After hearing nothing but good things, I decided that it was time to hunt down a copy of Catacombs.
Do you like flicking games, like PitchCar and Crokinole? Then I think you'll be in for a treat with Catacombs - if not, then you can probably stop reading, because you'll hate the game! Catacombs is a fairly standard dungeon crawler - you're a hero running through various rooms killing monsters, acquiring money, buying items, and trying to kill the final boss. The twist, though, is that both you and the monsters attack by flicking your disks! If you successfully hit the monster, then they take damage. If they hit you, then you take damage. Some of your monsters will only be able to flick their own disk (do melee attacks), whereas others will be able to do ranged attacks, or even cast spells (thus adding more disks to the board, or affecting the disks in some other way). If you are able to flick your way all the way to the final room and defeat the evil overlord, then you have won! (Oh, and you've also beaten your friend who actually gets to flick the disks belonging to the bad guys.)
So, let me confess - I love dexterity games. I really enjoy PitchCar, Crokinole, Clout, and many, many others. And, as much as I love PitchCar, I don't really need to buy another game that does the exact same thing (though I have bought two sets of the base game). Fortunately, Catacombs really has a different feel than any other dexterity game that I have ever played. Between having different characters with different abilities, monsters that deal you damage, items that you can purchase, and even having the ability to be incapacitated, Catacombs truly gives you the feel of a dungeon crawler, but one that appeals to dexterity fans.
|The Barbarian is surrounded!|
The final pro that I will mention for Catacombs is that it is very replayable. There are a lot of different rooms, monsters, evil overlords, and even items in the game - enough that you will not use all of them in any given game. This helps give you the feeling that you're not playing the same game over and over. Honestly, I enjoyed the game (and the dexterity element of it) enough that I could probably play the same game over and over. However, there is no need - each time I play, I will get a (mostly) fresh experience. (By the way, did I mention that I love dexterity games, and that Catacombs does dexterity well? That's another 3-4 pros right there! Dexterity is fun.)
|The Wizard with his summons|
Ok, maybe there are actually two major nuisances. The second one is that it is really, really hard to tell what each disk hit after a shot. When three or four disks are clumped together, and you shoot a piece into the group (hoping to hit several of them) and they all go flying, it's very difficult to determine which ones were hit directly (thus damaged) and which ones were hit indirectly (which does not deal damage). If you're playing with someone ultra-competitive who isn't willing to realize that this is a game and should be played for fun, this can be incredibly frustrating.
The last thing I will mention is this - when flicking, it might be a good idea to have someone else hold the gameboard down. I have actually watched people flick the board while playing. Their disk was towards the edge of the board, and they missed their disk entirely and moved the whole board about 6 inches (and essentially caused a giant earthquake in the game). I laughed at them for doing this, but then a few minutes later a different player did it again!! I have not done this, so I am going to continue pointing fingers at them and laughing (not really) when they do this.... at least until I do it myself. Either way, it's something that you probably want to be aware of, so that you can avoid this problem.
Overall, I give Catacombs a 9.0/10. I love dexterity games, and this one gives me a fresh new feel on a genre that I love. Well done.
If you like dexterity games, you should check out PitchCar, Caveman Curling, and Fastrack.
I would like to thank Sands of Time Games for providing me with a review copy of Catacombs.