I finally found time to play Four Against Darkness

I finally found time to play Four Against Darkness

Armed with all of the various elements that I printed out, I set out to explore a dungeon.

Getting the characters all created took some time. This will go faster with the next set, though I am going to reuse these players for a bit. The player cards worked pretty well. Some areas like health are a bit small for the constant erasing, but it was functional.

The Encounter journal worked very well. Having the D66 room layouts at the back was very useful. I was able to quickly get to them as needed.

The book binding is holding up really well. I think that a binding that would allow it to lay flat would be a benefit. I can see why so many of the bindings are of the double ring spiral binding variety. I think that I may need to invest in the hole punch and binder that would allow me to create this type of binding.

Printing the room/corridor exploration flow chart on the back of the rules book was very helpful. The book does have most of the tables in the back including this flow chart, but having it immediately available was much easier than flipping pages to find it each time. I think these tables should just be cards that can be used. I mean really the GMs screen even for solo play seems like a very useful idea.

I found that certain rules weren’t easily accessible though.

  1. When you are attacked by a wandering monster when you are retracing your steps (roll of 1)
  2. Wandering monster chart – Page 57
  3. Searching Rooms – Page 56

The first is something to just remember I suppose, but it would be nice to put somewhere.

The map size was the recommended play size of 20 x 28 squares. That took a fair amount of time to fill and it worked well. I ended up taking far more notes than I was expecting. I enjoyed tracking and summarizing the battles in detail. So I printed up some more paper for notes that go with the map. I think that I will print a full journal for notes for the next play through. I want to play these characters over a longer campaign, and I think that will be useful.

I will then have a encounter journal for tracking the battles for leveling purposes, and an overall adventure journal for detailed tracking. This will be useful for playing the expansion modules that are available.

The journal pockets would be better if they were folded such that they could expand a little more than they currently can. They work for the 4 player cards, but as the map is folded, it may be hard to fit the map with multiple notes sheets. Though if I have a separate play journal that won’t be an issue. But I will still want to have a few map sheets in the pocket.

The Happy Planner ring approach to a journal might be interesting. That way paper can be easily added, removed and expanded upon. This design would be the most flexible, and allow for a single journal that adapts to an adventure, rather than having to force the adventure into a predefined journal. Worth pondering.

As far as next game steps, I am looking through the many expansions trying to find a generic overland hex crawl type of expansion, and it appears there are elements of that available here and there (forest, mountains, netherworld, etc), but not a comprehensive module for traveling on land.

I have found some unofficial expansion documents on boardgamegeek that may help. I will have to review them to see if they are what I have in mind.

I found my neck and back aching after playing for a period of time. My wife has a writing desk that sits on top of a table that is angled, and will assist with having a more upright posture. The only downsize, is it’s size, and there is no way to roll dice on it due to the angle. Using it will be an experiment.

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