I am back from almost 3 weeks travelling through Southern Italy.
I took one gaming item with me on the trip. Well, actually it was on the cloud. A copy of the solo game Four Against Darkness. I was pointed in the direction of this game several months ago and bought a PDF copy.
I have always had an interest in solo games. It made more sense before the proliferation of online platforms for gaming but there is still a place for it. While it is easy to join an online group sometimes you just do not want to be held to a time slot. Solo games work for that. Computer games do as well to some extent.
Four Against Darkness is a simple rule set that allows you to direct a team of four adventurers against a randomly created dungeon. I have played through 12 rooms of my first random dungeon with moderate success. It is interesting but does not come close to matching actually cooperative gaming. The rules do not allow for much of a story to develop.
The first step is to choose your four heroes. I decided to go with a classic fighter, cleric, thief, and wizard. The heroes are differentiated only by a few powers by class and their equipment. The next step is to place a starting entrance on a sheet of graph paper. Then you move the heroes into the next room which is randomly generated. You can encounter an empty room (and can search if you want to see if it is not empty), foes to fight of varying difficulty or special rooms.
Combat is simple, all of the rolls made by the hero. To attack roll d6 and score higher than or equal to the monster level. To defend roll d6 and score higher than the level of the foe. Foes that hit the hero do 1 wound. But the hero does d6 wounds. So it is possible to kill more than one foe with an attack. Magic and healing are all limited to a set number each adventure so it is important that the heroes do more damage.
There are some additional rules, morale, traps, puzzles but that is the essence of it.
My second encounter in my first dungeon my starting heroes rolled up seven level 4 orcs and I thought we were going to have a total party kill. The fighter, cleric, and thief repeatedly missed while the orcs kept hitting the heroes. Luckily the wizard cast sleep and then fireball successfully and the Orcs fled as they are afraid of magic and must roll morale if magic slays one of them.
|The heroes are waylaid by Orcs in the Fearsome Vault.|