Continuing to make my way through MASSIVE DARKNESS, which has filled an interesting role in my Dungeon Crawl collection. On the one hand we have the far extreme of Gloomhaven which aspires to be a a full RPG experience in a box, and on the other hand we have something like Dark Souls which has the epic boss fights but the grind is kind of a grind.
Massive Darkness is somewhere in the middle- I think of it as an update on Hero Quest, only the game via cards plays the role of Zargon.
You run through a dungeon bashing lots of miniatures as “bosses” spawn along the way, while leveling up quick- very quickly. Many seem to criticize this, but I find it refreshing. If I wanted to play a character and level up over a few months I’d go Gloomy or a full on RPG.
Massive Darkness is a fast level dice thrower RPG experience in a single sitting.
Tactically here are two things I’ve learned so far…
First, the Zombicide Black Plague door set helps beyond measure. The game spawns LOTS of miniatures as you go and as they move around it’s easy to lose focus on what rooms are open or not and where one needs to go.
Physically having the doors pop-up 3D and opening/closing them helps make the game run so much smoother. Alternate doors like Sword & Sorcery or Dungeon Sage can also work I’m sure.
Second is the timing of the game, and the need to push leveling up as fast as you can. There are lots of rooms along the way that one doesn’t have to open, but not opening them means missing out on loot- loot you need to not only bash the mobs, but also bash and of the randomly spawning bosses- which are NOT balanced.
Early character levels and you might not be able to hurt them- so run and hide in the shadows, move as fast as you can to grab some loot, but generally I find I want to level up as fast as I can just in case I draw one of the more powerful bosses.
Which also sets an interesting timer to the game- you need to level up and grind loot, but you can’t spend your time leveling and grinding loot as more and more bosses spawn- there is an internal timer that seems to push you to finish the dungeon as quickly as you can.