Doomlings Card Game Review

Doomlings Card Game Box Cover.

Doomlings sits comfortably in the category of casual lighter games. It sits there on the table in a rainbow world of different colours and imagination and only asks you to play your next card in the hope that it might do something fruitful towards your final score.

It gives the impression of an ecosystem and a story of evolution, where every turn brings a new effect into the overall environment, with the possibility that you’ll be taking one step closer to the end of days. Where other games based around the theme of change and evolution have you building towards a future of overall domination, Doomlings is about taking those last steps before the world literally explodes around you and end up sitting there counting up the points to see if you are somehow the winner of Armageddon.

In some ways I’m reminded of Point Salad and maybe even Abandon all Artichokes, and this is because of card effects and point multipliers with the lightest sprinkling of strategy. Doomlings only requires low level reactions and limited mitigations. You’re encouraged in the gentlest of ways to use set collection all based around colours as opposed to skills and you’ll often find that gathering as much as the same coloured card will pay end game dividends.

Card set up from one player of Doomlings

For those who are looking for that game that you can try to coerce the non game players in your circle, there is little to teach and also little to learn. You flip an age card which will have a slight effect on the game play for your turn, unless it is a catastrophe which effects all players and signals the end of that particular era of time. You then play a card from your hand into your tableau in front of you, which will give you immediate benefits or long term gains and have the potential to effect the players around you. You’ll then draw back up to you hand size or gene pool and play passes to the next player.

The catastrophe cards mark the end of the era and one the third catastrophe is drawn, the game moves to a final scoring, where the player with the most points will be declared the winner.

It all works well providing you’re not looking for something more than what Doomlings is, which is a way to spent about forty minutes playing cards and making snap decisions. While this gives the impression that your growing your world from the building blocks of life and evolving, it never really approaches the realms of planning a real strategy. Simply because the next catastrophe that arrives could make things slightly trickier for you, or your opponent draws and plays a card that gives them a sneaky advantage for the next time they play.

Doomlings main set up

There’s a sprinkling of cards that do some unwelcome things to other players, but you’re never fully on in terms of interactivity. It’s easy for some players to end up with gene pools and hand sizes that are bigger than yours, but it never feels like a huge disadvantage when you are really only playing one card each, it only lessens your overall choice.

It is maybe one of the frustrating sides to Doomlings, that it never gets past being a game of drawing cards from a huge deck and then doing the best with what hand you’ve been dealt. With similar games like Point Salad, you feel slightly more in control, whereas with Doomlings you aren’t able to comfortably predict when the last catastrophe will appear and wrap up the game. It would maybe benefit from a slightly smaller controlled deck, because whether you’re playing your first or fifteenth game, you’re no better prepared for what you’re about to play. So for those looking for tactics and strategy and maximisation, then you’ll probably only get Doomlings to the table occasionally, probably after a much heavier game.

However, you take this round to friends and family, and play it with younger players, then you’ll see them wonder at the art, and probably laugh at the delightful names and explanations. When they beat you, and chances are they will, they’ll mock you for not being the great board game Aunt or Uncle you’ll claim to be, and they’ll happily play the game again with you and possibly ask that you leave them the copy behind so they can play it later themselves. Doomlings is one of those games that offer ridiculously colourful card based chaos whether you like it or not, and the chances are, that you probably will.

Created By Andrew and Justus Meyer


This review is based on the retail version of the game provided to us by the designer and publisher. We were not paid monetary compensation for this review. We give a general overview of the gameplay and so not all of the mechanical aspects of the game may be mentioned.

The majority of the games that we are play are going to take a reasonable number of sessions and playthroughs to fully understand every possibility that they offer. We hope this write up gives you an idea of whether or not this game is something that you will consider playing or even add to your collection. 
Even if we don’t like something, hopefully it helps you to decide if it is something that you should find out more about. We always suggest you check out a gameplay video to give you a better understanding of the game as it is played. 

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