When Excitement Fades: Shadows of Brimstone

My final judgement has not been passed but my feelings feel like they are solidifying in stone for this board game. But it is a story, a journey if you will, that I feel like telling. This is a tale of a board game that I am sure a lot of people will say “that’s why you don’t do Kickstarter.”

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Shadows of Brimstone is a dungeon crawler board game by Flying Frog Productions. If you aren’t aware, they made the game that got me back into board games – Last Night on Earth. So the company holds a small place in my heart. They ran a Kickstarter for SoB and it is a modular, western, horror/eldritch game that gives you the potential of travelling to other worlds. Plus with all their stretch goals, you get so much stuff! I was super excited by this idea and theme.

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That was in 2013. It is 2017 and I just received word that the rest of my pledge will be shipped to me soon. They have sent me the two core game boxes years ago (probably 3 years) so I have had a chance to play. There are a lot of cool things about it as you may have heard CJ and I chat about it on our podcast. But there are a lot of issues that leaves me torn with this exciting news.

For one, all the miniatures come on sprues. Some people may like building them but it feels like they weren’t advertised that way. Plus in total it is probably about 100+ miniatures to build (for the whole pledge). This is more of an annoyance, the real problem comes with the level of detail. They are okay. I was under the impression you did sprues so you can get crazy good details on plastic. Maybe I’m mistaken but I was taken back by game after game coming out after it with good detail and not on sprues. Plus they were not an easy build and still break to this day.

Second and probably the most important part that I take issue with is the gameplay. I’ve played it with a group & solo. The rules seem to be lacking. I don’t want to say it is too hard but more so it is missing something. One game session, I couldn’t even get past the first tile because I couldn’t even hit a single zombie (there were four of them). There is bad dice rolling but shouldn’t a game have some chances of mitigating dice rolling a little? Even Eldritch Horror‘s 5 or 6 result equaling success feels easy compare to how they run things. I’ve re-read rules and so did others and we played it right. Something seems designed “wrong.”

This leads me to where I am now. I am getting a shipment of 2-4 new otherworlds, loads of more enemies & heroes, and who knows what else. I have yet to make it out of the mines or show any progress. I have excitement but it quickly fades away…

I will give the game another solid attempt but I don’t know if I could be bothered to house rule the game into awesomeness I am aware of HEXcrawl but I have a lot of good games I want to play with already good rules). It might go up for sale or trash everything except the tiles and a few minis to potentially use for an RPG. Would people like to see a LivePlay miniature RPG? That could be an interesting idea.

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