I’m a huge fan of the Alton’s (of DoomAndBloom.net). Though I’ve never met them in person I’ve had quite a bit of correspondence with them over the years via email and, in my humble opinion, they must be absolutely wonderful people. They’ve always been kind to me as a blogger and, more importantly, have always provided wonderful advice to the prepper community. Believe me I don’t say any of that lightly… I don’t generally like many people. 😉
If you’re unaware, several months ago they started a kickstarter campaign to create a survival board game of which I donated and wound up with my own copy of their game which I’ll discuss below.
I do want to point out that Joe and Amy are selling their Doom and Bloom Survival! Board Game right now along with their Survival Medicine DVD (a $20 value) and a Survival! Backpack (not sure of the value) for $60. At first glance this may seem like a bit much and it would be for just the board game but considering you’re getting the Survival Medicine DVD and a backpack as well it’s a much better deal… perhaps even a steal. If you want just the board game itself you can purchase it via Amazon for $45. You can also learn a bit more about the board game from their own site here but I’ll give my own overview below.
Let me first state that this game isn’t for young children. You’re certainly NOT playing Chutes and Ladders… it’s Survival! With that in mind, my children (now almost 9 and 12) were able to play. We’ve played a few times now and I’m probably the one who forgets the rules most often. Here I am refreshing my memory:
There does seem to be quite a bit involved at first glace. There’s obviously a board to play on, there are player pieces, three main types of cards (event cards, attack cards, and bonus cards), various game pieces, six dice, and more. That said, once you read the rules thoroughly and play once or twice you’ll get the hang of it.
I can say that I was quite impressed with the details of the entire game. The game board is very nicely designed, the cards and characters are quite intricate for a board game, overall I was impressed with the game quality. Here’s one of the characters, a doctor, who I presume is Dr. Alton (I believe my oldest kid snapped this photo):
The Goal of the Game
As for the game play, the purpose is to scout one or more towns (there are six total towns) while hopefully collecting resources (food, fuel, ammo) as well as survivors and medical kits. The game ends when somebody is the first one to have the required minimum resources and to have successfully scouted the final destination town. You can play a short, medium, and long version of the game. Longer games simply mean you have to scout more towns and collect more resources. When my kids and I play even a short game–where you scout one town–it often lasts at least an hour.
To Start the Game
To start, everybody blindly chooses a character which offers some number of resources (food, fuel, ammo), survivors, and medical kits. For example, the doctor and nurse start with more medical kits, the soldier more ammo, and so on. There’s a doctor, nurse, cleric, soldier and a few other characters. In this game my oldest wound up with the nurse–he wanted the soldier, of course–sorry Nurse Amy… you just can’t compete with a solider. 😉 I had the cleric and my youngest had the doctor.
You also get a personal board and some clear game markers with which to keep track of your resources, survivors, and medical kits:
As you can see above, you can collect up to twenty each of food (green fork/knife), fuel (blue gas can), ammo (red handgun), survivors (black/yellow people), and up to ten medical kits (yellow/black cross). There’s also spots in the lower right corner for you to keep track of your destination discs (not shown) and eventually the final destination disc. Like your character you blindly choose towns to scout as well as the final destination town, as such, it’s possible players can end up scouting the same towns.
After a few more formalities the game starts…
General game play
There are some specific rules that you need to remember but for the most part the purpose is to move around the game board toward the town you’re trying to scout all while purposely landing on resource squares. You can easily tell it’s a resource square if there’s a green food, blue fuel, or red handgun icon on that square.
When you land on these squares you draw an Event card and you have to do what it says. Oftentimes that means rolling dice. If you succeed you get the resource shown on the board as well as whatever is listed on the Event card. This can be quite lucrative! If you fail you get nothing.
If, however, you land on an orange square that’s Raider territory! In this case you choose an Attack card and do what it says. These cards, sadly, are MUCH more difficult to succeed on and you usually wind up losing. Not all is lost, however, as you can make choices to help you if need be.
In general, you sometimes have to cross rivers, mountains, or survive a raider attack as noted above all while trying to get to where you want. Though not a great photo of the game board here’s what it looks like:
As you can see there’s a lot going on and there are rules involved than I’m going to explain here.
Suffice it to say that the REAL fun begins when you start to use the Bonus cards and make the choice to sacrifice your resources to either give yourself an advantage OR stop another player from taking a turn.
For example, I can choose to lose one each of my food, fuel, and ammo during an Event roll in order to use six die instead of five in order to help the odds of me making a successful roll. I can also do things like sacrifice one fuel to add up to three to my movement roll (e.g., if I rolled a two I can add three and make my movement roll a five) and plenty more options. This is the main strategy part of the game because you have to both balance gaining enough resources to win while using/sacrificing them to gain strategic advantages.
Bonus cards allow you do all sorts of things, from catching up on your resources to doubling Event resources, adding to die rolls, and plenty more. Like I said, the the strategy is to figure out when and how to best sacrifice your resources to give yourself an advantage as well as when to play Bonus cards to help yourself or perhaps to hinder another player. My kids and I still haven’t got this part of the game fully down yet but it certainly makes the game fun!
Sadly, I didn’t win this round. My youngest, in fact, won it as he so clearly gloats below:
Like I said, there is more to the Doom and Bloom Survival! Board Game but that’s the basics. It is quite fun but not for very young children. The game will certainly offer hours of entertainment on family game nights and even teach some survival strategy too. Since you also get the Survival Medicine DVD and a Survival! Backpack, give it shot. You’ll be glad you did.