Any fans of Hellboy out there? You're in luck. Hellboy: The Board Game is on the way in spring 2019 thanks to designer James M. Hewitt (known for games like Blood Bowl 2016 and Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower) and publisher Mantic Games. The team has just finished a hugely successful $1.5 million Kickstarter campaign for the game.
If you missed it, don't worry - you can pre-order your copy from Zatu now! We've put together this preview article to help you decide if you want to take the plunge and embark on cardboard investigations with the BPRD.
First Impressions of Hellboy
I really like the look of Hellboy: The Board Game, and I'm not alone. Over 12,700 backers pledged almost $1,500,000 to fund the project and a slew of stretch goals. The game falls neatly into a few categories that will help you get to grips with what it's about. It's a co-op game that has RPG-style dice-rolling for combat and other checks and, as is standard for many big Kickstarter releases, it comes with a small army of exquisitely designed miniatures.
Having mentioned the miniatures, I should also say that the Hellboy comics' creator, Mike Mignola, has personally signed off all of the creative side of the game. This is a fully licensed product with the seal of approval from the character's creator.
Who should look out for Hellboy: The Board Game?
Fans of the Hellboy IP will undoubtedly be looking forward to this game. I suspect that most, if not all, of the Kickstarter's 12,716 backers fall into this category! The look and feel of the game are in the spirit of the character and, from what I can tell at this stage, the mechanics also looks like a great fit. The whole experience looks fast and fun, with a blend of big-hitting combat and tricky detective work.
For any IP-based game to appeal to players beyond fans of the original media, it has to be a very compelling experience. Time will tell if this game will be worth recommending to a wider audience, but the early signs are encouraging. I think there's enough there to make people site up and take note even if they don't know much about Hellboy.
The blend of deduction and combat that I mentioned as having thematic appeal also looks like it could be what makes the game attractive to a bigger audience. It looks like there's a very real tension between fighting your way to the boss before Very Bad Things happen and delaying to uncover enough clues that you can actually survive that fight.
There is also a lot that will be familiar to players of RPG-style games that involve grid movement, dice rolling and combat. The characters start with different abilities - giving individual players a bit of identity as you play co-operatively - and they can gain equipment as they go to make themselves stronger. I don't think Hellboy is breaking any new ground here, but it's important for a game like this to have familiar elements so that fans of similar games can be drawn to it.
The game also looks to have a good amount of variability to help you get a lot of playtime out of it. The base game includes a set number of scenarios, but you can play through these multiple times without getting bored thanks to the Deck of Doom. This is a deck of event cards that you draw from throughout the scenario to intensify the situation. Because the cards appear in a random order, they help to give each scenario a unique challenge every time you play. Of course, there are also expansions available that add even more content.
Hellboy: The Board Game looks like a fun, thematic board gaming experience that will undoubtedly appeal to the character's fans. The look and feel seems to be spot on. If you consider yourself a fan, I can only see this being fun for you.
If you're not as familiar with the character, I can see why you might want to wait until you can see how it's received. I think that the game looks like it has a lot of good things going for it mechanically, but you still have plenty of time until the general release if you're still making your mind up.
If you want to have a look at what you can buy if you missed the Kickstarter, Zatu has a whole range of good stuff available to pre-order now. For what it's worth, I think backers of this game and anyone who pre-orders will have a lot to look forward to in 2019.