Catacombs: Horde of Vermin Expansion Mini-Review

Today's quick review will be of the Catacombs expansion Horde of Vermin.  Horde of Vermin is (I think) the third expansion to Catacombs, but the first one for me to play or review.  I have, however, reviewed the base game of Catacombs, and I recommend reading it if you're not familiar with the game, as I will be talking about what Horde of Vermin adds to the game.

Essentially, Horde of Vermin adds two things: monsters, and rooms that use those monsters.  However, these new monsters also have new abilities.  The most prevalent two are poison and swarm.  And, with an expansion with "horde" in the title, you would expect there to be a lot of monsters, right?  You are correct!  Some of the new rooms have 12 sewer rats in them!  12!!  However, these sewer rats have the "swarm" ability, which means that they don't deal melee damage in the standard way.  Instead, if you hit a hero with one of them, you set your monster on the hero.  If three of them hit the same hero in a single round, then they deal one point of damage (either melee or poison) to the heroes, then are discarded from the room.  These swarms of monsters will really appeal to people that really enjoy flicking, and can't really get enough of it.  However, they also exacerbate the biggest problem in the base game - you have no idea where discs left the table.  Instead of there being a few discs on the board at any given time that might go flying off, now there are dozens of discs that go flying off, often 5 or more on a single shot, and you are completely guessing at where they left the table!

Hordes of (mostly) very small discs.  And a giant fireball!
The next main ability is poison.  Many of the new monsters inflict poison damage when they hit a hero.  Whenever a hero takes poison damage, they draw a card from the poison deck.  These cards range from 1-5, and can also deal immediate damage to a character's hitpoints.  If a hero ever has more total points of poison than health, then he is "overwhelmed" by the poison, and dies.  Poison can be incredibly powerful, but it really depends on how many monsters you encounter that have poison.  The new rooms use the new monsters (with poison); obviously, none of the old rooms do.  However, you are also allowed to use new monsters as the "wandering monster" in any room that is drawn, which I think is a nice touch, because it allows the Overlord player to actually have a chance to poison the heroes.  (And, heroes, don't worry, the Wizard has a couple of "Cure Poison" spells that he was given in this expansion, too.  Oh, and a Giant Fireball.  It's a Fireball... but bigger.)

Briefly, there is also a new "Fear" ability, and some new monsters that actually have more than two hitpoints.  Fear allows the monster to make a (non-damaging) melee shot with the hero that was damaged, representing that character running away.  This can be very powerful, as your monster can rush in and not worry (as much) about retaliation.  

That is really most of what was added!  There are also a couple of new versions of previously existing monsters - specifically a new version of the Centaur, Crypt Spider, and the Giant Scorpion.  Oh, and of course, they're noticeably harder.... because apparently your Overlord wasn't winning enough!  (As a note, we actually intentionally picked the player that was worst at flicking to be our Overlord last time.  That seemed to help.  We still barely won (I died twice), but it was a very fun time.)

Overall, I give the Horde of Vermin expansion an 8.0/10.  Some people will absolutely love it (people that want to flick a zillion times), and some people will find it horribly annoying (people that hit 4 sewer rats in a flick, and are annoyed at having to guess where they left the board).  I thought the game added some neat new elements, and I'll probably go ahead and leave it mixed in with my base game of Catacombs in the future.

If you like flicking games, you should also check out PitchCar and Caveman Curling.

I would like to thank Sands of Time Games for providing me with a review copy of Catacombs: Horde of Vermin.

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