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  • Writer's pictureMichael Stern

Tabletop Review: Doomlings Card Game

Developers: Justus and Andrew Meyer, Chris Svehla, and Eric McCoy

Publisher: Doomlings LLC

Available versions: Physical Card Game available online, and at Walmart or Target stores

Doomlings was the brainchild of two brothers named Andrew and Justus Meyer, and further developed and evolved by Chris Svehla and Eric McCoy. The two brothers started creation of the game back in 2019, and in 2020 a Kickstarter was put into place, and fully funded within an hour of going live! I do not want to restate their whole backstory, but ever since that Kickstarter dropped and was funded, there have been non-stop creations of expansions as well as extras, such as plushies, game mats, various toys, card sleeves, even going as far as a clothing line! It is an incredible backstory, and if you have a couple of minutes to read it, feel free to head to their website and check it out here: Doomlings | Everything You Ever Wanted To Know.

Let’s get the basics out of the way and start delving into the game itself:

The Setting:

Doomlings is a card game based around prepping your character for the end of the world. Using the cutely drawn cards, each player plays these cards with various point values, which translates to their character’s survivability. The survivability will be tested and changed during the game by something called catastrophes, which will happen two times before the final destruction. The game ends with the world ending, and whichever player is the most prepared for the end (by having the highest accumulated points) … wins!

Sounds simple? Oh, don’t you worry, it gets much more complicated, this is just the beginning of the end!

This game is both PVP (player vs player) and PVE (player vs environment) because not only are you trying to survive against these catastrophes, but you are also trying to survive the onslaught of other players stealing, trading, and their overall goal of destroying you so that they can survive and be the winner.

Still want to play? Of course, you do.

Where to start?

As with most games, you are probably wondering "What do I need to be able to play?” Right? That is a big problem for most gamers because they never know how much they should spend to jump into a game, and sometimes they just want to get their feet wet to see if they will enjoy the game or not, before spending a month’s rent on buying the complete sets with expansions and tons of extras.

Good news is here! The base game is reasonable, coming in at $24.99 USD. There is a deluxe bundle, which includes a play mat for the cards to help keep everything nicely set up during gameplay, at $69.99 USD. This deluxe box does have plenty of expansions and the box it all comes with is super cool and pretty! The final bundle is called the Ultimate Bundle, coming in at almost $200 USD. This comes with everything that the Deluxe box has, but adds in more play mats, some enamel pins, card sleeves, and a wooden box to put everything back into when you are not playing the game.

So, which one is right for you? That depends on how much you want to try out, and if you want to just jump right into purchasing the whole bundle, or just pick up a copy at a local retail store. Retail stores only have base games or deluxe boxes. This means that if you just want to grab the game and start playing, the deluxe box is probably your best option and value for your money. The base game is nice, but you will play it and wish you had those extra expansion packs and the nifty play mat to help protect your cards and keep the game looking cool when you play with friends and family. The base game is all you need, but the deluxe being so much more included is usually the better bang for your buck.

“But what about the Ultimate Bundle?” Glad you asked! Don’t get me wrong, it is a great deal, and you can absolutely purchase the Ultimate Bundle from the Doomlings’ website (I know I did), but it is not a necessity to have all that stuff to enjoy the game. You can always go back and expand your set by purchasing more of the extras later, like the expansions, wooden box, and extra play mats, without having to spend all the money upfront. It is nice, but it is, again, not a necessity to have it all to fully enjoy the game. The deluxe box will do the trick if money is a worry and if you are still not sure if you will enjoy the game after you finish reading this article.

Setting Up the Game

To set up the game, there are a few steps:

  1. Separate the different card piles. These will be the cards marked traits, ages, and the single card called The Birth of Life.

  2. Place The Birth of Life card face up on the table next to the pile of cards marked ages.

  3. Deal out 5 trait cards to each player.

That’s it. You are ready to play! Remember, the way to win is to have the most Trait points at the end of the world! For a full explanation and tutorial on how to play, even a step-by-step guide, visit the maker’s own website: Doomlings | How to Play The World's Best Game, or check out their YouTube channel.

Strategies and Gameplay:

There are plenty of strategies to playing this game because there are so many cards that can help and hinder your evolution to being the dominating and apex being to survive the end of the world. Some cards let you switch, trade, draw, and discard, cards from your or your opponents’ gene pool (hand), and from played traits (played cards in front of each player).

Another part of the game is also the center cards. These center cards are a pile called ages. When one is flipped two types of cards will happen, one of which is a catastrophe card. Once 3 catastrophe cards have been played, the game is over, and the world ends. At the bottom of all the catastrophe cards is the text World’s End and the final parts of the end game. This effect does not happen until the third catastrophe card is drawn.

The World’s End can be positive or negative towards your and your opponents’ cards, such as giving more points to the lowest player or making everyone discard certain cards from their traits on the table. Either way, the game is over, and you add up what points you have, the player with the most points is now the last surviving being on the planet, and as such, the winner!

Just like other card games, there is a bit of luck involved, and getting the right cards helps, but never stop strategizing and thinking about your next move, plus counter moves, and so forth. This game keeps getting better and better, I know!

Final Thoughts:

While there are plenty of strategies, cute illustrations, and hilarious cards involved with Doomlings, it is absolutely a great game for parties and family game nights. There is nothing rude or crude about the game, and nothing that parents would have to worry about their kids seeing or reading that would make this game unfit for younger children. Doomlings is simple enough for young children to understand while having plenty of cutthroat strategies that adults can use to have a higher level of enjoyment!

The end of the world is nigh, will you survive?


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