There is always one game that takes us completely by surprise at Gen Con, and 2016 was no exception. Had Mike from Bumblebear Games not emailed me a few weeks before the show, I would never have known that Nephilim: Final Judgement had any presence at the convention. As it stands, Bumblebear Games wasn’t able to lock down a booth for Gen Con, which is a shame, because their game is rad.
We spent time with Bumblebear Games both talking about the game as well as playing through one of the game’s missions.
There is a lot to like about Nephilim: Final Judgement. The guys at Bumblebear Games have done their research and really understand what makes a good dungeon crawler tick. It’s pretty obvious that they have experienced and taken inspiration from other board games, but it’s equally obvious that they understand not only why certain aspects of other games are successful and fun, but they’ve also put enough of their own personality into the game that it avoids feeling derivative.
Nephilim’s theme is interesting and unique, and even familiar pop-culture and historical elements, like Rosie the Riveter, feel like a fun part of the game rather than a cheesy meme. Bumblebear’s unique theme also lets them structure the characters exactly as they see fit. Mike stressed that he wanted to avoid tropes like the “chainmail bikini” and went out of his way to make every character, regardless of gender, feel badass and heroic. From the looks of things, they are nailing it on the head, as the character that I played, War, felt and looked like she was prepared to go toe to toe with the baddest of the bad.
Like all good dungeon crawl games, Nephilim: Final Judgement has miniatures in spades, and they are high quality. Bumblebear games gave us samples of many of the minis we used during play, and they are all extremely detailed and well sculpted. Bumblebear had some painted miniatures on hand as well, and they all looked awesome painted.
The loot system and character customization are cool. The fully cooperative gameplay is excellent. The injury system adds an interesting, thematic touch, and the campaign system that changes and actually includes consequences based on player choices sounds excellent. Even though we had more hands on time with Nephilim: Final Judgement than we had with any other game at Gen Con 2016, we constantly kept talking about it throughout the show, and we are all hungry to get more time with the game. Keep an eye out for Nephilim: Final Judgement to hit Kickstarter later this year.