Four Against Darkness is a dungeon crawler game to play alone or in company. It is not a role-playing game, a book game or a game with narrative crossroads. We are talking more than anything about a pen and paper game that can be an engine, on which you can build different stories that recall the old school RPG.
It is written and created by Andrea Sfiligoi, translated into Italian by Simone Peruzzi and published in our country by MS Edizioni.
Having to recommend it to a friend, it would be good to describe it as a table Darkest Dungeon with far fewer frustrating elements.
Four Against Darkness: Everything you need to play
The first surprising thing about this title is that, in most cases, it is not necessary to find particular material. Excluding the manual itself, only a pencil, two six-sided dice and a squared sheet are required. In fact, if you are good at drawing, you can very well use any sheet of paper.
The manual, which can be found on the Magic Store website at a cost of € 16,90, has that elegance and charm that recall the first editions of Dungeons and Dragons. The Italian edition of the game, which includes the supplement “Diabolical Enemies”, consists of 104 pages. However, there is no need to fear, as many of them are used for the extraction of rooms, corridors, objects, enemies and missions. The regulation is very streamlined and easy to understand and put into practice.
Four Against Darkness: The Heroes
The player can choose from eight characters to build their party. It is good to indicate that although the manual for simplicity chooses a gender to talk about the character, none of them are really tied to a specific genre. By winking at the first editions of the most famous role-playing games, the characters available are: Barbarian; Cleric; Villain; Warrior; Magician; Elf; Dwarf and Mezzuomo. Well yes, we have races which, by themselves, transcend the concept of class. Each of these characters will obviously have pros and cons to balance with the rest of the party.
Each character will have their own skills, statistics and equipment. Trying to build a balanced party is advisable but, in fact, nothing prevents you from having four bearded dwarfs to explore. Our characters will advance individually, regardless of the rest of the group, and will have their rewards to share at the end of a dungeon. Even the death of one of them will not necessarily be the end, since resurrection is expensive but possible.
Four Against Darkness: The Dungeon, the thrill of surprise
Each dungeon element is created by rolling two dice and uncovering the corresponding tile in the creation table. Do you want to create a room? Roll 2d6. Do you want to find out which treasure the monster has? Roll 2d6. It is amazing how only two of the simplest and mainstream dice are enough to generate such a large probability. Mathematics Docet.
Surely the creation of the Dungeon and its enemies is one of the main engines of the game. Each dungeon is ruled by a final boss, who has an increasing chance of appearing as major monsters are destroyed. This does not mean that the party cannot go back at any time. However, one of the best rules of this game is the fact that it is not enough to want to withdraw to exit the dungeon. You have to actually do the road backwards, with the possibility of running into wandering monsters.
Four Against Darkness: Diabolical Enemies
Although Four Against Darkness is designed to lead characters from level 1 to 5, it can become easy over time to take down the monsters that stand in front of the characters. To overcome the problem and give a more difficult challenge, the Diabolical Enemies supplement has been included, which offers different monsters, more powerful and with rewards appropriate to the level of challenge.
Four Against Darkness: Replayability and Follow-up
Although Four Against Darkness is a solo game, it can very well be turned into a four-player cooperative. In fact, it will be enough for each person at the table to play a character (and choose to divide, because that is what will happen. Pigs that divide in a dungeon !!!).
The game, based on the growth of the party, on a wide choice of possibilities and on the desire to try new experiences and combinations, offers excellent replay value. If you get tired or want to take your party to higher levels, there is the following: 4 Against the Abyss. The sequel does not just offer new ideas for dungeons but introduces new rules, a campaign system and much more.
Four Against Darkness: Role-playing game
Although the manual does not push role-playing, since it was born with a very different purpose, nothing prevents a group of players from inventing a story, giving the characters a personality and building a world around the Dungeons. Obviously, playing alone can make role-playing more complex, but experts will be able to find a way.
Four Against Darkness is a great solo game and a good cooperative game. The standard duration of a game is about one hour but, as per regulation, the player can set a time limit and then automatically bring up the final boss.