Thursday, October 29, 2009

1.20: Halloween week daily update 2 - Death Angel ...and Scary stories!

How on Earth I forgot about this on, I have no idea.  Today's game is easily among my top five horror-themed games, and has a great cinematic feel.  I've played this game dozens of times, and could tell you just as many stories--like the time we were trapped on the bus with the murderer and she marched through the seats, killing everyone...or the time I, nearly dead, hopped on the altar of the Church, crushing the killer with my rusty Civil War sabre...  Best of all, this one is a Print and Play game--for those of you familiar with this term (good for you if it's because you've been following this blog--have a cookie), you're aware this means the game is either cheap or FREE.

Death Angel was designed by Anthony Gil, and released on his website for free in 1998.  It plays 2-6 players (the more players the better), and takes 60-90 minutes to play.  The idea behind Death Angel is that you're on a bus that has a blow out in a farming town.  As the bus driver checks the tire, he is killed by Angel, a girl with blades bolted through her fingers.  This is where the game begins, and your goal is simple--survive.

Primarily the game has a simple roll-and-move mechanism; on your turn you decide if you're going to Walk (roll 1d6--that is, one six sided die, no penalties), Jog (roll 2d6 and move your choice, but don't move if you roll doubles), or Run (roll 2d6 and move the total, but if the dice are the same or equal 7, the player trips, losing this and the next turn).  The game ends in one of two ways--the turn timer progresses to 5am, when the sun rises and Angel leaves, or if you manage to get the keys to the bus and drive it out of town--bet you can guess who has the keys.  The ultimate goal of the game is to score points, which you get increasing amounts for each turn you survive, doing damage to Angel, and doing cool stuff, like jumping through windows.  You can die, and probably will--the main penalties to this are the loss of any equipment you had, and your "turns survived" counter starts over.

Much of the game is against you--you're in a town with a few buildings, a corn field, and a lot of open space.  There are a number of icons on the ground which indicate places that can be searched, hiding places, and many, many places that Angel can simply appear--when this happens, she comes for you.  Combat is resolved using cards--there are several stacks of cards for each different class of weapon, and then another for Angel's attacks.  Since most of your weapons are crap, like flashlights and books, sure you could get lucky and find a sword or a gun--probably not, you're usually disadvantaged.  The cards themselves have some interesting text describing the attack:  Die die die!  Pinging with energy, you ravage Angel's beautiful face with your weapon.  After a few seconds, you stop to survey the damage... you appear to have broken her concentration.  Angel stabs you in the arm for the inconvenience.  Lose 1d6 -2 life points. 

The game does have a bit of set up--beyond the initial double-sided printing (files available by following the link above), there are a number of tokens and cards that need to be cut out, but I feel it is well worth it.  Of course, I say this having played the copy Brian printed and cut out all the pieces for, but still.  My main complaint is the penalty for Jogging and Running--a lot of turns you have to move fast, you know, because there's a psycho is trying to kill you.  Tripping while running is the worst, it's basically a "lose two turns" penalty; if Angel is anywhere near you, this may as well be a "shove your face onto Angel's claws" penalty. 


Alrighty, that's number two, and I'm very glad this game came to mind.  Here's one more suggestion.

When's the last time you heard a scary story--a good scary story.  If you have an iPod...or a computer even, take a glance at, a free podcast (don't worry about the terminology), and part of the Escape Artists, Incorporated organization.  Every week Pseudopod puts out a free audio file of a horror story--some classics, some new stuff, in my opinion nearly all of it good, and the readers usually do a good job as well.  I'll recommend a personal favorite, Scavenger, but you have to listen if you want to know what it's about. 

Be safe, everyone, and enjoy your weekend.  Happy Halloween!


  1. You forgot the time in the church someone (maybe me, can't remember) had the 2x4, pulled the "By The Power of Odin" card, raised the board above their head, and brought it crashing down on Angel to drive her back to the hell from which she came.

  2. Too bad she never stays dead. It's always tense, knowing she has the keys to the bus. You really, really want to take them, but you know that if you do she may get up and stab you.

    It also sucks when someone does get the key and gets the bus started, and everyone starts rushing for it, and you're yelling at the driver, "Man, hurry up, she's coming, I know it!" and he waits that extra turn for the last player, and (cue Emeril) BAM!, there she is. And suddenly the bus driver just ditches the driver's seat and runs for the river.

    This game's pretty messed up.

  3. I have to say, I think this is my absolute favorite. We don't play it nearly enough (in fact we don't play anything).

  4. This one sounds like a lot of fun. I wish you guys were closer so we could play all of these awesome spooky games for Halloween together.

  5. Erin, I agree. You should move out here so we can play games together. Glad to hear Deledrius and Brian have equally good memories of this one. I was wondering earlier what the highest number of player kills Angel had in a single game. The bus incident was bad, as I believe she had 6 kills in just that instance, probably only a span of 2-3 turns.