Unleashing Hell(boy)

With good timing (not perfect, as that would have had it on retailer's shelves this weekend (it is scheduled to start shipping April 19th) Mantic's new Hellboy board game is shipping to kickstarter backers.  The kickstarter version is huge (and Mantic has a few available on their web site), though you can get the retail version for half the cost.

The sides are designed so no matter how it is shelved, it looks cool.  On it's side

 or laying flat

But that doesn't really show the size (weighing in at almost 12 lbs!)

So here is a comparison shot to the Holiday Hellboy box

But I don't have that box you say.  Well how about a pack of cards?  The Vanguard Equipment cards are simple standard poker sized cards - the deck is just a little bit bigger than a standard deck of cards as there are 66 (instead of 54 (with jokers)).

And no, the lid doesn't quite close on this monstrosity.  But once you punch out all the counters and tiles it does, no problem.

One other item that I really like.  Of course, like all games, this has a logo on the back showing how long it takes to play.  Like several of there other games (they did this with Mars Attacks! as well), they have modified it just a tiny bit.

I like that it shows their sense of humor.  I also like to think that somewhere in the Mignolaverse Hellboy is sitting down to play Hellboy.  (Yes, I know Hellboy is dead (that isn't spoilers - the fourth omnibus is "Hellboy in Hell" after all) though I figure the only board games in Hell are probably all Monopoly (or Quest for the DragonLords, which is, to date, the WORST game I have ever owned.  We joke that I won the first game we tried because I was eliminated before I ever got to take my first turn, so I got to go watch a movie while everyone else had to endure this horrible ton of crap.  We did try it one more time when I actually had to take a few turns, and this only reinforced how much of a stinker it was.  Even worse was my main board gaming buddy was also talked into buying a copy (both of our boys said we just had to get it just as the dealer hall was closing at Origins on Sunday, so we each bought a copy not knowing the other had as well))).

No hidden messages inside the box ( nor mantic points for the kickstarter ), nor do the sides of the bottom box have anything but the black background.

On top is a shrink set of agent cards, then the tutorial with big "READ THIS FIRST" in red letters on it.

The agent cards are for ALL the agents in the box - retail, expansion and kickstarter exclusive.

The tutorial walks you through the first few turns of a two-agent (two player or one player with 2 agents) (it works as a one player game since it is fully cooperative).

One of the keys are the mission case files - these are all hermetically sealed for your protection.  DO NOT OPEN or READ them until you are ready to play - enjoying the unexpected surprises is just part of the fun.  The tutorial takes you through the first few turns of the introductory mission, but even it is not enough to spoil it.

The full rules are set up to look just like a comic book - nice touch.  They seem pretty workable, and so far the expansions that come in the kickstarter box do not require any additional rules that cannot fit on poker size cards, so that is nice to not have a lot of these booklets floating around your tabletop.  The back cover is also a quick reference guide.

Also included is a copy of the cover art, both with colors and without.  Magnola's art reminds me of Steve Ditko, though as much as I am a fan of the medium, I am not a comic nor art expert at all.

The first tray fills the top of the box.  All of the trays have a clear cover to keep everything from spilling out.   This holds the various cards, action cubes, monster wound counters and miniature markers (you can put these on the bottom of your agent miniature (and it matches your action cubes) to more easily keep track of who is who in the game.  As you can see, there are 8 case file packs, and 3 more packs to create your own case files (from the BPRD expansion).  Again, do NOT open until you are ready to play them.

Under that tray are the tile sheets, and a foam spacer (no, they didn't quite fill the box :-).  These are shrink wrapped together, and contain the tiles for both the base game and the Conqueror Worm expansion.  This is the first in a stack of four trays (so these four are collectively as deep as the one next to them).

Beneath those you find two trays/.  The first is a mix of agents and enemies.  This tray is unique to the kickstarter, as it holds kickstarter exclusive and expansion mins in it.  Next to it is a very deep tray holding the large (and you'll see what I mean later) boss minis for the game and expansions.


This tray holds the game components - dice, upgraded markers, and frog minions.  Looking at the retail description you only get three of each in that version (instead of 5 here), so my guess is that the retail version will have one tray that holds dice, agents and frogs and enemies.

Beneath that is the tray for the minis for the Conqueror Worm expansion.  Except for the Evil Turkey (in the bottom right corner) which is a kickstarter exclusive.   It also includes Lobster Johnson and Roger, two new playable agents.

Beneath that is the tray for the BPRD Archives expansion - a bunch of 'generic' monsters that can be randomly mixed into your games.

Ok, so now that the box is empty, what do we actually have?

First are the tile / counter sheets.  The base game has six sheets double sided sheets to punch out.

The first is the HQ/Confrontation board.  The HQ side is used while exploring, then when the boss finally comes out it is flipped and the confrontation side is used to finish the game.

Each of the next five sheets have a 4 area tile and a 2 area tile, as well as various counters on them.  One side has stonework with some illustrations on the tiles, while the others are simple wooden floors with rugs on them.

The Conqueror Work expansion adds two more sheets - one is the crashed capsule for the Visitor, while the other has more tiles and some special scenery tokens.  The backs of these are simple stone floors with cables littered about on them.

The games three sizes of cards - the larger Case file cards, poker sized cards for enemies, boss movement and the Deck of Doom, and half size cards for encounters and equipment.  It also has four types of special dice.

The yellow dice are the worst, they have three blank sides and three sides with a single pip on them.

The orange dice are 'standard' being a bit better.  Two blank, two 1 and two 2 faces on them.

The red dice are for experts - one blank, two 1's, two 2's and a 3

While the black dice are super - NO blanks, one 1, two 2's, two 3's and a 4.

There is also a blue die that is rolled with each test to modify it.

- there are six possible results
  • double the highest die
  • re-roll any of the other dice
  • 1 hit
  • 2 hits
  • wildcard (can be any of the other results, or triggers some special abilities
  • disaster - discard the highest die.

The kickstarter version has two full sets of dice.

In addition, the kickstarter version upgrades several game components.  I'm a little disappointed that the normal version of the components were not also included (i.e. another card sheet) if you don't want to use the upgraded ones.

These include 3D inferno and insight markers

3D Impending Doom and Information Gathered markers

and 3D clue counters

These are actually pretty cool - at least the top 7 are.  The three on the bottom however, they are simply too small - hard to pick up, hard to see, easy to lose.   Time to dig into my Terrain Crate cache and see what I can replace them with - or at least put those three on bases so they don't disappear if someone sneezes near the table.

Also, be aware the Impending Doom and Information Gathered markers in are in the bag with the clue counters (I kept looking for them in the trays).  Unfortunately you can't put these on bigger bases as they just fit the spaces on the board.  Once you have them figured out they will work well (and the Impending Doom - Hellboy's fist holding/ being held by tentacles will look great painted up).

The token sheets include several tokens (duh!) that were NOT upgraded in the kickstarter.

Wound counters - these are two sided - the black side is a minor wound, but when those are filled then you start flipping them over to injuries, which affect the agent downgrading a die or losing a cube.

Damage counters are used to mark areas that, well are damaged.  These are two sided to match the tile they are placed on.

There are three numbered point of interest markers, a starting room marker, and a token for the base four backup agents.

In the kickstarter, as an exclusive, they made mini's and stat cards for all the backup agents so they can be, instead, fully playable (if not as powerful) characters.  Then they added a couple of more, with cards, mini's and stat sheets.  However "Pancake Hellboy" and "Trevor Bruttenholm" do NOT have tokens to use them as you would normal backup agents.  Though you can always use the minis for all of these.  (Also, why is Kate Corrigan 3 points while the other three base ones are 2?  Scott Clark seems to be equivalent, and Bud Waller is better (he tests on red instead of orange).  Sidney Leach seems to be the weakest - I would think Bud Should be 3, Kate and Scott 2 and maybe Sidney 1 (or 2, but not necessarily worth it).

There are colored rings to mark you agent, and corresponding action cubes.  There are black marker cubes, and red minion wound counters.

There are 6 pairs of trigger markers (one marks the trigger event, the other marks the actual card).  There are also four colored priority markers - which match the action cubes.  These are used for the priority tracker.

However, as another bonus for the kickstarter, the base set comes with four busts of the agents to use on the priority tracker instead.  These are pretty awesome, and are simply cool just by themselves even if you don't want to use them in the game.

However, don't ditch your priority markers - as the backup agents DO NOT have busts, so you will need them if you decide to play with them as full agents.  Also, the Visitor does not have a bust, even though he is a full agent from the BPRD Archives expansion.

There are also door and scenery counters.  The door counters can be flipped to match the tiles (wood or colored stone).  The scenery counters can also be flipped to show other scenery pieces.

Some (not all) of these reveal yellow bordered scenery - these have special rules in the book.

The kickstarter did NOT upgrade any of these, however you could add in Terrain Crate sets to do that.  Now did all the first (ok and the second though it is not out yet) Terrain Crate kickstarter so I have a ton of terrain, including doors

(have I said how much I like these great, hard plastic doors.  There is something just satisfying the way the clink when jostled together - much more than the other, softer, PVC pieces).

It wasn't hard going through them to find some pieces to add to fit (ok, round table instead of the small one).  The thing is the actual 'ordinary' piece doesn't matter, just the size).

Then some for the 'special pieces' - two bookcases, two cabinets, and astrolabe, table and stack of books (instead of a single book).

The Conqueror Worm also had some scenery.  For the ordinary pieces I'll just use another table an chair (though the tank from Star Saga would also work here, but again it is just ordinary, not special scenery.

The back are special, a generator and coms array.  I was thinking about the generator from Deadzone, but it is just huge to fit in here, so instead will use this tank half (that actually looks fairly close to the generator) and a terminal from Star Saga.

Now on to the fun stuff - the minis

First we have the BPRD Agents

Of course first is Hellboy himself

Then Abe Sapien

Liz Sherman                               

and Johann Krause (I did not order the clear resin Johann though (because sometimes I'm able to exercise that subtle thing called self-control.  Sometimes))

Then we have the enemies.

Before anything else are the frog swarms.  These aren't truly monsters as they don't do anything - however if enough are on the board then the Impending Doom marker moves up a space each turn, you have to keep them under control.

Then the actual monsters - the frog monsters

The Transforming Frog Monster

The Venemous Frog Monster

The Rampaging Frog Monster

and finally the Armed Frog Monster

Of course frog monsters would not be a big deal without a boss - the Giant Frog Monster

 Now he doesn't look that impressive, until you put a normal figure next to him to see just how big it is

Then there is the guy who started it all - the mad monk Rasputin.  You also use this figure as Rasputin's Ghost.

The final boss is SO big, it doesn't even fit in this dimension.  The Tentacles of Sadu-Hem are just that - some of that great baddies tentacles (not all of them).

is there a front or back to a bunch of tentacles?
Again, next to Hellboy to give you some perspective

Once you have exhausted everything in the retail box and beaten the six case files, you are ready to move on to the Conqueror Worm Expansion.

This adds Lobster Johnston and Roger as two new agents

Lobster Johnson

I'm really glad Mierce didn't make this figures, as no, he is not wearing pants (and their figures are a bit too anatomically correct for my tastes)
Included with the kickstarter are Priority busts, just like the four original agents.

Then there are the bad guys.  This time Nazis - because Nazis always work as bad guys.

First the Nazi Knife Fighter

 The Nazi Specialist

The Nazi Rifleman

Nazi Machine Gunner

and finally a Nazi Officer

Then, the guy himself - the Conqueror Worm

Even in plastic this is a heft chunk of a miniature

The next expansion is the BPRD Archives.  The main feature here is the new cards to create custom mission decks, using both existing models and new ones in the set.  There is only one new hero in this set - the Visitor.  He, unfortunately, does not come with a priority marker bust.

There are a bunch of new bad guys.

First is Iron Shoes - more of an annoyance than a real villain

These add a bunch of 'more normal' or at least more common monsters

Bat Swarm




The last monster is a bit different.  It starts as Sinister bird - which are bad enough

but if they are enough on the board, they become Harpies

The women get their chance in this expansion, with two new bosses

Baba Yaga

Hecate  (interesting that Ilsa is not in the same expansion)

Then there are the kickstarter exclusives.  These are broken down into two groups - I'm only guessing that they will eventually become available via Mantic Points, but the first groups will be bundled into one set, while the others may be completely independent.

The two minions are both unique


 Kriegaff (another huge model)

 And the boss - Herman von Klempt

Then come the other kickstarter exclusives

The first is Horned Hellboy - a variation for the agent (you can only have one varient of an agent in a game however).  He is nearly identical to normal Hellboy but has a different 1 cube unique action.

Then there are two new backup agents, "Pancakes" Hellboy and Trevor Bruttenholm.  These (as I mentioned before) do not have backup agent tokens however, so you must use their minis.  In addition, minis for all the backup agents (and agent cards) also are included.  These are not as strong agents as the 7 normal ones, so are good if you need a challenge.

"Pancakes" Hellboy - just for fun but a fully playable character

and his father, Trever Bruttenholm

Then the original four backup agents

Bud Waller

Kate Corrigan

Scott Clark

and Sidney Leach

There are only three minions as kickstarter extras, all of them somewhat unique characters (and a little bit of fun)

The monkey with a gun

and the evil turkey - both of which were one shot jokes that got miniatures!

Karl Ruprecht Kroenen is a bit nastier, if only because he almost never shows up alone - Ilsa Haupstein or Herman Von Klempt will almost always show up with him.

There are five new bosses - the first I just mentioned is Ilsa Haupstein

Iron Maiden Hecate is another one

Then of course, Rasputin is back as Ragna Rok Rasputin


And the final large miniature - St Leaonar's Worm

and that my friends, is the kickstarter Agent pledge.  In July wave 2 is scheduled to ship, which is the Box Full of Evil (containing the Hellboy in Mexico and Darkness Calls expansions plus some extras) or the two additional expansions.  My count is 118 miniatures so far!

Plus one more - but I'm saving him for next time (since as I'm writing this I'm almost finished painting him).

Because it is all fun and games. . .