A review by Moze.
DEADLY MISSIONS: THE PORTAL is the unique table-top dungeon exploration adventure game that offers ALL of the fun of a role-playing game, but the simplicity of a board game. It features randomized tiles, creatures and treasures that guarantees it is never the same game twice.
This is the lofty claim put forth by Grey Matter Games in the introduction to the second full edition of their core rulebook, The Portal, and recently carpegm.com put that claim to the test. Deadly Missions is a downloadable game that calls on you to print and craft it yourself. The instructions are comprehensive so that, even if you don’t typically do papercraft, you can easily get the game together yourself. As of this writing there are 26 different publications available from Grey Matter in this line and, should you decide to play, The Portal is your jumping on point.
There are 16 papercraft figures (12 heroes, 4 villains), perhaps double that in monsters, enough rooms to cover the average gaming table, standing objects like doors and the Portal and enough tokens to choke a dragon. I'd recommend extra thick cardstock and spray adhesive to really make the game pieces feel solid. Once assembled you’re ready to roll with the dice you would typically use for an RPG. The mechanics, I would say, are strong. Your ability scores appear basic (attack, defense, magic, etc) until you realize that they are color-coded. The chart for these abilities should be kept handy by all players for reference as they translate into dozens of special abilities. Although it’s possible to memorize them all it is, at least early on, much quicker to just check the chart. These abilities give Deady Missions its depth and really make you feel like what you do matters.
For RPG enthusiasts, certainly, the adventure of Deadly Missions can feel bite-sized when compared to a full-blown RPG campaign setting. There is only the dungeon; no town, no wilderness. This, however, gets to the heart of what classic gaming was; you, the dungeon and mountains of treasure. I would compare it favorably to WOTC's D&D 4th-Edition board game "Wrath of Ashardalon", Betrayal at House on the Hill (also WOTC) and other games in which you construct the game board randomly as you go. It’s definitely a board game but, with RPG-like elements, it’s a great thing to play when your regular gaming session is cancelled or, for those of us with less personal time, a quick pick-up game for when the gaming mood strikes.To check out Deadly Missions and all the Grey Matter Games products on sale go to RPGNow. As of this writing The Portal is on sale for $2.95 (down from $14.95) so, again, start with that and go from there. To see our playthrough of The Portal click here!
Images from our playthrough of The Portal. Click to make an image bigger.
|Early on||Getting there||Towards the end; giant monster.|
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Deadly Missions is © 2015 Grey Matter Games.