Saturday, April 16, 2016

Four Against Darkness (4AD) by Ganesha Games

Ganesha Games is well known for Song of Blades and Heroes and other rules for tabletop miniature games.  But now they have released a new type of game, a rules-lite solo dungeon-crawling adventure.  All you need is a pencil, two six-sided dice, grid paper, and the rules.  It is called Four Against Darkness (or 4AD for short).

The player will choose four adventurers from the typical stable of fantasy tropes (Warrior, Cleric, Rogue, Wizard, Barbarian, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling).  Then you can equip them how you want and off to the dungeon you go.

The game is run by a multitude of tables.  You start out with the dungeon entrance (1 of 6), and then you will roll off to see what the next room or corridor will be.  In each room or corridor you will roll to see what inhabits it (vermins, minions, bosses, weird monsters, treasure, traps, special events, etc.) and from there will be even more options or possibilities for each encounter; attack, bribe, quest, flee, etc.  Combat is real simple; roll d6 add/subtract modifier and compare to level of monster/encounter.  Subtract life points until you or enemy dies.

The goal of each dungeon run is to reach a final boss, slay him, and escape the dungeon (yes, back through all those rooms checking for wandering monsters as you go).  Don't get too attached to your adventurers, their survival is not guaranteed.

The rules are simple enough, and once you get the hang of the tables a game session goes by fairly quickly.  Included in the zip folder I downloaded were a couple pocketmods with all the tables, which helped quite a bit.  However, most of the encounter tables have only six options, so you may run into the same minions or bosses or treasures.  But there is nothing stopping you from creating your own tables once you have played a couple games and understand the game mechanics.  I hear there are supplements in the works which may expand the game even further, which I look forward to.

You may find Four Against Darkness at

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