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Freeware Garden: Malleus Goblinficarium

Dice with Death. Or a goblin.

Rarely have I seen a game of such elegant and excellent dice mechanics as those found in Malleus Goblinficarium. Well, not rarely. Never. This deterministic tactical dice-based combat game simply has to be experienced to be fully appreciated, though I do suspect that transferring it to tabletops worldwide would be the wisest course of action.

Malleus Goblinficarium, though superficially a rogue-like, is a game that’s tailor made for people who enjoy board games and mixing tactics with the manageable randomness of dice. Six of them to be precise. Six dice you’ll have to use wisely during each turn, in a game that’s been stripped of anything that isn’t combat and will have you fighting enemy after enemy until you die.

Each fight is divided in turns and every turn starts with the rolling of said dice. The faster combatant picks a coloured die that will be added to her or his appropriately coloured characteristic, then the other player picks a die and so on and so forth until the dice pool runs out.

More dice with Death and goblins.

Green dice boost accuracy, blue ones speed, red attack, white defense and the crucial yellow dice any characteristic you wish. Then attack and defense values are compared — in order of speed– and every time attack exceeds defense, a wound is assigned to a body part chosen according to the attackers accuracy. Simple, isn’t it? Of course it is. You’ll see.

Just do keep in mind though that things get way more interesting as each wound debuffs your opponent in a very different way and that you can always spend stamina points to improve any of your characteristics. Add in a variety of usable items, a dozen drastically different weapons and four enemy types and you have a deep, wonderful and amazingly addictive hack-and-slash game I have the utmost respect for. I even appreciate Malleus Goblinficarium’s lack of music; it’s now my go-to podcast game.

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Konstantinos Dimopoulos

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