Along with the expansions, which add new Agents, new minions and new bosses to Hellboy: The Board Game, we wanted to turn the upcoming Kickstarter up to 11 by adding Hellboy: The Dice Game! But what is the dice game and how did it get created? Well, dear reader, let’s go on a journey together to find out more.
It all started in the distant past pre-COVID. At Mantic HQ we had a LOT of Hellboy dice samples and we were starting to mess around using them for different game concepts.
So one day, Matt and I (Rob) start designing a push your luck game that used these dice. The basic idea was that you had a limited amount of resources and had to get the best score without going ‘bust’! We liked the concept that often in the Hellboy comics, it’s about Hellboy or the members of the B.P.R.D. really pushing themselves to achieve a goal. Sometimes that all works out, but other times it (literally) explodes in their face.
Initially we started with just the blue Effect Die. In this version you rolled a handful of the blue dice and the different symbols had different effects. If I remember correctly, you were trying to collect B.P.R.D. shields and avoid the ‘wounds’.
The issue was that, apart from the B.P.R.D. symbol, it wasn’t obvious that it was a Hellboy game at all. Instead, we went back to the Hellboy: The Board Game for inspiration… and it suddenly hit us like a smack in the face from the Right Hand of Doom. Let’s make a miniature version of the board game! Sort of.
At its absolute simplest, Hellboy: The Board Game is about gathering clues, beating up the bad guys and dealing with the various unexpected twists and turns along the way. Of course, in the Board Game Needy Cat Games did a fantastic job with the ingenious Case File system and the escalating sense of Doom to really up the urgency. Therefore we wanted a way to create that feeling of exploration and clue collection in the Dice Game.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
This led to the creation of the Room Deck. Rather than just randomly throwing dice around, now you progress through a spooooooky location, which is represented by the Room Deck. This deck features a range of different cards, including enemies, events and even bosses. Let’s take a closer look at a card…
- Clues – these are super important! The game is a race to get to 15 Clues before the other players. The first player to score 15 triggers the end phase, which means everyone else has one more turn to try and beat that player’s score
- Enemies – the number inside the red frog indicates how many successes you’ll need to roll to defeat the card and move on. If you defeat the card, you take it and add the clues to your collection
- Wounds – if you don’t beat the enemies, then you’ll suffer this amount of wounds. You have three wounds in total and if you lose them all, then it’s the end of your turn and you lose all the clues collected that turn
There are also some Room Cards that have special effects. For example, when fighting against Rasputin you must re-roll your highest level die. Damn you Rasputin. Damn you to helllllllll * shakes fist *
YOU FEELING LUCKY?
But how do you defeat these Room Cards? Well, this is when we go back to those all-important dice. However, rather than having just the blue effect die, now you have a whole handful of dice. The game includes: six yellow Attack Dice (least powerful), three orange Attack Dice (a bit better), two red Attack Dice (now you’re talking) and one black Attack Die (eat my fist harbingers of evil!)
On your turn you’ve got to choose which dice you want to roll – from a minimum of one, to a maximum of three. The problem is, once you’ve used those dice they’re gone for that turn. This is to represent the often limited resources of the B.P.R.D. As a result, you’ve got to balance the risk of what dice you want to use. Yes, you could just blitz some pesky frog monsters with a couple of red Attack Dice but then Baba Yaga might turn up. Or you could risk it with the yellow dice… but there’s a 50/50 chance you’ll roll a blank. Of course, if you do manage to defeat a powerful enemy with the yellow dice, you’ll feel like Hellboy himself… but get taken out by a room of standard frogs and you’ll feel like a chump.
What’s more, there’s always that chance in the Hellboy stories that things might not quite go to plan… or you’ll catch a lucky break. To represent this element, each time you roll, you must also roll the blue Effect Die. This might be good (extra successes, the opportunity to double a score or it will block wounds) or it could be bad (there’s a 1/6 chance of rolling an automatic wound). That blue die can often be the difference between success and failure.
If you run out of dice or suffer three wounds, then it’s game over for that turn. All the clues you’ve collected that turn are discarded and play passes to the next player! So, you’ve got to know when to cut your losses or risk it for those all-important clues.
We’ve had great fun playtesting Hellboy: The Dice Game. It’s a fantastic way to get your Hellboy fix on the move or when you haven’t got time to crack out the full game. During the Kickstarter we would love to be able to add more enemies, some equipment and even the concept of allies to help you defeat some of the trickier rooms! Only time will tell.
HELLBOY: THE DICE GAME WILL BE INCLUDED AS PART OF THE UPCOMING HELLBOY: THE BOARD GAME KICKSTARTER. CHECK OUT THE PRE-LAUNCH PAGE HERE AND YOU’LL BE NOTIFIED ONCE WE’RE LIVE.