Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Davide Boccardi, Alberto Ricossa

Bonfire Games

No. of Players:

based on a prototype


G@mebox author Lutz Wildt writes about the game:

Have you ever bought a book just because of the cover? Without knowing anything about the content? That often happens to me. Most of the time, I end up liking the books quite a bit. I have to admit that in my selection, floral illustrations and English landscape photographs rarely make it into my shopping bag. But not only in terms of book selection I am rather the visual type, this also works well for boardgames. Whenever I prepare for the SPIEL in Essen, I look at the list of new releases, and take a closer look at games with an interesting cover. Maybe I miss the one or other title that I might like, but with this approach I always find real gems in the board game world. Recently, I found such an interesting title while browsing the various channels that deal with board games. A glimpse of a detailed drawing by Germano Garau was enough to get me in. Immediately I started to look more closely at Dem.Loc, which was the title of the game, and I soon found more and more interesting pictures and learned more and more parts of the game. Strictly speaking, it is not just a board game, but rather a world where players build and develop a mercenary guild for glory that is achieved in battles. As detailed as Germano Garau's drawings the world of Dem.Loc was thought out by game designers Alberto Ricossa and Davide Boccardo.

Fortunately, I soon after got the chance to try a prototype of Dem.Loc. When the package arrived from Italy, I was quite curious to see how the game, which I had already seen on many pictures and drawings, would be like in real life. I can only say that I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and artwork of the cards, game boards, the custom dice and the numerous minis of this prototype.


Click on image to enlarge!

Dem.Loc is a skirmish game for 2 to 4 players. For this purpose, the players, who act as Guild Masters, are provided with different characters and their associated cards, on which the extensive features of the characters are depicted. For example, there are mercenaries who differ in their movement distances, their preferred weapons or their life points. The available mundane weapons and supernatural Arcane Code Cards are applied to these character cards, indicating how the character is equipped. Of course, one mercenary is not enough for a guild. For this reason, more characters should be taken into battle. Once both players have gathered their guild for the battle, they head to the battlefield and the fight begins. Players can move their characters around the field and attack, corner, injure and destroy opponents to win the battle and gain Fame and Feods. With a good combination of melee and ranged strengths within one's battle group, some interesting dice battles can be fought. While playing, I sometimes felt reminded of a game of chess, as you always have to pay close attention when moving your own pieces to make sure they don't run into your opponent's control and thus attack an area without cover. It can get especially sneaky when a player summons an unpredictable and sheerly unmanageable demon.

But the combats are only one part of the game! As I said, Dem.Loc is a complex world in which the different guilds live and move. To keep track of this word movement, there is an app that guides the game in many ways. For example, there is an Arcane Library, a Guild Master Office, a Dormitory and an Armory. In these areas, you can organize or expand your fighters and keep track of your equipment of mundane and supernatural powers. At the same time, players can further explore the city of Dem.Loc, try to take control of more areas, get access to more functions, thus increasing their knowledge and expanding their power. Ultimately, the app prepares each battle for dominance in certain parts of the city by using the current power ratios of players logged into the city together as the basis for the next battle mission. The app then specifies the area where the game will take place and gives the objectives of the mission. It also shows exactly which game boards and items will be used for the combat area and how they will be assembled. The players, as Guild Masters themselves, then accordingly select some of their mercenaries and followers to go into battle.


Click on image to enlarge!

With this prototype, I was able to try out a mission as a two player variant. We were excellently supported by the app in setting up the game plan, with the fighters of the guilds already assigned. Once all the assigned fighters had sufficient cards and pieces attached to them, we had an impressive drawing in front of us that immediately drew us into the game due to the fantastic and detailed artwork already mentioned. The complex rules for movement and the sphere of influence of opponents' weapons, which immediately stops your movement, overwhelmed us a bit at first. With a bit more practice, however, this should be easy to master, especially since the rules have been revised and made clearer after our first try. The same applies to the complex calculation of the outcome of the fights. However, you have to give the game developers credit for not making it easy on themselves and trying to translate the striking power of various first and second weapons and defender protection mechanisms into a balanced dice result. Again, the app can help players keep track of the damage, some of which worsens over several rounds. However, players can also use the good old tokens, which are also included, for this purpose. The only important thing for further play is that a fighter's health is transferred to the app at the end of the mission.


Click on image to enlarge!

We really liked the depth of the game. I can imagine that players will like the development of their guild over time, which may include losing fighters. So, this should result in a very great replayability of the game. Perhaps Dem.Loc will even enthrall players like a good series. With the big difference that you have a very big influence on the further course of the series. Of course, there are several points of opinion about the use of an app in a board game. In this case, however, I am convinced that it is essential for the game experience in terms of the extensive possibilities that this world offers and the development of the guilds. I am very curious to see how the Kickstarter campaign of Dem.Loc by BONFIRE GAMES will be like, in any case I am already captivated by DemLoc, hoping that one day I'll be able to roam the city even more, fighting some more battles and expanding my power as Guild Master.

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