The plot: some fluff about demon forces trying to bring down the city of New Jerusalem from its catacomb foundations, seems they can only be stopped by this Redeemer guy and a handful of “volunteers” (the lowest of the low, condemned murderer types - do this favour for us and get your sentence reduced or avoid execution stuff, you know, like Eddie Murphy’s character in 48 Hours).
Have a look at my Claustrophobia Unboxing Porn pics for loads of box-fresh pics. The following shots are all live, in-game photos.
One player control’s the humans, the other (Claustrophobia is only for 2 players) controls the demons. In this case, for our first play through, I took on the mantle of horned aggressor and my sidekick played the four flesh-bag humans. During my first few turns I didn’t get to do an awful lot of aggressing, though, as Troglodytes (the little, critter type baddies) have to follow a few straightforward, and believable I suppose, rules of placement. They can’t just spawn anywhere. The chosen tile can be any in play provided it’s free of humans and have at least one unexplored opening. Sticking to these rules meant that the first twenty minutes of my game was spent hoarding Threat Points (one for every Troglodyte I wish to play) and event cards.
This at least ensured I was well tooled up by the time my guys turned up on a suitable tile. Plus, during my Threat Phase I was able to pray to the dice Gods for an 11, which would let me spawn as many of the little fuckers anywhere I damn well liked. More about Threat Phase in a minute. Actually, It’s probably easier to show you.
Bring on the pics!
Four tiles placed meant at this point we were four moves in. The human player uses a movement point to explore an opening, the demon player gets to place the tile, directing the condemned warriors around the catacombs. No demons on the board yet.
This is my (the demon player’s) Board of Destiny in play. Rolling three dice (occasionally more or less depending on various circumstances) I freely place the die scores on events of my choice, triggering bonuses. Here I’m using a double 6 to have one of the human’s suffer a hit. The 3 is placed so one of my Trogs can up his MVT by 1 on the next go. The Board of Destiny made sure my early spells of downtime weren’t wasted. I could still affect play.
Hits are applied to the human player’s characters with little red pegs that eliminate a line of statistics. During the human’s initiative phase, die scores determine each characters MVT, CBT, and DEF scores. If enough hits are sustained, characters can be rendered immobile and defenseless as each hit eliminates each available stat line in turn. This gave a great impression of being wounded.
Awesome! Demons are on the board. Pick a target, roll for attack, apply hits if necessary. There are a couple of nice event cards for the demons to use during combat. Trogs are weak and are removed from the game after one hit (they can be replenished at will) so bonuses such as ‘suicide attack’ (+2 CBT) or ‘tough trog’ (+3 DEF) are handy to hoard early on.
‘Demonic possession’ was my favourite, though. Trust no-one!
In the scenario we played (there are six in the rulebook) the objective for the humans was to merely escape. And, after ten turns, the exit tile is placed. So, despite the large size of the tiles, this is as much room as Claustrophobia takes up in most game modes. The routes are rarely as labyrinthine as the back story would like you to believe, but it is an eventful, pleasantly short journey.
We drink beer, tea, or coffee while we play. Notice the lack of ash tray. Cool kids don’t smoke.
The board was rarely over populated or busy due to the fragile nature of the one hit wonder Trogs. What took a little more spunk out of the humans, though, was this guy:
Underground Hunter is fucking badass. Stats chosen according to the scenario. Him and two tough troglodytes took the game for me, one tile from the exit. Talk about the 11th hour.
That’s it. I’m pretty sure I did a disgraceful job of describing Claustrophobia. I’m more than happy to discuss my experience on Twitter though (@SonAndGames). This was a pretty one-sided playthrough from the point of view of the demons, when I play as the humans I’ll have a better view of the game.
As it stands though, Claustrophobia is bloody good. Seems to have a long life thanks to the six scenarios in the book (more on the official website), which can be played from either side, effectively doubling the life span. Recommended.