most Monsters are called “random”, most bosses are called “a Boss”. Some remarkable exceptions exist, and I like those quest naturally the most. I am missing Mentor and Morcar the most, actually. The one holds you responsible in case you do stupid things or miss the objective, the other is just a great storyline device. Without someone depending on you, the objective gets kind of unimportant. The “great adversary” actually is “the darkness”, so nothing you would ever be able to lay your hands on. I would say, with this story construct there is no carrot in front of your nose to make you moving and no-one swinging the whip behind you, so no need to move at all?
* Bosses have no special rules, mostly. There are one or two exceptions, but most Bosses are just to be killed in quick succession, so there is not even a need for a name.
* Traps are there, but they are printed on the door opening cards. So no meaning here, the opposite, you could leave them out of the game and feel no difference.
* Quests are prepared by somebody here, too, but that person will not play the evil guys. Instead the evil guys walk dead stupid in the general direction of the heroes, or if they can’t find any, to the starting point of the quest. No hope here.
* MD also has something new each quest. I admit that – there are some creative things in the quest. Thumbs up here.
* MD has no Labyrinths. Some quests have only one way at all, some quests have a T-intersection but in them you have to take both ways to go. A labyrinth in parts lives from the fact that you don’t know what’s behind the next corner. In MD, naturally, you know. Because all the Layout is on the table including the important artifact positions, before you even start the game. If you don’t know where it is then it is because it’s randomized.
* There is some tactic. You can’t say it’s without. It goes to the extend that one hero blocks monster movement and the others try to attack from far. Wow. I know that from Computer games. One tanks the Monster, another one heals the tank, the rest shoots. Really? I mean. Really? Oh man.
* The material is really great in Massive Darkness. No objections here. One exception: Many of the counters. If they had included some less minion ablative life point models, they could have included furniture instead of counters for furniture. Those tiles with light and dark zones, I need to find a way to implement that sneaky part into Heroquest, as it is really changing something. How could we possibly implement a way to hide in the dark into Heroquest? I would like that part, personally!
* Set up time: Massive Darkness throws several hundred minis at you, and (I didn’t count) 10 or 15 piles of cards that want to be mixed and placed, and a quest in modular tiles that you build before you start. My guess: 30 minutes until you start. Not less.


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Re: Massive Darkness vs Heroquest

Postby knightkrawler » Sunday August 20th, 2017 2:03pm

That sounds like - here it comes - a money-grabbing, no-effort way to pull even more money out of nerd-asses, which there are a lot of.
Don't do these Kickstarters, for heaven's sakes.
There won't BE more fun than HeroQuest, there won't BE more value.
They simply flood the market and that's it. You do not gain from backing.
How many of these games have I seen pop up on Kickstarter? 50? I'm tired of these poor attempts...
Kickstarter has become a hobby among certain collectors and they haven't even noticed.
They will fall flat on their hineys...

Sorry for my rant here, it's nothing personal, but I'll stand by my assessment of a suggested consumer's ethical code (CEO - Hah, that one's a blast!).
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Re: Massive Darkness vs Heroquest

Postby mitchiemasha » Sunday August 20th, 2017 2:09pm

Anderas wrote:What makes Heroquest stand out?

When ever writing a line similar to that, it should always default to, "The best thing about HeroQuest"


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Re: Massive Darkness vs Heroquest

Postby Anderas » Sunday August 20th, 2017 2:17pm

Actually the game materials were what drew me in. I wanted many of those monsters for my collection, and the tiles are really great no less.
So that part keeps its promise. And as it was this what I wanted, I am happy, in total.
As I had the game here already, of course I tested the rules, too. I am no fan of those all players vs game concepts so the expectations haven't been high here from the beginning. As expected the rules fail.

So you could say, I got what I wanted and what I paid for.

Conan, before, largely exceeded my expectations if you consider it a skirmish and not a crawler. That one'should a good one.

Between Twisting Catacombs and other Heroquest stuff, my 40k Ork collection, Conan, Black Plague and Massive Darkness, my hobby space is now totally full. My painting queue is also full for some 10 years or so. So that's it for me, I stop here.

as if.


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Re: Massive Darkness vs Heroquest

Postby mitchiemasha » Sunday August 20th, 2017 2:28pm

Even the plastic dash board is uninspiring, unlike Zombicide. They layout seems thoughtless.

When any of these companies attempt such a game, they should send a copy to each of this boards regular members to play test. It been from CMON, i'd expect it to be a mini fest with serious amounts of equipment but the picture shows way too many cards. I like the art style of Zombiced and on black plague too (only as i associate them the same) but seeing it here was an urgh! pure turn off!!!


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Re: Massive Darkness vs Heroquest

Postby Jackyboy » Thursday September 14th, 2017 4:16pm

I feel the need to have my 2 cents here too since I went all in on the KS

Firstly knightkrawler I think you may have hit the nail on the head with your astute conclusion of KS being the hobby for some more than actually even wanting the games! I must admit that I have fallen privy to this myself over the past year. Having somewhat of a disposable income these days, and wanting to spend it more on a hobby which I can collect, play with and pass down to my children, as opposed to spending my money on beer and drugs :oops: :goblin: :lol: I have back lots of kickstarters in the past year or so. Massive Darkness was one

The reason I back many of the games which I have has been for the miniatures as I have become somewhat of a painter now and find it hugely enjoyable and therapeutic. Massive Darkness got me with the theme of the miniatures, the amount of them for sure and the buzz and fun of the ks campaign. The day everything arrived in the post I was a very happy little boy once more opening my Christmas presents early! I vowed to myself to read the rules and play it before I put it in the cupboard and forget about it. So I managed to build up the motivation to do this!

I played the tutorial solo and slowly slugged through my first few turns. The learning curve wasn't huge and it was disappointing to realise that the minions models were just that 'life point tokens'. Also I thought I must have doing something wrong receiving so many equipment cards and being able trade them for higher level cards. Overall I was left feeling that the game must be made for playing with more than one person and the solo idea is just a gimmick. I doubt I will be getting any of my friends to play Massive Darkness. They'll be happy to sticking Talisman and HeroQuest :P

Oh well maybe I will play Ghost Busters II that I also received in the same week as Massive Darkness... or one of the other 10 games I have in the post sometime in 2017-2018 :barbarian:
Please PM me if any of my old links to files are currently down. I am in the process of hosting them somewhere new!

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Re: Massive Darkness vs Heroquest

Postby clmckay » Thursday September 14th, 2017 4:43pm

I too must agree with Jackyboy. I just got the game package yesterday and got it opened and looked over. However, for me, when I did the KS it was much less about getting the game than it was about getting the minis. I'm torn on this, I've backed several KS to get the Mini's just to use for HQ. The minis are good, but damn....I hate the bent swords and lack the patience to "fix" them all with a hot water bath. Wish they could just use hard plastic like HQ or GW.

Now that I've done several KS, I don't think I'll do more. Especially as I have such a crap-ton of minis now. I'll never be able to use them, and if I'm - personally here - being honest, I like GW better than these KS minis, better than Mantic and a few other mini companies I've tried over the past few years. I'll just divert those disposable resources to that route - if - I feel the need for more mini's in the future.

Jackyboy wrote:I feel the need to have my 2 cents here too since I went all in on the KS

Firstly knightkrawler I think you may have hit the nail on the head with your astute conclusion of KS being the hobby for some more than actually even wanting the games! I must admit that I have fallen privy to this myself over the past year. Having somewhat of a disposable income these days, and wanting to spend it more on a hobby which I can collect, play with and pass down to my children, as opposed to spending my money on beer and drugs :oops: :goblin: :lol: I have back lots of kickstarters in the past year or so. Massive Darkness was one

The reason I back many of the games which I have has been for the miniatures as I have become somewhat of a painter now and find it hugely enjoyable and therapeutic. Massive Darkness got me with the theme of the miniatures, the amount of them for sure and the buzz and fun of the ks campaign. The day everything arrived in the post I was a very happy little boy once more opening my Christmas presents early! I vowed to myself to read the rules and play it before I put it in the cupboard and forget about it. So I managed to build up the motivation to do this!

I played the tutorial solo and slowly slugged through my first few turns. The learning curve wasn't huge and it was disappointing to realise that the minions models were just that 'life point tokens'. Also I thought I must have doing something wrong receiving so many equipment cards and being able trade them for higher level cards. Overall I was left feeling that the game must be made for playing with more than one person and the solo idea is just a gimmick. I doubt I will be getting any of my friends to play Massive Darkness. They'll be happy to sticking Talisman and HeroQuest :P

Oh well maybe I will play Ghost Busters II that I also received in the same week as Massive Darkness... or one of the other 10 games I have in the post sometime in 2017-2018 :barbarian:


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Re: Massive Darkness vs Heroquest

Postby Decipher » Thursday September 14th, 2017 9:05pm

I don't ever pay attention to new dungeon crawlers and really never have since 1990, HeroQuest is absolutely perfect to me. Not trying to shoot down your thread at all Anderas. |_P


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Re: Massive Darkness vs Heroquest

Postby j_dean80 » Thursday September 14th, 2017 9:41pm

clmckay wrote:Now that I've done several KS, I don't think I'll do more. Especially as I have such a crap-ton of minis now. I'll never be able to use them, and if I'm - personally here - being honest, I like GW better than these KS minis, better than Mantic and a few other mini companies I've tried over the past few years. I'll just divert those disposable resources to that route - if - I feel the need for more mini's in the future.


Does GW make any solid plastic anymore like the HQ? Or does anyone?
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Re: Massive Darkness vs Heroquest

Postby clmckay » Thursday September 14th, 2017 11:12pm

They're multipart, but hard plastic. Never a warped weapon. I find them sturdy as well. I think of all the GW figures I have, only a single one has been broken. We are careful though. It was readily repaired with a smudge of superglue.


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