New Retro Vault: Malleus Goblinficarium
The hideous greenskin stepped towards me.. teeth bared. I knew this would be a fight to the death. So I took out my dice and started rolling… Malleus Goblinficarium is an obscure little RPG-style combat game that makes heavy use of dice mechanics. It’s (to me) the perfect balance of complexity and pick up ‘n play design that makes it fun but challenging.
MG is purely about the combat – with no other narrative or exploration elements, it’s just you, the monsters and the dice. Combat in MG revolves around dice, since, for some reason, all beings in the world have decided the best way to resolve their differences is in a bizarro gentlemen’s boxing style dice game. At the begining of each round, a bunch of coloured die are presented underneath the combatants. Each round, you and your opponent take turns in allocating one of these dice to the stats of your choice, in hopes that it will out do your opponent.
It’s a great, original little game, that dares to make combat more interesting than the usual “walk in the enemy” or “select ‘fight’ from a menu” that we’re all so used to. Naturally, the tradeoff is that MG is a bit less accessible. The mixture of mouse and keyboard controls doesn’t help matters. So, while MG does an earnest job of explaining its elements and making everyting visually clear, there’s still a small learning curve to be had.
We’ve tried to put together a little primer on how to play, so if you’re having trouble getting the basics down, read on…
How to Play
When you attack, the outcome is based on your stats. As can be seen below, the stats are accuracy (green die), speed (blue die), damage (red die), and defence (white die):
You need your damage to be higher than the enemy’s defense in order for your attack to go through. So, the first thing you usually want to aim for is ensuring your red attack dice total outweighs his white defense dice. And naturally, conversely, you hope to have your white defense die higher than the opponent’s red attack die total.
Your attack – which is focused on a different body part – is selected with the Up and Down arrows, and each has a corresponding debuff effect. For example, attacking their ‘guts’ will cause all of the enemy’s dice (stats) to be reduced by one. Very handy for helping your attack and defense!
Which attacks you can choose from is where the green accuracy stat comes into pay. At first, you can only choose from a couple of attacks, but boost your accuracy stat by allocating more green dice to it, and you’ll open up more options, providing you with more strategic choices.
That’s the fundamentals. There’s more to it – you want a high speed to attack first, and then you can also allocate limited energy points to manually boost stats to help give you the edge you need. And, of course, there’s phat loot to be found, which can make matters further interesting. But this should at least get you started.
If all this still doesn’t make sense, the tutorial does a pretty good job of explaining the game, so just playing the game a few times will probably clear things up. From there – it really is about practice. As you’ll probably die the first few times, but with each death you’ll figure out more of how things work and what works and what doesn’t. Eventually, you’ll get wily enough to work your way up to the final boss, who provides a decent challenge indeed.
Malleus Goblinficarium | Download