Doomlings - Standard game
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Doomlings – Standard game

RRP: £29.99
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RRP £29.99
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Doomlings is a funny, lightweight card game that takes 5 minutes to learn, 20-45 minutes to play, and is suitable for 2-6 players ages 10 and up. Play traits for points over multiple rounds, called ages and catastrophes. Win by having the highest score before the third and final catastrophe brings about the end of the world.
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Category Tag SKU ZALE-DOOM Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Never same game twice
  • Unpredictable gameplay
  • Simple round structure
  • Some strategy involved
  • Reference cards for game play

Might Not Like

  • Scoring can become complicated
  • Can be ambiguity of rules
  • Not great at 2 players
  • Some luck of the draw
  • Cute little creatures meeting their maker!
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Description

Doomlings is a funny, lightweight card game that takes 5 minutes to learn, 20-45 minutes to play, and is suitable for 2-6 players ages 10 and up.

Play traits for points over multiple rounds, called ages and catastrophes. Win by having the highest score before the third and final catastrophe brings about the end of the world.

When I think back to when I was a teenager, it often seemed like my parents took every opportunity to try and ruin my life. Insisting on various mundane things like keeping my room tidy, being responsible for putting away my own washing, making sure I got my revision done before anything else, kicking me off the internet to make a phone call… I’m showing my age there! Back then, to a dramatic teenage me, it very much seemed like the end of the world! Which of course it wasn’t.

Now of course there has been somewhat of a turnaround and now I repeatedly find myself reminding my own teen and pre-teen about these things. No doubt bringing their world to a crashing end as I ask them to put rubbish in the bin, rather than next to it! I know as I get older I’m finding more and more I’m morphing into my mum, but with less perm.

Unlike the ‘me’ from many moons ago who just felt doomed, for the poor little creatures in Doomlings it really is the end of the world. These little fellas distant home planet is, well, doomed and there are many catastrophes waiting to happen to it. You’ll be playing across multiple rounds trying to score as many points for your ill-fated little species by playing ‘traits’ that will hopefully give you the upper hand. But as the time ticks by and the ages roll on you’ll face many catastrophes which will hinder you, not to mention your opponents who are trying to do the same. Then before you know it, it’s the end of the world…

Making End Of The World Jokes, Like There’s No Tomorrow

Sad but true, the cute little Doomlings species aren’t going to be here for long, well for about 20-45 minutes per game according to the box! A game for between 2 to 6 players, you’ll be playing cards from your hand into your trait pile to try and score the most points at the end of the world. With a variety of immediate actions to be taken and end of the world effects to be kept an eye on, this game can change dramatically, and quickly.

The round structure is simple, the first player starts by turning over an ‘age’ card, this will have an effect that everyone has to abide by for that round. The first card will always be ‘the birth of life’ which basically set out the rhythm of the round and has no effect to abide by. Then starting with the first player again they will play a trait card from their hand into their trait pile, following any relevant actions and then stabalize, which basically means to draw up to your hand limit. Then the play continues clockwise and players do the same until play returns back to player one, then they reveal the next age card and start a new round.

There are up to 12 ages to play through (not including the birth of life), but be warned within those ages are 3 catastrophes, with much more… well catastrophic effects which will last the rest of the game. They all also have an end of the world effect that will no doubt alter your point scoring, and not for the better! When a catastrophe is revealed the player who goes first moves one player to the left, and play then continues as before, unless that’s the third catastrophe to be turned over. Once you’ve turned over your third catastrophe its game over immediately, no more rounds are played even if there are age cards left unturned.

Doomlings is very much a hand management game, you’ll be wanting to play traits with higher points in anticipation for the end of the world, but sometimes lower values have better effects to use that could in the long run garner you more points. You may even find yourself needing to play a card with minus points to benefit from its immediate effect, or even an end of the world effect. Theres also some set collection involved too, with various cards displaying no points, and being much more valuable the more you have of them. Certain colours can also end up more valuable and worth playing based on other cards effects.

There are a handful of more powerful ‘dominant’ traits in Doomlings which often offer more points and/or better effects but you may only have two in your trait pile so choose wisely which to play. Dominants cannot be stolen, discarded or removed from your trait pile for any reason so the first two you choose, are the ones your stuck with.

People Talk About The Apocalypse Like It’s The End Of The World…

I’m not gonna lie, it took us a game or so to get used to the swing of things and a little bit of referring to the rules but actually when all said and done its quite a straightforward game. I think we were all over thinking it and that’s something you can’t do with Doomlings. The best laid plans can be scuppered not only by your opponents but by whatever the next age card is hiding.

Theres a myriad of actions and effects on the trait cards. Forcing opponents to discard multiple cards, stealing a card from someone’s trait pile and also playing the action or playing a card from the discard pile. Then theres the cards that take effect after the final catastrophe, extra points for the colour you have least of or causing your opponents to lose points on cards of a colour you choose!

Whilst there is some strategy involved in Doomlings, the landscape of this game is ever changing. Even though you can see what cards everyone has as their on show in their trait pile you can’t plan for the unturned age cards. Also the cards in your hand aren’t guaranteed, you could be forced to discard or swap by another player. There’s even some cards that can be played out of turn to negate an action on someone else turn (we affectionately always call these types of card a nope after playing exploding kittens)

Having the most face value points at game end, doesn’t guarantee a win, nor does having the most end of world effects or bonuses, because you can’t really prepare for the end of the world!

It’s The End Of The World As We Know It!

As far as games about an impending apocalypse go, Doomlings is a pretty happy little specimen. The adorable spherical characters just can’t help smiling through to the end of their days! It’s almost hard to believe the theme considering the bright colours, cheeky cartoons and shiny box! Said shiny box also has ample space to accommodate any expansions you may want to add in the future.

I’m not a massive fan of how this plays at two player, the game seems to get a bit stayed, and the rounds are over too quickly, strategy plays work better as the outcomes are more predictable. Doomlings plays much better at three and above, you will still need strategy but theres more chance the results could change as theres simply more cards in play.

A well put together game, because of the number of cards included we’ve never played the same circulation of cards twice. This is especially helped with the way your set up the ages. Out of 25 age cards you only use a random selection of 9 per game and similarly for the catastrophes, you choose 3 out of a possible 15. Now I’m no statistician but I’m pretty certain you’ll never get the same combo of ages twice. The instructions are clear with lots of images to clarify cards and rules, as well as directions to their website so you can also watch a tutorial on how to play.

There’s also a handy little ‘gene pool’ card which help you keep track of your hand limit for when you stabilize at the end of your turn. Doomlings also includes some reference cards which give you a useful reminder about turn taking and effects etc. I do love a reference card!

The scoring can get a little confusing and has on occasion caused arguments in our household but there is a scoring tool you can use on the Doomlings website to help. There can also occasionally be some ambiguity about rules, scoring etc. though not often. On consulting the rules the game clearly expected this as it suggests – in a tongue in cheek fashion you would expect – to have a light shouting match, or to draw a card and give the decision to the highest number. Neither of these options often go down well with moody pre-teens but then again as I mentioned earlier nor does any decision that doesn’t benefit them, so be warned!!

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Never same game twice
  • Unpredictable gameplay
  • Simple round structure
  • Some strategy involved
  • Reference cards for game play

Might not like

  • Scoring can become complicated
  • Can be ambiguity of rules
  • Not great at 2 players
  • Some luck of the draw
  • Cute little creatures meeting their maker!