Game Review: Doomlings
Monday, April 4, 2022

Doomlings is "A quirky card game for 2-6 players, ages 10+." I bought the game as a Christmas present for my brother's girlfriend at the tail end of their incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign, but I was so taken with the fun concept and adorable art that I bought a second game for my family. Unfortunatly, the boxes didn't arrive in time for Christmas. So here we are three months later, and I can finally tell you about playing this game!
The game takes place over several rounds, and players take turns playing cards during each round. Cards have a variety of effects, like stealing from other players, protecting yourself, increasing your hand limit, or just stockpiling points. The mechanics are fairly straightforward and fast to learn. My favorite part of this game, and the reason I bought it, is the creativity put into the cards. Each card includes an amusing illustration, flavor text, point value, and an explanation of any special effect it produces. For example the card "Vampirism" is worth three points, lets you steal a trait card from an opponent and use the stolen card's action, and comes with the flavor text "I vant to sock your blahhhd." The "Warm Blood" card--"Are you trying to boil my blood?"--is worth negative points, but adds 2 to your gene pool (hand limit). "Legendary" is flavored with the description "Everything you've heard about me is true. Well, maybe just the good stuff," and is worth a whopping 8 points but forces you to discard your entire hande, while the one-point "Selfish" card lets you steal a red trait from an opponent's pile and bears the simple flavor text "Mine!"
There are three stages to the game, called eras, each composed of multipe ages which are drawn from a randomized deck that determines the length of the game as well as extra rules that are in effect during a given round. The current era ends when a catastrophe is drawn, which then spawns the next age or, in the case of the final catastrophe, ends the world. The goal of the game is to produce the most successful species by the time the world ends--determined by the player's score at the end.
There are already several expansion sets to the game. Since I bought the "Gold Box" edition it came with Dual Colors, Techlings, Dinolings, and Mythlings. Each of these are a collection of special cards that are mixed in with the regular game. There's also a "Meaning of Life" expansion that gives each player a secret goal to strive for that will affect the way they play. If they manage to accomplish their secret goal they are awarded bonus points at the end of the game. You can also buy playmats (like the central one seen in my first picture in this post as well as individual player mats), but those are in no way required to play the game.
Final Thoughts:

This is a fast, fun game great for groups that want a good laugh. Bear in mind that it's a competitive game, so you will be trying to screw over the other players as much as trying to boost your own chances of winning. That was a little hard for my daughter since it can come across as "mean." My family has also added a final step to the game which is to describe (and even draw if you're feeling artistic) the species you ended up creating. They can turn out really hilarious! That also gives everyone a chance to feel like they were successful no matter their score. ;)
As a comparison, this game reminded me a bit of the card game Smash Up.