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.

15 Comments

  1. Kefren says:

    Chrome seems to block the game download, does anyone else get this? I’m never sure whether Chrome is being over-zealous, or if it is genuine protection (it’s beyond me).

    • NikB says:

      I’m so sorry, but I really can’t do anything about this thing. It’s default Chrome security settings blocking any zip with an .exe and a couple of .dll libraries. You can either try to turn off phishing and malware warnings (link to support.google.com) or use another browser for this download. Really sorry about that ;(

      • Kefren says:

        Thanks, I worked out that you can go into Downloads and allow a file through (weird that Chrome doesn’t give that option when it first pops up a message).

  2. NikB says:

    Hey, thanks a lot for sharing! ;)

    In case you just missed: new build with music, sounds, character classes, potions, merchants and more roguelikeness has been recently released on GameJolt (link to gamejolt.com).

  3. Benkyo says:

    Fun, but very short! Perhaps I got lucky, but I don’t usually expect to win a 7DRL game in a first playthrough.

  4. blind_boy_grunt says:

    good god do i hate this game. In the best possible way (because it makes me hate myself everytime i think i make a good turn and then realize i misscalculated or forgot something).
    I haven’t played enough but right now it feels to me as if as soon as i have a status affliction i basically lost, it just takes some time until i die.

    • blind_boy_grunt says:

      but the rogue for me is almost unplayable because you loose the dodge scroll when you use it and in the same turn kill the enemy (i get that it is not an optimal play anyway, still i forget it time after time).

  5. Kaeoschassis says:

    I think I spotted this awhile back, went “Oh yep, need to give that a shot” and promptly forgot about it. I frequently do that. It really is a very good thing you’re here, or I’d miss so many great things. Downloading now.

  6. FredZepplin says:

    Looks cool. Also looks a lot like the RetroDays tileset for Catalcysm: Dark Days Ahead.
    link to smf.cataclysmdda.com

    Might want to get an attribution in there somewhere if you haven’t already.

    Here’s a screengrab from my current game:
    link to i.imgur.com

    I’d know that steak icon anywhere! ;)

  7. thecommoncold says:

    Great game – a few tweaks and this would make a great head-to-head table top game – and with no tweaks, it would work as an asymmetric, overlord-vs-player tabletop game.

    This does lend itself to some interesting tactics – for example, if you can deny green dice to low accuracy enemies to limit the enemy’s targeting choices, and if you already have wounds on the only targetable locations, they can’t actually hurt you. I won my first run by taking a repeated beating in the chest and gut… which were already injured, so no harm done! I was able to connect a first turn head shot, which meant I could discard a die each turn (the green one, naturally). I then proceeded to soak upwards of 20 blows to the body before the dice favored me enough to allow a killing shot for the win.

    It was one of those moments where one feels simultaneous very cheap, and yet very clever. Perhaps it could use an AI tweak so that low accuracy enemies will go for green dice when they otherwise can’t make a hit, or allocate yellows to accuracy (I only ever saw their yellows go to attack and defense)? Or, maybe not, so I can continue feeling clever.